Concert Review: Hugh Cornwell, June 28, Horseshoe Tavern


With any performer who’s been around for a few years and amassed a decent back catalogue, the live show becomes a bit of a balancing act that involves finding the sweet spot between making the fans happy (ie. playing the old stuff) and making yourself happy (playing the new stuff). Hugh Cornwell, former frontman for The Stranglers, seems to have found a good balance between the old and the new. Starting things off with the title track from the Steve Albini produced Totem and Taboo, he then moved on to the Stranglers’ classic “Skin Deep” before moving back to a new song. Cornwell described that opening trifecta as “a nice Philadelphia sub with some Totem and Taboo on either side, some nice garlic butter, and some Stranglers in the middle – nice seasoned meat.”

Playing in power trio format, Cornwell was backed up by a solid rhythm section, including an impressively hard hitting drummer who looked a bit like Blake Anderson from Workaholics, though Cornwell described him as looking like Animal from the Muppets, but with glasses – also accurate. The new songs sounded good and the new arrangements of the older stuff worked nicely, though I did overhear someone in the audience saying how they half expected to hear some organ up on stage. Other highlights in his set included “Dagenham Dave,” “Duchess,” “Gods Guns and Gays,” (I wonder if Mike Huckabee’s heard that one?) and “Golden Brown,” which took on a bit of a jazzy arrangement.

He ended off the set with “Bad Vibrations,” then introduced his band, thanked us for coming out on a Sunday, and closed things off by pronouncing, “Let’s get drunk! And buy some merchandise!”

Posted on by Paul in Concerts