Gig Review

The Stranglers
Nine Below Zero
Birmingham, Academy
22nd March 2014

The Stranglers             Nine Below Zero

Photo Of Nine Below Zero © Copyright Claire WhelptonAbsolutely bloody brilliant! After 35 years together, Nine Below Zero are the special guests of The Stranglers for six weeks on their Ruby Anniversary Tour, ending in Manchester on Saturday 29 March. Admittedly, the last time I saw Nine Below Zero, they were a fixture in the front room of The Young Ones, belting out ‘Eleven + Eleven’ to an audience of Mike, Rick and Vivian. Tonight I am in for one heck of a surprise as the group are an incredibly talented blues band – self-proclaimed blues for the 21st Century.

Photo Of Nine Below Zero © Copyright Claire WhelptonNine Below Zero have joined the likes of Eric Clapton and Ray Davies (The Kinks) on previous tours, having opened for Chuck Berry and made an appearance on Jools Holland during their lengthy stint in the music world. This band are very much in demand and are a regular fixture on the blues scene. Tonight, alongside their notable hits of ‘Eleven + Eleven’ and ‘Ridin’ on the L&N’ they treated the crowd to cover versions of ‘On the Road Again’ (Canned Heat) and ‘Riders on the Storm’ (The Doors) which were well received. Mark Feltham is stupendous on harmonica and this sets the band apart from their peers. The Stranglers couldn’t have chosen a better opening act…

Photo Of The Stranglers © Copyright Claire WhelptonBritish rockers The Stranglers need no introduction. This band has been a lynchpin in the UK punk rock scene since the late 1970s, having opened for the likes of The Ramones and Patti Smith on tours in the past. They have had 23 UK Top 40 singles and 17 UK Top 40 albums during their lengthy career which makes them one of the most successful bands of the punk rock movement.

Tonight the band arrive on stage to a throbbing build up of sound and kick off their Photo Of The Stranglers © Copyright Claire Whelptonanniversary set with a bang. Hits such as ‘No More Heroes’, ‘Peaches’ and ‘Golden Brown’ go down a storm with the crowd and it’s great to see the legions of loyal fans enjoying every moment. The Stranglers may have emerged from punk rock beginnings but it is hard to pigeonhole them into one genre these days as their music is so diverse, having moved through New Wave and Goth Rock with influences of Psychedelia thrown in. They have an original take on music that cannot be matched and long may they continue to produce their eclectic musical statements as whatever they do, it certainly isn’t dull!

Nine Below Zero 5/5
The Stranglers 5/5

Review By Claire Whelpton

 The Stranglers

Jet Black
J J Burnel
Dave Greenfield
Baz Warne

 Nine Below Zero

Dennis Greaves
Mark Feltham
Brian Bethhell
Brendan O'Neill

 Band Related Links
The Stranglers Facebook
Nine Below Zero Facebook
 Review Score Code
- Top Cheese
- Brilliant
- Pretty damn good
- Ok I guess
- What Was That?