The Stranglers in Paris, Friday 13 April 2012

An unlucky date for some, but not for anyone at The Olympia last night. The Stranglers were on top form and deserved to be sharing the stage (historically, if not actually) with some of the greats of music history, right back to Edith Piaf and Marlene Dietrich.

It's a great venue and the audience came in early, stayed late and got a solid, tight show for their troubles.

One advantage of knowing the band and crew fairly well was the balcony seat I snared - an incredible view and the best possible sound. The rest of the crowd seemed a blend of English and French, young and old, male and female. In fact, a more diverse audience than I saw in Birmingham last month.

JJ Burnel continues to storm through songs with throbbing bass that always manage to stay just on the right side of intrusive. As one of the only two original Stranglers (the other being Dave Greenfield, tinkling away on the ivories behind a stack of keyboards), JJ nevertheless works well with his front-line compatriot, guitarist and singer Baz Warne. The pair of them together tease the audience and milk the response for everything possible with the classics like 'Golden Brown', 'No More Heroes' and 'Peaches'.

The current line-up is completed by Ian Barnard, playing drums while Jet Black recovers from his recent illness. For the last ten years, Ian has been Jet's drum tech and he strpped manfully into the breach in March, playing this gig like he was born to it.

Tuesday sees the 35th anniversary of the release of the stunning 'Rattus Norvegicus' onto the world. These guys might make mistakes, but they give the punters what they want - a great show, blistering songs and a bit of humour from time to time. Long may they continue.