No More Heroes
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.
|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.)
|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.
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|