The stream of people from the moment the doors opened in the Ulster Hall was evidence that something special was happening in the place tonight. And indeed it was as tonight DR FEELGOOD was supporting none other than THE STRANGLERS.
Dr FEELGOOD strut on stage with a supreme confidence that naturally exudes from a band that has been playing together for many years. And boy, these guys were perfect performers as they kick into songs like “Drives Me Wild”, “Down By The Jetty”, “I Believe My Time Ain’t Long” and “Back In The Night”. If you want a definition of Rhythm and Blues then this is it. Dr FEELGOOD owned the stage and held sway over a packed Ulster Hall. Normally it can take a while as the support plays for people to mill in and fill out the space, so it was a real sign of the pulling power of Dr FEELGOOD on their own. They played their heart and soul out with pure energy that would put many younger bands to shame.
Firing out more hits they hit the crowd with “Roxette” and the roars of the audience when the sweet refrains of “Milk and Alcohol” began. What a song! It was a truly special moment to see Robert, Steve, Phil, and Kevin all together pump it out and to see a packed crowd sing along with pure enthusiasm.
On they went, jumping, grooving, sliding, running as they hit out each track like “Going Back Home” and “Down To The Doctor” before they finished off their set with an incredible rendition of “Mad Man Blues”.
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Then came THE STRANGLERS as they immediately went into “Bitching”, “I’ve Been wild”, “(Get a) Grip (On Yourself)“ and “Baroque Bordello”. Pumping out each song with a perfectly tight style of professional enjoyment. Full of the energy and anger of new wave punk rock, they delivered a visceral performance, especially present with “Bring On the Nubiles”.
On, this four piece of incredible punk heritage, played slamming home “Uptown”, “Peaches”, and the brand new song “Man on the Moon”, the Ulster Hall being the first time they played it live. Their performance was mesmerising and sublime. Interacting with the audience with a well rounded knowledge of where they were playing. But mostly they were doing what they came to do, play a fantastic set.
“Duchess”, “Skin Deep”, and “Unbroken” kept the crowd energised and the tightly packed Hall floor was heaving with bodies, arms, legs and massive grins. This was a moment in time no one would forget.
They played “Princess of the Streets” before floating into “Always The Sun”, which had the roof shaking as the whole hall joined in much to the amusement of Barry “Baz” Warne. Then came the classic “Golden Brown”. Such a moment in time to see The Stranglers in front of you play such an iconic song.
Though they have been around for quite some time, there was no slowing whatsoever as they delivered “Ice Queen”, “This Song”, and “Relentless” with such passion, as they had done with every other song. There was not a single person watching not moving to the music.
“Death and Night and Blood” “Water” and “Goodbye Toulouse”” kept the tempo moving before “Hey! (Rise of the Robots)”, and the classic “Hanging Around” hammered home that this was an incredible night. Then came “No More Heroes” and the place went wild. Finishing off the whole set THE STRANGLERS produced a fantastic version of Dionne Warwick’s “Walk On By”.
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What a night! To see two well oiled machines deliver two sets full of uncompromising passion that the phrase “blood, sweat, and tears” doesn’t even come close. Both Dr FEELFGOOD and THE STRANGLERS produced performances that left everyone fulfilled and satisfied that they had witnessed something special.
If you ever get the chance, you have to do yourself a favour and go see these two bands. They are both well deserving of being bucketlisters.
Review by Ivor Whitten, Happy Metal Geek