No More Heroes

The Stranglers on stage in the Great Hall, Cardiff
The Stranglers

Back in October 2019 Mr Robot and I went to see Alice Cooper in Cardiff, and one of the support acts, The Stranglers, was so good we said we'd definitely go and see them. And so we booked to see then in 2020.

Well, you know how the next bit of the story goes, right?

The gig got cancelled and rearranged several times. Sadly, one of the founder members of the band, Dave Greenfield, died of covid in 2020, and so when we finally got to see them last week, it was the final date in their last-ever full UK tour.

A stone lioness on the Animal Wall, Cardiff, with part of the castle in the background
The end of the Animal Wall, with Cardiff Castle behind

Like a lot of the gigs we go to, this one was in Cardiff. Our friend Lisa went with us. We all had a walk around Cardiff, and showed her the Animal Wall near the castle. Our favourite place to eat, Mumbai street food cafe 3Bs, had closed down, so we settled for a pie and a pint in what used to be The Goat Major but has gone back to its old name, The Blue Bell. (The Goat Major was the Goat Major from the 90s onwards, so we'd never known it as anything else, and the pub still displays photos of the military mascot and his handler from whom it had borrowed the name.)

A redheaded woman wearing black top and trousers
My gig outfit: black velvet trousers and vest top; man's dress
shirt (yes, I wore cufflinks)

Then, the gig! Finding the venue was tricky; it had moved from the Motorpoint to the Students' Union, but the SU has several entry points and we ended up going in the wrong one, and virtually no-one who we spoke to was able to direct us to the right place. Should you ever go to a gig at the Great Hall in Cardiff SU, do not go in the entrance on Park Place facing the old University Building and City Hall – the entrance is round the back, off Senghennydd Road!

Anyway, we got there in time to catch the support act, Ruts DC, who you might know under their older name, The Ruts, and/or from their song Babylon Is Burning. A reggae-influenced punk band, they were active in antiracist causes in the 70s and 80s and have lost none of their fire. I would definitely see them again. The whole set was really energetic, and while The Stranglers were the headliners, it felt as though everyone was singing along to Babylon Is Burning.

Ruts DC on the stage at the Great Hall in Cardiff.
Ruts DC

The Stranglers were as excellent as we'd hoped they'd be. The Great Hall is much smaller than the Motorpoint, and everyone was standing, which really added to the atmosphere. Like when we saw them supporting Alice they came on to Waltzinblack, but this time they did a whopping two-hour set, including all the classics – Golden Brown, Walk On By, Peaches, Duchess, Something Better Change, Hanging Around and more. One of the encores was And If You Should See Dave, written in tribute to Dave Greenfield. It could be me reading too much into it, but it did seem like the band felt a little melancholy amid the exuberance, that there was a sense something was missing. That'd hardly be a surprise given Dave had been in the band for 45 years, though keyboard player Toby Hounsham was brilliant. They ended on No More Heroes, which they usually do, but this time it hit harder. One Less Hero, certainly.

Stranglers bass player Jean-Jacques 'JJ' Burnel, silhouetted by blue light
Stranglers bass player Jean-Jacques 'JJ' Burnel


  1. I'm glad you had a fab time and that the gig fianlly went ahead. Funnily enough, the last Facebook post our punk mate Darren (who died in 2020) shared was the death of Dave, he wasn't far behind him. They'll be up there somewhere drinking cider and having the time of their lives.
    I love The Ruts, there's loads of their vinyl in our collection. xxx

    1. Honestly, The Ruts were so good!

      Punk heaven would be a lot of fun.

  2. 'Golden Brown' is one of my favourite all time songs. I never, ever tire of hearing it. I love the Stranglers. How fabulous you got to see them on their very last ever tour - an historic moment if ever there was one! You looked lovely by the way.

    1. Thank you!

      Golden Brown was one that Dave had a big hand in writing - his keyboard sounds really set The Stranglers apart. I expect they'll do the odd one-off gig or festival, just not another tour. I'm glad we got to see them again.

  3. I used to love both The Ruts and The Stranglers back in the day, although I have seen neither of them live. I had no idea Dave Greenfield had died! One less hero indeed ... Seeing them on the final date of their last-ever full UK tour must have been bittersweet, the end of an era! xxx

    1. Yes, it did feel a bit sad. I expect they'll play the occasional one-off gig or festival, just no more tours. If you do get to see them or The ruts, I definitely recommend it.

  4. I have only heard of the Stranglers, as they didn't really cross the ocean. I think I had Dreamtime on cassette! I'm listening to "Always the Sun" right now - that's the only song by them I remember.

    I'm envious of going to a gig! We are seeing Mother Mother on the 30th - fingers crossed it goes through!


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