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 21 January 2012

La Folie - 30 Years On

Don't dwell too much on the title, to do so is rather depressing, can it really have been that long ago!? Yes, I'm afraid it was and it goes back to my earliest interest in the band.

This was the second 'concept' album in succession from the Stranglers, although the subjects were worlds apart (no alien references intended there).Gone were the dark extra-terrestrial/government conspiracy themes of the substance driven 'The Gospel According to the Meninblack'. However, the thread that ran through 'La Folie' was as equally mysterious as a hanger full of UFOs..... that most dangerous of human emotions.... LOVE! However, gnarly old punks could sleep easy in their gutters, for this was not to be a collection of boy meets girl slush, rather eleven tracks each concerned with different, darker, aspects of love.

Not a complete list, but here's an indiction of the different facets of love represented across the tracks of 'La Folie':

  • Devotion to God ('Non-Stop')
  • Glamour/pornographic imagery as a substitute for love ('Pin-up')
  • Family ties and loyalties/the Mafia ('Let Me Introduce You To The Family')
  • Hypercritical, new found devotion in the wake of John Lennon's murder ('Everybody Loves You When You're Dead')
  • Addiction to toast ('Golden Brown')
  • A distortion of love leading to cannabalistic acts ('La Folie')
I have already stated in a previous post, that I think that 'La Folie' is truely the last great Stranglers album. It mixes themes and styles like no other Mark I offering (even more so if you consider 'Love 30', the b-side of 'Golden Brown', best described as Wimbledon on acid!).

As was the case for their earlier albums, some of the characters that resided within these songs were rather obscur and some research was required in order to get the most out of the lyrics. There was Jive-talking, New York musician Milton Mezzrow and girl gourmet Issei Sagawa that stand out. In fact, knowing  the subject can be very important! Prior to researching the background to the track 'La Folie' (see link), in all innocence, I sent the lyrics to a female French penfriend in the hope that she would help with the translation. What must she made of it (and me!). To give her credit, she did continue to write for a while, but the correspondence faltered within a few months.

That The Stranglers themselves were satisfied with how the album turned out is, I think, evidenced by the strong presence of tracks from the album that featured in the live set (upto 6 of the original 11).The album was toured either side of Christmas, commencing on 11th November 1981, two days after the albums release, and winding up on 8th February 1982. Incidentally, it was in this period that the band achieved their greatest chart success with the single 'Golden Brown' reaching Number 2, in the then still credible UK singles chart.

The tour looked stunning, with the band as usual, challenging their audience with the stage visuals (at one point, with the assistance of the support band, 'Folie' was spelt out in sheet-wrapped human form!).

'Mr Burnel, you are cleared to land'
Bath Pavillion 3rd December 1981

Once again if I may, I will point you in the direction of Phil Coxon's tour diary.

Here then is an example of a show from this period, albeit post UK tour, when the band played the 'No Nukes Festival in Utrecht, Holland on 9th April 1982.

'No Nukes Festival'
Utrecht 9th April 1982


1. Intro
2. Down In The Sewer,
3. Just Like Nothing On Earth
4. Second Coming
5. Non Stop
6. The Man They Love To Hate
7. Who Wants The World
8. Baroque Bordello
9. Golden Brown
10. How To Find True Love And Happiness In The Present Day
11. Tank
12. Let Me Introduce You To The Family
13. Tramp
14. The Raven
15. Nuclear Device
16. Genetix
17. La Folie

Full artwork here (pdfs included in downlaod file):


  1. First gig I ever went to was on this tour, Victoria Hall Handley....... only just dawned on me that the last gig I went to in England was at the same venue in 2002 the Levellers.

  2. Hi Adrian I was browsing through your excellent blog and I was wondering why you only have 4 quality tracks of the No Nukes fest. I suppose VARA radio would have broadcast more songs of the Stranglers set. Also was there no interview with the band asking about their opinion on the subject of nuclear power? I know Dave Edmunds was asked about this but he didn't seem to care much or know where the festival was about! I followed all this cause U2 was supposed to appear aswell but they didn't turn up, can't recall why. They are even on the bill of your cd artwork. Also there should be more Stranglers shows broadcast on Dutch Radio-pinkpop 1985/eindexamen fest Den Bosch 1983- I know they were listed on a show called 'Legendary Live' but this site has been taken down.