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

Sunday, 19 July 2015

The Damned The Square Harlow 8th February 1996

A recent post on Facebook outed me as a fan of The Damned! I hadn't seen this particular photograph before and it prompted me to post this low key gig.

I'd seen The Damned with Captain Sensible on their two reunion tours in '88 and '89 but those who went will recall that with Brian James on stage, the set was very much orientated in favour of the 'Damned Damned Damned' album before the then current line up back filled the set with more recent material.

At The Square in Harlow in February 1996, Captain Sensible was once again a permanent fixture to the right of Dave Vanian in this, a warm-up gig for the 'Smash It Up' punk all-dayer in Birmingham. In this line up, Sensible had guitar duties and none other than Paul Gray handled bass. The significance of this line up was that with the exception of the 1977 singles 'Neat Neat Neat' and 'New Rose' the set centred around the 'Machine Gun Etiquette', 'The Black Album' and 'Strawberries'  albums... The Damned's Unholy Trinity! Add to this the fact that The Square has a 250 capacity and you can understand that this gig was Manna from heaven to me. And all for a fiver!

I recall that Dave Vanian was uncharacteristically under dressed, if indeed anyone can be considered to be under dressed in shiny leather trousers. For this occasion he was sporting a red sweatshirt from The Damned's 'Final Gig' at the Rainbow 1978.... worth a few quid?

Dave Vanian dressed down at The Square
8th February 1996

Sensible in full flow

The one and only Paul Gray

Garrie Dreadful makes an escape attempt

The gig was a great success, unlike the main event in Birmingham a few days later when, if memory serves, The Damned's set was prematurely ended when some moron launched a missile that took out Paul Gray.



01. Intro
02. Love Song
03. Dozen Girls
04. Ignite
05. Plan 9 Channel 7
06. I Just Can’t Be Happy Today
07. Disco Man
08. Life Goes On

01. Neat Neat Neat
02. Curtain Call
03. Melody Lee
04. Looking At You
05. Noise Noise Noise
06. Smash It Up
07. New Rose
08. Dozen Girls

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