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The Stranglers at Grillstock 3rd July 2016

The Stranglers at Grillstock 
For one weekend a year the perfect partnership of meat and music come together on Bristol’s waterfront in the form of Grillstock. Every summer the festival gets bigger and the 2016 edition of the phenomenon was certainly no exception with pop-rock stalwarts The Stranglers bringing festivities to a momentous close on the Sunday night.

Every big band has an opening act however, and if you were to have been awarded a million guesses I highly doubt you would have picked the band that preceded The Stranglers at this year’s Grillstock. The Cuban Brothers. Perhaps the polar opposite of the festival’s headliners yet having them on directly before seemed to work. The Bros’ act may not have exactly been suitable for all of those in attendance with both their lyrics and antics being somewhat racy but they fought the odds and went down a storm in front of a mixed crowd just looking to have a good time.

Then was the turn of the festival closers, The Stranglers. The original punk rockers have been doing what they do best for over 40 years! Something they showed right from the off when they took to the stage at this year’s Grillstock. While the festival may be all about the meat, there was no hiding from the fact that many were there to see The Stranglers close out proceedings.

The rock veterans got off to a relatively reserved start. In fact it wasn’t until around the half way point of their set that things really kicked up a gear, ironically during the toned down song Golden Brown. A laidback track it may be but that doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s the most famous song in the band’s extensive back catalogue. Cue the sing-a-longs...

The night only kicked on from there and the Guildford four followed up one household name with another in the form of Peaches. What Golden Brown lacked in energy Peaches more than made up for and the closing ceremonies of the festival were well and truly in full swing.

Following such an epic halfway point left me and most of those in attendance wondering just one thing. Where do they go from here? But as mentioned above The Stranglers have been around for 40+ years, so they know a thing or two. One of those things is how to keep a festival crowd entertained even after you’ve seemingly played all of your top hits.

The party started by the playing of Peaches was kept going thanks to a multitude of similarly entertaining tracks. First and foremost the band’s cover version of All Day And All of the Night. Originally performed by The Kinks, you’d be forgiven for thinking it was in fact The Stranglers who made the song famous judging by their performance of it this past Sunday evening.

The Stranglers brought their performance, and Grillstock festival, to a close to the tune of the epic No More Heroes. The band left the stage in much the same way as they walked on, without much fanfare, but it wasn’t needed. The guys have been around long enough and written and performed enough music to let their performance do the talking, and that’s exactly what they did on Sunday night. When you have as much history and clout as The Stranglers do to put on a good show you simply need to turn up and play exactly what kept you famous all this time, and that’s exactly what they did. A fitting end to what has become a main stay in Bristol’s summer. Grillstock festival.
Josh Coulson

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