COMING as it did as the last gig of a three week UK tour, it was perhaps inevitable that something unexpected might happen, and the sight of The Strangler’s JJ Burnel and Baz Warne dancing around the stage during Wilko Johnson’s set wearing just balloons was not for the faint-hearted.

Neither was themeninblack’s set which exploded into life with I feel Like A W*g and ended an hour and a half later with All Day And All Of The Night and the Stranglers’ classic No More Heroes.

In between, the packed out – and I do mean packed out, the place was rammed! – crowd was treated to track after track from this iconic band.

Of course, the hits we all know and love were played in the way on The Stranglers can – with Baz snarling out the lyrics whilst belting out the familiar riffs.

Jet Black belied his years by drumming up a storm and Dave Greenfield’s swirling keyboards added the deft touches.

And while all this was going on, there was the menacing presence of bassist JJ Burnel – the way he hammered his bass in the intro to No More Heroes seemed to release the emotions following their three-week trek around the country.

There were quite a few songs that have been rarely played over the years and these were received enthusiastically by the gathered masses – Was It You from the Dreamtime album, a couple from The Raven namely Baroque Bordello and Dead Loss Angeles and the Black and White album gave us Sweden and Threatened.

Two Sunspots from the Meninblack album was another rarity, and we were treated to a brand new song in the shape of Freedom is Insane which bodes well for the new album.

The fuzzy sound quality that is always apparent at The Academy didn’t really detract from our enjoyment, but next time let’s go for a bigger venue.

Long live the meninblack.