Resorts World Arena, Birmingham 11.10.19
Day two of my three day gig excursion. Alice Cooper and, for me, the big added attraction of The Stranglers.
Having recently binge watched all of the Peaky Blinders tv series – and I really am not a tv watcher – I was amused to see the branding being enthusiastically adopted in the pre-gig hospitality area – yes this was a special one with gig buddy Dave.
The packages and annual membership arrangements get you seats up the front in this big seated arena for which I’m extremely grateful – regulars get an early shout and we are on the front row, just to right of centre stage. Thirty years ago I could get down the front here but that was with assistance from friends on security – it is strictly policed these days by polite well-trained staff. This really is the opposite end of the spectrum to the basement of the Anvil Rock Bar the night before. I love ’em both.
Wayne Kramer is the only only original 1964 member of MC5 in the MC50 touring band. Active initially until 1972 MC5 were an inspiration to US punk rockers at the end of the decade. I didn’t know much about them but the Spotify trawl was an enlightening one and their Hendrix-like lead singer tonight brought it to life on this ‘Kick out the Jams’ tour.
Kramer introduced his line up – drummer from Fugazi, bassist from Faith No More and guitarist from Soundgarden. Seasoned professionals.
I however delivered a true amateur performance by accidentally deleting all the pics from my camera after an evening of various ‘Peaky Blinder’ branded brews, including the Peaky Blinder two pint lager bucket. I had copied my Stranglers pics across to my phone before this schoolboy error and I have nabbed some of my mate Dave’s.
Hence photos of MC50 and Alice Cooper are all courtesy of Dave.
My 26th Stranglers gig. A ritual that started in July 1990 and continues – I’ll catalogue the lifelong tour at the some point – I’ve been digging.
The original members still touring are Jean-Jacques Burnel (bass and vocals) and Dave Greenfield (keyboards). Baz Warne (guitar and vocals) has been in the band longer than Hugh Cornwell was though. Jet Black has stepped aside for Jim MacCauley on drums and he has been touring with them in recent years. For a while Jet was coming on as a sub for a few songs but not now that I know of. Even JJ is 67 now.
Never quite the same seeing them as a support act but a mainly greatest hits set that started with ‘Toiler on the Sea’ and finished with ‘No More Heroes’. I enjoyed it more than most of the seated masses but they were here for Alice Cooper. That’s how it is.
Remaining photos courtesy of ‘Dave’ following my late night deletion error. These are from a phone!
Old Black Eyes is Back: Alice Cooper
What a showman. The old rocker just keeps going and looks good on it. Leather clad with all sorts of props he’s known for, perhaps tamed a little but we are still exposed to some dark cartoon fantasies on stage.
A fantastic selection of musicians with him, including some from the Hollywood Vampires. The drummer – Glen Sobel – was exceptional.
I can’t say I know Alice Cooper material beyond the obvious – Poison, School’s Out – but I’d been listening to a Spotify playlist I’d assembled from more recent Setlist.com tip-offs. While this can be a spoiler I prefer that if I’m seeing a band I haven’t got stuff by (not that owning stuff matters any more).
Best for me “Roses on White Lace’ and ‘No More Mr Nice Guy’. The former aided by his wife in a mock blood splattered wedding dress. Rock ‘n’ roll eh.
Encore is inevitably ‘Schools Out’ mixed in with ‘Another Brick in the Wall’. Smoke filled bubbles and an invasion of giant balloons full of confetti.
A guillotine appeared to add to the gore with Mrs Cooper enthusiastically chopping.
Goodnight Birmingham. A peaky blinder of a gig. Next we are off to London to The Roundhouse for the last night of the Psychedelic Furs tour, with The Wendy James Band.