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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunday, 30 June 2013
The Rolling Stones at Glastonbury..... forget that. This is the ticket to have in 2013. It was a support slot with their name on it from the moment that Ruts DC got back together again.
It may be that these dates won't see a horse manure fight as happened in the heady days of '79 (Segs' natty suit would get ruined for a start), but I would hope to see some Sensible inspired shenanigans on this tour.
Now, where's my diary?
Mr & Mrs Owen Carne
Guildford 22nd June 2013
So for our particular circle of friends that's the matching business done, the hatching was completed some years ago, which just leaves the dispatching outstanding, but hopefully not for many years to come.
Adrian, Gunta, Rudi & Ramona xx
...... and the groom wore long trousers.... under duress!
Saturday, 29 June 2013
I thought that I had nearly everything that there is to have on the live front until I received this in a recent trade. Not sure when it appeared in circulation, but it's a real treat..... a high quality recording of one of their many appearances at the famous Roundhouse in London's Camden Town. I have no idea whether this is the early or late set.
I am sharing this in 256 kbps format in which it was received.
I hope that you enjoy this as much as I do.
01. (Get A) Grip (On Yourself)
03. I Feel Like A Wog
04. Dagenham Dave
05. Dead Ringer
08. No More Heroes
09. Hanging Around
10. Something Better Change
Here's a two track session recorde for BBC Radio Scotland as part of the band's promotional campaign to mark the release of the 'About Time' album.
01. Introduction02. Paradise Row
04. Golden Boy
Saturday, 8 June 2013
Here's for your listening pleasure are three demo tracks recorded by CCW (a.k.a. Cornwell, Cook and West) in late 1990. The first post Stranglers recordings from Hugh I would imagine. Thanks to Paul N.
01. Let It Fall
02. E O Eleven
03. Heaven And Hell
Thursday, 6 June 2013
The cab booked to take us to Heathrow arrived on time at 4.45 on Sunday morning, but this was an early start not to be begrudged. The time had arrived to make the journey to New York to see the band on their long awaited East coast tour.
With security behind us all that remained ahead of boarding was a holiday drink in one of the Terminal 5 bars.... a large pinot grigio for me to steady the flying nerves (actually I don't get them but it serves as a good excuse!) and a large vodka and coke for Gunta.
On board, things didn't get off to the greatest of starts as sitting in the four seats directly in front of us were the worst behaved quartet of children I have come across in a long time. Their parents had inexplicably chosen to sit elsewhere in the plane actually in the front part of the same cabin. Over the course of the next 3 hours much heated discussion ensued with both the brats and parents of the brats. In the end we had the stewards (who by this time were also hacked off with the many demands of theses arrogant children) intervene and here our luck changed. One steward got quite exited on spying my Stranglers shirt, declaring himself to be a big fan. We duly explained that this was in fact the reason for our journey and we were seeing the band in New York to mark our wedding anniversary.... he said he's see what he could do. First several drinks arrived (ahead of the normal service) to calm our frayed nerves. Then he relocated us in a higher class cabin before supplying more wine and glasses of champagne for the anniversary. What a nice man! And so it was that we arrived at JFK a little unsteady but relatively relaxed.
A look at the free subway paper featured the band's appearance on the morning of the gig.
Metro New York
3rd June 2013
However, the front page of the same paper lazy journalism promised something unlikely to be delivered!!
Skip now to 4 pm on Monday and we are in the 'meat-packing' district down by Chelsea Pier, The Highline Ballroom is very close to the renovated Highline Park, on what was an elevated section of the New York Central Railroad. This section has been converted into an urban park area with a railway theme.... very pleasant it was too. As for the venue itself, for certain it doesn't like to announce itself. There is nothing to announce the existence of a venue, the only clue to its identity was the address number '431' chalked onto the black door, to find the place I had to crib the address from a local newsagent by flicking through a copy of 'Time Out'. Having established the location of the venue it was time to visit a couple of bars. In one bar we met and started chatting to a couple of guys from the Bronx who had been seeing the band whenever they rolled trough New York for many years (Cheers Ed and Larry!).
Got there a day to late to see the All Girls All Zeppelin combo that went by the name of 'Lez Zeppelin'!
The stage area in the venue was entered via a set of stairs at the top of which was an electronic bill board (the type favoured in a lot of venues these days) that was advertising tonight's gig alongside a date by a Hugh Cornwell (albeit separated by 6 months). The interior of the club was promising, it being dark and dingy, but like many US venues, padded sofa booths and tables were placed quite near to the front of the stage. As you can see from the Highline flyer, punters are encouraged to 'Arrive early, Eat Dinner & Get The Best Seats'..... as if.....MADNESS!
The support was competent but with the excessive use of a lap steel-string they were far too C&W for me! The good thing was that the change in support arrangements meant an earlier start for The Stranglers so that the first bars of 'Waltzinblack' were heard at 9 o'clock.
The set thankfully did not overly bend to the expectations of the audience save for the reintroduction of 'Time Was Once On My Side' (actually I was expecting the new album to be better represented). Baz was on great form and seemed to take up from where Hugh left of in terms of winding up his American audience. On encouraging some applause for the support act, he singled out a non-clapping individual up on the low level balcony with words along the lines of 'Why aren't you clapping.... look at you too cool to clap like some actor whose name I can't remember!' This chap looked none too pleased at the put down. Moreover, Baz it appears had been watching 'Taxi Driver' on a loop as he did his level best to sound like Travis Bickle!
