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Live (X-Cert)

music reviewmusic reviewmusic review  out of 4

Artist: The Stranglers
Genre: Rock
Release Date: 1978

Review by Mark Fleming
3½ stars out of 4

During Punk Rock's heyday, The Stranglers were dismissed by many of their peers because they didn't look the part: their combined ages (they were a 4-piece) amounted to over 100. Their bearded drummer, Jet Black, in particular, looked as if he'd need a lie-down after any degree of pogoing. But this gave an edge to their fusion of Pre-Punk bluesy rock riffs and safety-pinned thrash. The rat may have been their early logo, but they were never part of any pack. 'Live X-Cert,' recorded at various London gigs, captures this seminal Punk band at their best. The opening track is 'Grip', and all the group's hallmarks are present and correct: Hugh Cornwell's snarling vocals, Jean-Jacques Burnel's pulsating bass-lines, Jet Black's deft percussion, and Dave Greenfield's swirling keyboards. Although 'Live X Cert' concludes with debut single 'Go Buddy Go', there is more emphasis on the 2nd album 'No More Heroes'; 'Dagenham Dave', 'Burning Up Time' and anti-fascist anthem 'Feel Like a Wog' are rattled through with the furious adrenaline of their live settings. Side 2 kicks off with the vibrant 'Straighten Out', before launching into a medley from 'Black and White', their foreboding but majestic 3rd album. There was little excuse for the live strip-show that accompanied 'Nice n' Sleazy' other than tabloid-bating: for Tory newspapers who railed against Punk while displaying photos of semi-nude women, that was seen as justification enough. It is worth a pogo down memory lane just to hear singer Hugh Cornwall's offhand remark: 'Good to see you've all been reading your News of the Worlds and you're all spitting just like Punks are supposed to be!'



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