Stranglers star Cornwell is still a hero

Hugh Cornwell
Hugh Cornwell
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Hugh Cornwell

Preston 53 Degrees

There were a lot of ageing blokes paying homage to a kindred spirit from the halcyon days of punk and new wave.

And they weren’t disappointed by ex-Stranglers frontman and master songwriter Hugh Cornwell, on top form, defying his 60-plus years.

Hugh looks younger now than 30 years ago and his songs haven’t aged either.

On a hot night at 53 Degrees Hugh and band Caroline Campbell (bass) and Chris Bell (drums) put new life into old songs, with each track from latest LP Totem and Taboo followed by a Stranglers classic.

His trio came on to a near-cabaret version of the new album’s title track and throughout, the new material fitted perfectly with the ‘oldies but goldies’, as Hugh put it.

In fact, 1978’s Nice’n’Sleazy proved sensuous rather than menacing thanks to luscious Caroline’s bass-ic instinct, while Nuclear Device, (Get A) Grip (On Yourself), Hanging Around and Duchess were rightly revered.

The three-piece set-up means Hugh has to work a bit harder in keyboard hero Dave Greenfield’s absence, but the 63-year-old certainly seems capable of meeting that challenge.

by Malcolm Wyatt