Hugh Cornwell at The Media Club in Vancouver, BC (04/02/10)
Download: Hugh Cornwell – “Please Don’t Put Me On A Slow Boat To Trowbridge”
“I’m never rejoining The Stranglers. If you heard that from someone, it’s bullocks!”
– Hugh Cornwell (April 2, 2010)
With plenty of snarl left in him, ex-Stranglers frontman Hugh Cornwell rolled into Vancouver, BC last week to promote his new record, Hooverdam (with emphasis on the dam!). Hugh’s band was rounded out by no-nonsense bass player Caroline Campbell (who let’s face it, was not afraid to show off her assets) and gonzo drummer Chris Bell. I was half expecting to see a straight ahead punk rock set filled with 3 minute songs and no breaks, but Cornwell was witty, engaging and still pretty dexterous on the electric guitar. By the end of the night, Cornwell had the capacity crowd of frat boys, young punks and folks who might have been around to see The Stranglers play back in the day, begging for more.
A former Gants Hill boy and original Stranglers fan came with me to the show and here’s what he had to say about it:
Seeing Hugh Cornwell perform at The Media Club evoked memories of seeing him when he was a member of The Stranglers. That was back in a gritty Old London Town some thirty odd years plus during the rise the of new wave/punk scene going on at the time.
Despite being in his early 60s, Cornwell showed no signs of slowing down on Friday night, especially on guitar. Though not quite a virtuoso, Cornwell showed impressive facility with his instrument (even amidst some apparent technical difficulties), certainly more than you might expect when you hear the words “punk rock guitarist”. Also, while he doesn’t have a tremendous singing voice, it works for the songs, I’d compare him to Lou Reed, but with a little more range. Drummer Chris Bell kept of the frenetic pace all night and bass player Caroline Campbell, (looking a bit like a young Kate Bush I might add), emulated that slightly sinister sound that many of The Stranglers songs had.
Not being too familiar with Mr. Cornwell’s solo material, I was hoping for large dose Stranglers songs and Hugh did not disappoint. The set combined tracks from his new solo record Hooverdam, along with some classic Stranglers tunes, such as “Peaches”, “No More Hero’s”, “Golden Brown” as well as a fuzzed out psychedelic version of Dionne Warwick’s “Walk on By”. Between songs there was plenty of banter between Hugh and the crowd which was made up mainly of blokes of a certain age. All in all for around ninety minutes Hugh and the band served up some good solid entertainment that mixed his new material without forgetting that good old stuff.
[Editor’s Note: I asked Hugh’s roadie for the setlist and was told I couldn’t have it because there were “10 more shows to go”. When I asked again if I could just take a picture of it, I was ignored.]
Unfortunately for us East Coasters, Hugh won’t be making the trip to NYC on this outing, he finishes up his short US tour on April 10 in Chicago. The new album, however, is available as a free (and legal) download over here.
More Hugh Cornwell US and UK tour dates and pics from the Media Club show after the jump.
Hugh Cornwell 2010 US Tour Dates
04/08/10 Lincoln, NE @ Knickerbockers
04/09/10 St. Louis, MO @ Off Broadway
04/10/10 Chicago, IL @ The Abbey Pub
Hugh Cornwell 2010 UK (Hooverdam/Rattus Norvegicus) Tour Dates
05/07/10 ABERDEEN, Lemon Tree
05/08/10 EDINBURGH, The Caves
05/14/10 GLOUCESTER, Guild Hall
05/15/10 PRESTON, 53 Degrees
05/21/10 NOTTINGHAM, Rescue Rooms
05/22 /10 BRIGHTON, Komedia
05/28 /10 LEEDS, Cockpit
05/29 /10 BILSTON, The Robin
Hugh Cornwell at The Media Club by D. Caplan