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

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Buxton Opera House 16th February 2008

This could be best described as a 'keeping your hand in' gig for the band. For many fans, it presented a great excuse for a weekend away in the bracing winter Peak District hills in the company of the Stranglers. For this event, a group of us travelled up from London and Hertfordshire for what promised to be a unique gig.

To a dyed in the wool urban dweller such as myself, Buxton is bloody remote, nestled in the Derbyshire hills, the town is small and this is reflected in their Opera House. A beautifully plush venue which made a very pleasant change from the increasingly uniform corporate city venues that the band usually play.

After a generous pre-gig pre-med, Paul Cooklin and I felt that in keeping with venue, we should perhaps switch to gin and tonic once inside. So, it was with a G & T in hand that we were escorted to our seats by a very elderly and very sweet 'usherette' who to her credit did not seem unduly alarmed that her charges for the night were something of a far cry from the usual Puccini admirers that used the venue.

In this instance, being seated at a Stranglers gig did not seem to be such a problem, this being a one-off under such unusual circumstances.

In the row, Paul Cooklin, Adrian & Gunta
Buxton Opera House 16th February 2008
Quite clearly I have my suspicions regarding the photographer... must have been his dodgy shorts in such a cold February!
As I recall from the reviews that appeared in the following days on the Forum, for many in attendance, this gig was a lacklustre plod through a greatest hits set. I certainly do not recall in in those terms, the band were on form and the whole weekend was a real treat on a social, musical and dare I say it a cultural level.
It was also the occasion of one of the best responses to stage invader that I have ever seen. OK, so maybe Baz struck it lucky with the timing, but he came out with such a pearl, that the bass player struggled to hold it together to play for several minutes. Listen out during 'Duchess'!
Full artwork is here:

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