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

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Allez Jean-Jacques! A Trip to France April 2007

In April 2007, I was very much getting back into this Stranglers thing. With the UK 'Suite XVI' dates done and dusted, Europe called. The last, and only time, I saw the Stranglers abroad was in Dusseldorf in June 1988. Back then it was less convenient to see a band play abroad. Budget airlines and the Eurostar have since done much to change that, to the extent that the cost difference in travelling to a gig in the UK and seeing a gig in Northern Europe is not that great. Cheap travel, hotel deals and cheaper gig tickets make a big difference. And, given that on this occasion, my travelling companion was Paul 'The Fixer' Cooklin, costs were further reduced to the extent that financially three consecutive gigs were in the frame, Lille, Cannes and Paris.

Paul and I met up at Waterloo early morning (this was prior to the opening of St Pancras International) to board the Eurostar to Lille. This was my first trip on the Eurostar and I was very impressed. My level of comfort was enhanced by the little bottles of red wine that Paul kept procuring throughout the journey! Pinot Grigiot obviously had not at this point been established as the official touring tipple of our small group!

The day was beautiful and our afternoon in Lille was passed in the main town square in the company of Michelle, Neil the Walker and our genial hosts Eric and Fred (who planned to get us to the venue that evening). I have to say that whenever I have travelled anywhere to see this band, local fans have always been most hospitable and generous. This trip was no exception and this aspect is one of the reasons why such trips further afield are so enjoyable.

Lille 4th April 2007

The venue was small and intimate with a ready supply of red wine. The gig itself was highly enjoyable and afterwards we had the opportunity to seek out the band for a chat (after all we had no homes to go to!). JJ and Baz obliged and chatted to fans and posed for the odd photo.

Post-gig with JJ
Lille 4th April 2007

Baz post-gig trying to seduce the camera!
Lille 4th April 2007

The evening took us back into the centre of Lille for a very late evening meal and the usual post-gig analysis.

Here's a recording of the show:

The Stranglers, Le Splendid, Lille
4th April 2007
1. Intro
2. Five Minutes
3. Grip
4. Spectre Of Love
5. Nice N Sleazy
6. Death And Night And Blood
7. Unbroken
8. Peaches
9. Always The Sun
10. Golden Brown
11. I Hate You
12. Lost Control/ Summat Outanowt
13. Walk On By
14. Relentless

1. Burning Up Time
2. All Day And All Of The Night
3. Duchess
4. London Lady
5. Nuclear Device
6. Dagenham Dave
7. Hanging Around
8. No More Heroes
Full artwork here (pdfs also included in download file)

The following nights gig was in Caen (Hérouville-Saint-Clair), but in order to get there it was necessary to track back to Paris and then take another train out to the Normandy coast. A little jaded from the night before, I lost my breakfast (if indeed I had had any at all) in the street as we crossed Paris to get to the correct terminal.... the English abroad, I ask you! We got to the right place, but not in time for our pre-booked train. Eventually objective Caen was reached. Being without independant transport for the trip, I am ashamed to say that we did not make the short detour to get to the landing beaches a few short miles to the north. Instead we resigned ourselves once again to right the wrongs of the world in a brasserie in the company of our ever present travelling companion, one L.K. Hall. In a brief respite from resolving world hunger, third world debt and the heady question of which next, red wine or white wine? we took in a short acoustic set from JJ and Baz at the local FNAC store (the gallic equivalent to our WH Smiths I suppose). The set, which featured Strange Little Girl, Dutch Moon and I Hate You (see the Paris gig below for a similar set from Nice the previous week), was interupted briefly when Baz was compelled to chastise a local suited gent for continuing his mobile phone conversation as the two played (bear in mind that the venue for this set was about the size of an average living room!).

JJ & Baz Caen 5th April 2007

Set completed, there was just time for another couple of photos before heading out to the venue for the main event.

Me and the bass player (my eyes give away our afternoon's occupation!)

Paul and the bass player

Unfortunately, I do not have a recording of this gig. Whilst enjoyable, I recall it to have been very quiet with a very restrained audience. This can be quite a characteristic of European gigs, the venues can be quite unusual and the audience reaction to the band unpredictable (in contrast to UK dates where the venues are quite consistant and the crowd reaction much the same from Liverpool to London).

Herouville St Claire
4th April 2007

That night after the gig, only JJ appeared after the gig at some distance and in contrast to the previous night he was clearly not to be approached! Something was up, I don't think that he could get on the bus and he had clearly seen his arse! Giving JJ a wide berth, an earlier night was considered to be the best option as the following night in Paris was expected to be something of a party.

Back in Paris, as you may expect, during the day we did not encounter any fellow fans, this being a metropolis, but our modus operandi was unchanged from Lille and Caen. This day we were ensconced in a wonderful cafe/bar on the street in the St Germain district of the city. The company was good (for this date we were joined by one of Paul's work colleagues) as was the opportunity to people watch (consider that this was a very warm spring day in the centre of Paris!).

Of the gig, a do not recall anything particularly unusual. Ian, occupying the drum stool for Jet on these dates, did an excellent job. I do remember thinking that it was great how hard he played the drums, Jet just doesn't hit them that hard anymore.

After the gig, a sizable contingent hit a nearby late night bar (where Ian joined us). This being Paris, a large number of people had popped over from the UK for the date, so the bar was filled with many familiar faces.

On leaving the bar (did it close?) we went for the latest evening meal I have ever had, it must have been 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning! The restaurant was heaving, not with clubbers, drunks, prostitutes and people that have missed the last train home, as you would see in a late licenced place over here, but middle aged couples on a night out. People travelling to London in this Olympic year are in for a shock.

Here's the show then. I hope that you enjoy it.

Baz & Dave
Le Cigale, Paris
6th April 2007

1. Five Minutes
2. Grip
3. Spectre Of Love
4. Nice 'N' Sleazy
5. Death And Night And Blood
6. Unbroken
7. Peaches
8. Always The Sun
9. Golden Brown
10. I Hate You
11. Lost Control

1. Summat Outanowt
2. Walk On By
3. Relentless
4. Burning Up Time
5. All Day And All Of The Night
6. Duchess
7. London Lady
8. Nuclear Device
9. Dagenham Dave
10. Hanging Around
11. No More Heroes

FNAC, Nice 30th March 2007
12. Strange Little Girl
13. Dutch Moon
14. I Hate You
Full artwork here (pdfs also included in download file)

And so our little jaunt to France came to an end..... with an eye upon the next time.


  1. Very great document about your french tour diary. thanks a lot, and great photos from the Suite 16 tour. I know some people on the Lille Splendid backstage photo (I work there since 1997) I remember Christophe (I did with him the SIS France since 1993) and Fred a Strangulation subscriber, and Owen Carne. I keep some great memories from this french tour, because I have the opportunity to make the sound of the french support band. I have good relationships with Louie the Stranglers F.O.H. engineer. Very great technical staff. Nice gentlemen. A Bientot. Take Car. Eric from France

  2. Hi there, what a brilliant blog you've put togethere. Thanks for some great downloads. One little snag with this one, Peaches is missing from disc 1. Other than that these two French gigs are great. Thanks (BH)