24 November 2022 (gig)
25 November 2022
Hugh Cornwell has done more than most. An original member of The Stranglers, one could also say ‘The Original’ but let’s leave that for the for another day. A founding member for sure, my youth is scattered with classic moments of incendiary music which has his signature all over it. Now 73, it was with great zeal that I made my way to Islington Assembly Hall.
‘Coming out of the wilderness’ was the tonight's opener. The first track on Cornwell’s self-produced and recorded 10th solo album ‘Moments of Madness’. A grower of a song, the clinical and direct guitar work in evidence, across the whole album, warms the soul.
Backed up only by bass and drums, the three-piece dress in black, as was always the way. The LP’s reggae inspired title track ‘Moments of Madness’ follows.
Cornwell has no need for effects on his guitar, just two well used VOX amps used in tandem. Much like the late great Wilco Johnson his guitar playing relies heavily on the upstroke, both favouring the same guitar and a shared punk spirit.
Cornwell always has a story to tell. ‘Mr Leather’ from 2018’s ‘Monster’ about aborted meeting with Lou Reed gets the nod from the largely sedate audience. “Quiet night? It's Thursday… Friday tomorrow” harks Cornwell, which is true, but the audience tonight has the luxury of space. ‘Lasagna’ finishes the 14 song solo setlist and the break gives us time to refresh the drinks for ‘The Stranglers’ second half.
Kicking off with the instantly recognisable instrumental ‘WaltzinBlack’, with keyboards on a backing track, the three-piece embark on their stroll down memory lane.
'Strange Little Girl' is a pleasure to behold, Cornwell’s effortless voice perfectly showcased. The Stranglers had a knack for writing perfect pop songs from across the emotional spectrum. Next track ‘Nice 'n' Sleazy’ moves up the dial, and when the opening chords of ‘Hanging Around’ hit the airwaves the audience finally turn up the volume too.
It's an honour to see Cornwell back out on the road on a major tour with what could be his best solo album yet, highlighting the fact that there is still more to come from this living legend of the British music scene.
Coming Out of the Wilderness
Stuck in Daily Mail Land
Moments of Madness
Under Her Spell
Beauty on the Beach
Beware of the Doll
I Want One of Those
The Most Beautiful Girl In Hollywood
Another Kind of Love
When I Was a Young Man
Strange Little Girl
Nice 'n' Sleazy
Bring On the Nubiles
Walk On By
RIP Wilco Johnson