Aural Sculptors - The Stranglers Live 1976 to the Present

Welcome to Aural Sculptors, a blog aimed at bringing the music of The Stranglers to as wide an audience as possible. Whilst all of the various members of the band that have passed through the ranks since 1974 are accomplished studio musicians, it is on stage where the band have for me had their biggest impact.

As a collector of their live recordings for many years I want to share some of the better quality material with other fans. By selecting the higher quality recordings I hope to present The Stranglers in the best possible light for the benefit of those less familiar with their material than the hardcore fan.

Needless to say, this site will steer well clear of any officially released material. As well as live gigs, I will post demos, radio interviews and anything else that I feel may be of interest.

In addition, occasionally I will post material by other bands, related or otherwise, that mean a lot to me.

Your comments and/or contributions are most welcome. Please email me at

Tuesday, 30 June 2020

What's In A Name?

'Rattus Norvegicus' release advert
Sounds 30th April 1977

For me, the album that was never bettered. Agreed it is down to personal taste of course.

Rattus..... their most psychedelic?
Black and White.... their most 'punk'?
The Raven..... their creative zenith?
The Gospel According To The Meninblack...... their most avant garde?

I love 'em all but just imagine for a moment that 'Rattus Norvegicus' was forever consigned to the information plaques in the small mammal houses of zoos up and down the country rather than filling the racks of record shops!

'Dead On Arrival' or 'Rattus Norvegicus'?

Both New Musical Express and Record Mirror reported this change in name in their issues of 26th March 1977. A late editorial decision from the band relative to its release date in April!

NME 26th March 1977

Record Mirror 26th March 1977

To think, we could have been robbed of our most beloved critter!

Sunday, 28 June 2020

Attila The Stockbroker Manhatten Club Bradford 7th February 1983

And as promised here is Attila's set. Set-wise it is very similar to the live side of 'Ranting at the Nation' with a couple of additions that were new to me. There are also a couple of tracks in the set that appeared in his John Peel Session that was recorded the following month.

01. Radio Rap
02. Hands Off Our Halibut
03. Gentlemen Of The Wrist
04. Contributory Negligence
05. Nigel Wants To Go To C&A
06. Albanian Football
07. England Are Back
08. Spies And Small Animals
09. Love
10. Et Laxative
11. ‘Commutors’
12. Nigel Wants To Go And See Simple Minds
13. Fifth Column
14. Burn It Down
15. Flapping In The Wind
16. California Uber Alles
17. A Bang And A Wimpy
18. I Don’t Talk To Popstars

Newtown Neurotics Manhatten Club Bradford 7th February 1983

The following two posts are something rather special, for me at least. Two sets from a gig played in Bradford 37 years ago. The Newtown Neurotics and Attila The Stockbroker in a combined offensive (as was and still is so often the case) captured here with excellent sound early on, at around the time of each of their debut albums, 'Beggars Can Be Choosers' and 'Ranting At The Nation' respectively. 1983 was an election year and four months after this gig, Margaret Thatcher was re-elected, retaining control in a landslide victory over Labour, buoyed by success in the South Atlantic the previous summer. 

The new strain of economics was already being felt in Britain's heavy industry sectors in the north. The Neurotics and Attila railed against this lurch to the right and the policies and schemes that did so much to widen the gulf between the rich and the poor in this country. But in February of 1983, the Miner's Strike, perhaps the biggest battle fought by these two acts, along with many other bands of the left, in a very long war was some way in the distance.

The songs speak for themselves.

So here it is for your listening pleasure, across two posts, I give you the authentic sound of Harlow Town 1983!

As a cultural aside, for those with an appreciation of modern British sculpture, The Neurotics are pictured here in the company of 'Harlow Family Group' a 1954-55 commissioned piece by Henry Moore (whose Perry Green residence is very close by to Harlow and Bishops Stortford). It represents the families who were relocated from bomb damaged East London to the newly created Newtown of Harlow and the baby boom that occured in the early post-war years. The spectacles were a later embellishment (probably not by Henry Moore!).

01. Warm Up
02. ‘Tetley Bitter Man’ Story
03. Wake Up
04. Hypocrite
05. Introduction To ‘Does Anyone Know Where The March Is?’
06. Does Anyone Know Where The March Is?
07. Fools
08. Equipment Problems
09. Mindless Violence
10. Agony
11. Newtown People
12. Get Up And Fight
13. The Mess
14. Kick Out The Tories
15. Living With Unemployment
16. Life In Their Hands

Saturday, 27 June 2020

Pfalzbau Ludwigshafen Germany 1st April 1985

Here's a nice sounding recording of the band in Ludwigshafe, Germany.

01. Intro
02. Something Better Change
03. Uptown
04. Dead Ringer
05. No Mercy
06. Souls
07. Nice 'N' Sleazy
08. Skin Deep
09. Let Me Down Easy
10. Midnight Summer Dream
11. European Female

01. Golden Brown
02. Strange Little Girl
03. Peaches
04. Death & Night & Blood
05. Threatened
06. Punch & Judy
07. Hanging Around
08. I Feel Like A Wog
09. Down In The Sewer 
10. Nubiles (Cocktail Version)
11. The Raven

Hugh Cornwell Interviewed on Northsound Radio 16th February 1985

Here is a radio interview with Hugh conducted by a young Nicky Campbell who was then working for Northsound Radio. Since that particular radio station broadcast out of Aberdeen an educated guess for the exact date for the interview would be 16th February 1985 when the band were in town for a date at the Capitol Theatre at the close of the first week of the Aural Sculpture tour. The broadcast was on 23rd February.

Hugh talks about the Rainbow 'Fuck' shirt ban, Nice, intra-band relationships and of course the then new album 'Aural Sculpture'. I did not realise that the band had attempted to bring in Marvin Gaye to produce it just weeks before his untimely demise.

Wednesday, 24 June 2020

20 From '82(10) Stiff Little Fingers Brixton Ace 9th December 1982

I have come to the conclusion so I have that 'Now Then' is a fine album that stands up ably along side SLF's three other angrier first albums (with respect to their first incarnations). It is interesting that at the time that they produced this album of 'softer', introspective songs they were by all accounts knocking seven bells out of each other on the road.

Anyway, they were filmed for the new station Channel 4 at one of their last gigs. I think that it is great.

01. Touch & Go
02. Listen
03. Fly The Flag
04. The Price Of Admission
05. Bits Of Kids
06. Is That What You Fought The War For?

Monday, 22 June 2020

Night Town Rotterdam 22nd June 1991

Here's an anniversary gig from way back.... and as I recall it was the night that young Owen and Jacquie first played tongue tennis, which makes them new to this coupling game in my eyes.

The band seem to be having some issues with people chucking beer at them. Sod that, I have some experience of gigs in the Lowlands and I have to say that after all of the palaver of going to purchase plastic tokens en-route to the bar, the last thing that I would consider would to be launching a hard won beer at a band, no matter how shit they were!

Highlight of this gig is when Paul Roberts prior to 'Sometimes' enquires of the crowd 'Alles gut?' to which one very Dutch voice responds 'Fuck You!'.

MP3 (as received):

01. No More Heroes
02. Threatened
03. Something Better Change
04. Sometimes
05. Never To Look Back
06. Someone Like You
07. Laughing At The Rain
08. Heaven Or Hell
09. Always The Sun
10. 96 Tears
11. Brain Box
12. Uptown
13. Wet Afternoon
14. Mr Big
15. Hanging Around
16. Toiler On The Sea
17. Down In The Sewer
18. All Day And All Of The Night
19. Tank
20. London Lady