THIRTY-SIX years on from the release of their debut album Rattus Norvegicus, punk survivors The Stranglers are enjoying a deserved renaissance.

The Men In Black’s career may have dipped in the 90s following the departure of original singer and guitarist Hugh Cornwell, but the 21st century has seen an upturn in their fortunes, with some critics placing last year’s album Giants among their very finest work.

With Baz Warne now more than ably taking on Cornwell’s former duties, The Stranglers can still pull in big crowds and put on a brilliant show.

Opening with old favourite Toiler on the Sea, from the Black and White album, they proceeded to reel off a 22-song main set featuring the best of their back catalogue, including Nuclear Device, Peaches, Always The Sun and Duchess, alongside a smattering of newer songs.

They began with stand-in Jim Macaulay at the drum kit, alongside Warne and founder members Jean-Jacques Burnel on bass and Dave Greenfield on keyboards, but 15 songs in, Macaulay departed to be replaced by original sticksman Jet Black. As he will be 75 later this year and has not been in the best of health, Black’s appearances are somewhat sporadic these days, but he arrived to rousing cheers and provided the beat for a few more classics from the band’s heyday, including Skin Deep, Nice’n’Sleazy, Straighten Out and their biggest hit, the unorthodox but exquisite Golden Brown.

Energetic encores of Something Better Change, No More Heroes and Tank sent the fans home happy and proved that there’s plenty of life in these old dogs yet.

Ian Kelly