The Stranglers // 50 Years In Black Anniversary Tour – Live Review // The Ulster Hall // Belfast

The Stranglers – 50 Years In Black – Anniversary Tour, rolls off the tongue but is no mean feat.

What can you say about the impact that a band such as The Stranglers have made on the musical landscape over the last 5 decades, what their music means to those gathered this evening in the hallowed halls of The Ulster Hall.

You can see it far and wide on the faces of those crammed into this iconic venue exactly what it means, smiles far and wide, old friends gathered to celebrate the soundtrack to their youth, and in tow, a youthful generation keen to learn from their wiser and often better-looking elders just how important such a soundtrack is in defining your musical journey ahead.

Tonight is a very special evening indeed, a night of two halves, the first kicking off at 8 pm sharp mostly focused on their most recent recording ‘Dark Matters’ and part two a set packed with classics that get the hearts racing. As we prep for the evening to kick off I scan the room and see the gathered masses huddled in their groups, hugging one another as they catch up with the old crew, back at The Ulster Hall once again reliving their hay-days, Stranglers T-Shirts can be seen far and wide as they await the house lights dropping and the band taking to the stage.

For five decades, The Stranglers have captivated audiences with their distinctive sound, blending punk rock with elements of new wave, post-punk, and beyond. Their music, characterized by raw energy, biting lyrics, and infectious rhythms, has left an indelible mark on the music industry and influenced generations of musicians.

As the lights dimmed, a roar of applause erupted, signalling the band’s arrival. Jean-Jacques Burnel’s bass rumbled through the hall, Baz Warne’s guitar sliced through the air with razor-sharp precision, Toby Hounsham’s keyboards added an ethereal layer, and Jim McAulay’s drums provided the driving force behind it all. Together, they launched into their set with a ferocity that belied their years.

From classics like “No More Heroes” and “Golden Brown” to deeper cuts like “Hanging Around” and “Peaches”, each song was delivered with unwavering intensity, evoking a potent mix of nostalgia and adrenaline. The band’s onstage chemistry was palpable, a testament to their decades-long partnership and mutual respect.

As the night unfolded, The Stranglers took the audience on a journey through their illustrious career, weaving together a tapestry of sonic textures and lyrical poetry. Every chord struck a chord within the crowd, every lyric reverberated with significance.

But it wasn’t just about the music – it was about the memories, the stories, the moments shared between band and fans. It was about the connection forged through music, transcending barriers of time and space.

As the final notes of a 29-song rollercoaster set of musical emotions echoed through the hall, there was a collective sense of euphoria – a celebration of 50 years of defiance, creativity, and passion. The Stranglers had once again proven why they remain one of the most enduring and influential bands in rock history.’

As I stepped out into the cool Belfast night, heart still pounding with the residual energy of the performance, I couldn’t help but feel grateful – grateful for the music that had shaped my life, grateful for the memories made, and grateful for The Stranglers, who had provided the soundtrack to it all. Here’s to another 50 years in black.



Photography: Mark McGrogan

@flashartmark #flashartmark 




The Stranglers

 50th Anniversary UK & Irish Tour

In 2024, The Stranglers, one of the most iconic and influential bands in British music history, are celebrating their 50th year anniversary with the following UK & Irish tour.

Since playing their last full-scale UK tour in 2022, the band has turned their minds to how they would like to celebrate their 50th anniversary with their fans. They have decided to embark on a short tour visiting some truly special and iconic venues to mark their golden anniversary.

First formed in 1974, The Stranglers uncompromising attitude was embraced by the punk movement of the late 70s but their musicianship and menace transcended the genre. They created their own unique sound and achieved over 25 Top 40 singles and 18 Top 40 albums, with their most recent release Dark Matters reaching number 4, their highest UK chart position since Feline in the early 80s and being acclaimed as their best in decades.

The Stranglers plan to make these milestone anniversary shows extra special with two sets featuring songs from the band’s inception through to the present, showcasing their unique fifty year career. These truly special events will be unmissable for fans of the Meninblack.

Tour Dates: 

08 Mar – GLASGOW Clyde Auditorium

09 Mar – EDINBURGH Usher Hall

11 Mar – BELFAST Ulster Hall

12 Mar – DUBLIN 3Olympia

14 Mar – NEWCASTLE 02 City Hall

15 Mar – MANCHESTER 02 Apollo

16 Mar – WOLVERHAMPTON Civic Hall

19 Mar – NOTTINGHAM Royal Concert Hall

20 Mar – CAMBRIDGE Corn Exchange

21 Mar – SHEFFIELD City Hall

23 Mar – PORTSMOUTH Guildhall

25 Mar – BRISTOL Beacon

26 Mar – LONDON Royal Albert Hall

Tickets for The Stranglers’ 50th Anniversary UK Tour will go on sale on 19th May.

Don’t miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to celebrate one of the greatest bands in British music history on their 50th anniversary tour.