Pleasingly, the presence of the small travelling British contingent was acknowledged (about a dozen I suppose). The band themselves were clearly loving the opportunity to play once again to an appreciative New York audience and this was reflected in their performance..... tight and very energetic... Baz in particular.
I filmed several songs from the front of the stage so you can see for yourselves..... don't just take my word for it.
After the show, we once again bumped into the aforementioned Larry and Ed, who were now joined by Mike (an ex-NYPD bee expert!) and Ann Marie and all four loved the show! Ed in particular it seems who in toasting his fortune at being there had lost the ability to articulate by the end!
And so that was it, our 1 date tour had come to an end and so after wishing our compatriots a safe passage to Boston, we stepped back out into a humid and sticky New York night and limped back up to the subway.
It was a long way to go....
It cost a fortune.....
But its up there as one of the best of the many that I have seen, so no complaints.
Oh and a special thanks goes to Baz and Owen. Cheers guys.
Saturday, 1 June 2013
This one is dedicated to those who saw the band in Toronto last night (32 years and a day after this gig). This is also for the poor sods who lost out in the Detroit Visagate affair (a very poor substitute though it is).
02. The Raven
03. Toiler On The Sea
04. Just Like Nothing On Earth
05. Thrown Away
06. Who Wants The World?
07. Baroque Bordello
08. Second Coming
09. The Meninblack
10. Shah Shah A Go Go
02. Hallow To Our Men
04. Nuclear Device
06. Bring On The Nubiles
07. Hanging Around
08. Down In The Sewer
Brixton, 7.30 pm on a Tuesday evening. The Specials are back in town, but I do not feel anywhere near how I felt about the prospect of seeing them as I did back in 2009. The difference is that we are now down to 5 of the band and I anticipate a large Neville shaped hole in tonight's proceedings. This is something that Gunta and I muse over with a couple of pints in the wonderful Trinity pub before heading up to the Academy.
Despite my misgivings about tonight, it doesn't seem to be the case for everyone. The mood is good as we join the queue that trails the length of the building. As we stand in line, a window opens above our heads and a trumpet appears to deliver the start of 'Long Shot (Kick De Bucket)' to an appreciative queue.
Inside the venue, it's geezer central with the bar the most popular place to be. This is one of the rarest of occasions when the queue for the gents is five times longer than that for the ladies.... I suspect lager is to blame!
Don't see any support as we take up our usual stage left position (quite near the front) about 10 minutes before The Specials are due to take the stage..... and then they are here, opening with 'Concrete Jungle'.....
It is true that they are missing Neville. Lynval does his level best, but despite this without Nev the songs lose a bit of depth. But.... but... don't get me wrong here. The Specials are pulling this off. Consummate professionals that they are I get the impression that each of the depleted line up steps up a gear to ensure that that gap is amply filled.
Horace tracks back and forth from the drum riser to the front of the stage like some demented relay runner....
Terry is on fine form getting a few things off his chest ('Luis Saurez, what the fuck's that all about!?', 'EDL, what the fuck's that all about!?', 'Stuart Hall......'
Lynval is just Lynval, fully engaged with his audience and loving every minute of it ('Will someone wrap him up and take him home!' quips El Tel).
.... and above it all Brad sits high on his kit orchestrating the spectacle like a battlefield general (no not that General!)
At last 'Why?' appears in the set ('Don't need no British Movement/Or the EDL!') which runs into 'It Doesn't Make It Alright', a powerful reposte to the disgraceful events of the previous week.
'International Jet Set' and 'Nite Klub' are stupendous. 'Maggie's Farm' gets an outing neatly summing up for many what this band stood for.
With 'Enjoy Yourself' and 'You're Wondering Now' The Specials leave the stage.....
'Why?' & 'It Doesn't Make It Alright'
Brixton Academy 28th May 2013
..... will The Specials return to the stage? Who knows. What I do know is that The Specials owe me nothing. In the unexpected turn of events that brought them (nearly) all back together in 2009, they have played some of the most memorable and enjoyable gigs that I have been to and I can't ask for more than that.
Tickets to see The Beat could come with a written guarantee of satisfaction in my book. 'You will leave this gig wearing a smile!'
Maybe it's related to that fact that all of the 2 tone vanguard coming out of Birmingham and Coventry at a time when British industry was being hammered, none more so that the car industry, always gave 100% to their audience in recognition of the fact that when money's tight the show must be special.
Then there is the band's consistent message of Peace, Love and Unity, three commodities that are in short supply right now as the insane actions of two deluded men have once again fuelled the fires of racial intolerance (although those fires are thankfully smouldering rather than burning out of control atthis point in time).
Take a look at a typical Beat set list and you realise just how hit heavy they were in the day. 'Tears Of A Clown', 'Hands Off She's Mine', 'Mirror In The Bathroom' and the beautiful 'Save It For Later' are all present and correct tonight.
Saffron Walden Town Hall does not see many gigs, this being only my second.... the first was to see my son, Rudi, play bass in first rock school with Iron Maiden's Dennis Stratton!
They would do well to put on a few more bands here as the venue is good. A proper bar wouldn't go amiss though!
Here's a recording of 4 tracks from the show (consider it as an e.p.!).
01. Too Nice To Talk To
02. Hands Off She's Mine
03. Big Shot
04. Get A Job
'Big Shot' & 'Get A Job'
Saffron Walden Town Hall
25th May 2013