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The Stranglers

Peter Gabriel

The Skids

Spizz Oil

Johnny Rubbish

The Edge

DJ Andy Dunkley

Battersea Park 1978.

16th September 1978 .

 

"Rattus Norvegicus comes to Battersea Park, Ladies and Gentlemen , The Stranglers."

    Always some of the badder boys of the punk/new wave scene, the Stranglers courted controversy , were deliberately politically incorrect and went out of their way to get up folks noses ( which was of course one of punk/new wave's prime intentions, so why anyone was surprised by their antics is , to say the least , rather surprising ......)

    In the autumn of 78 , the boys in the band decided to have their own mini festival in Battersea Park. Amazingly the weather was blazingly fine, they had the multi talented Peter Gabriel on the bill and they decided to invite a load of strippers onstage to finish off their set during " Nice and Sleazy ". Women's rights groups were incensed, ignoring the fact that the Stranglers had both males and females stripping onstage, but it gave them something to get hot under the collar about and that was probably what the Strangers had intended all along.

    However, this was probably the only controversial thing about the whole day, apparently the festival was very well organised, with clean bogs, no big queues or overt violence. The support bands were mostly liked by the crowd, with the exception of comedian Johnny Rubbish , who apparently rather lived up to his name and was bottled . Peter Gabriel ventured into the crowd, who loved his set and sang along lustily to Solsbury Hill.

    The Stranglers set was recorded on video ( regretably not very well, as cameras in the crowd were not mounted on raised stands, thus these shots were obstructed by the enthusiastic pogoing crowd ) .

    Consequently most camera angles were from the side of the stage,as a result there aren't many good frontal shots . Its mostly now long out of print , but snippets have ended up on Youtube , several tracks are available on a DVD called "The Old Testament " and you might see a copy of the orignal VHS release on ebay on occasions.

    As you can see, quality is so so , long shots are pretty blurred , but the DVD quality might have been remastered and improved to some extent.

   The Stranglers had been trying to stage some large London shows in 78. Queens Park in June and at the Alexandra Palace ( a venue apparently controlled by the Greater London Council ) later on in the summer. Neither of these took place because the GLC was dead against it . The main reason seems to be because one of the band wore a Fuck T shirt onstage at a London show . This lead to the GLC apparently trying to impose a London wide ban on Stranglers shows- so much for freedom of expression !

   Somehow, they wangled this show in Battersea. We had some details of how this took place but we have lost them somewhere in the bowels of the computer , if anyone can explain we'd be most grateful !

 

Right : Hugh Cornwell, Stranglers front man , who left the band in 1990 after many years of stoushes with the band's occasionally belligerant bassist , Jean Jacques Burnel

    

    

     Audio of the set was disseminated to the public by means of several official releases by the band (left ) and there's a fairly dodgy boot tape around featuring most of the show as well.

Stranglers Setlist

  • Grip
  • London Lady
  • Go Buddy Go
  • Peaches
  • Hanging Around
  • Bring On The Nubiles
  • Something Better Change
  • No More Heroes
  • Curfew
  • Do You Wanna ?
  • Death & Night & Blood
  • Threatened
  • Nice 'N' Sleazy
  • Toiler On The Sea

    On listening to what bits of the show are online , its more than apparent that the Stranglers were not yer stereotypical Punk band. The songs aren't frantically paced, you can understand the vocals and ( for me this is the killer ) there's the keyboards of Mr Greenfield swirling around the band which take away that guitar orientated punk sound that is really de rigueur nowadays ( and which was mostly the norm in the late 70s) . The classic punk sound was that of the Clash, Pistols and Banshees , none of whom had keys as part of their lineup. Elvis Costello had the cheesy keyboards of Steve Nieve and XTC also featured organ , but most of the proto punks such as Sham 69 didn't have a bar with that . Sorry to say it folks, but there's more than a touch of The Doors in Stranglers numbers such as Death and Night and Blood, where the keyboards are playing some very Ray Manzarek lines during the instrumental passage at the end. Nuffin wrong with that either, most of the band were actually quite old ( Jet Black was born in 1938 ) so it was natural that they would be influenced by earlier bands with " attitude " such as The Doors.

      These shots below show a good sized crowd, but there is plenty of room on the stage right side , possibly the entry to the ground was on the stage left side, which means fewer people graduated to the side with extra space. No shots of the hired army tank that was present , which was apparently used during Peter Gabriels set.

 

 

Jet Black , still drumming at the ripe old age of 71

Stranglers and Strippers (both male and female ) in der park....

 

 

 

 

 

Visit Alan Perry's concert photo site to view more images and buy prints of The Stranglers at Battersea 1978

Peter Gabriel .

 

Right : Gabriels band do the limbo © Alan Perry

 

 

 

Those were the days ! Peter Gabriel with hair © Alan Perry

You can see many more images and buy prints of Peter Gabriel at Battersea 1978 here at Alan Perry's concert photo site


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