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

Tuesday 31 October 2017

1986 - Adrian Gets Into His Stride!

In March 1986 I turned 17. In this year my parents finally relented and I got to see my first bands in London. The first was Peter and The Test Tube Babies at the 100 Club, followed in quick succession by PiL at their troubled gig at the Brixton Academy. That was their 'homecoming' date on the 'Album' tour that was marred by spitting members of the audience plus a couple of attempted attacks on John Lydon.

In that year also, Anglo-Canadian hardcore outfit Toxic Reasons made a great impression on me when they payed a visit to the UK. I first saw them on a pub in Brighton on the Lewes Road called The Ship (venue at one time for the popular Sunday 'Strip at The Ship' or so said my Uncle Brian). We drove to the venue with a mate Matt who had only gained his full licence the previous week.... and it showed. We had a white knuckle ride down to Brighton and when we arrived the bouncer informed us that the gig had sold out but for a fee he would let in. Thus went half of the money that I had. The remainder of my meagre funds for the evening were exhausted after I inadvertently kicked over the pints of a gaggle of skins who were sitting on the floor in a dark corner of the venue. Best to placate these thirsty skinheads than save a fiver and risk a kicking!

The gig however was a triumph. Towards the end of the gig they were joined on stage by a scruffy looking blonde bloke with a guitar. 'Hey' I said to Matt, 'that looks like Captain Sensible with a wig on'. The band launched into 'New Rose'. It was indeed the good Captain himself.

So impressed were we with the band that a week later we travelled back to the 100 Club to see them again in the company of a gaggle of the Brighton punks. My memories of that particular gig are limited, but I do remember standing watching most of the gig shoulder to shoulder with John Peel. We exchanged brief pleasantries before refocusing on Toxic Reasons.

In the Summer of '86 I spent a weekend on the campus of the University of Sussex as part of an 'A' Level Physics revision course! On the Saturday myself and a mate called Rob walked into Brighton to see a great band that I followed at the time called The Four Guns who were playing a 10th anniversary of punk gig at the Escape Club in the centre of Brighton. After the best 'disco' I had ever heard in my life we walked back home arriving back on the campus with the rising sun.

The Four Guns Brighton 1986

The Damned at Finsbury Park followed within a week (my first opportunity to see them having missed them at the Top Rank the previous year).

In the autumn/winter I recall gigs at the brilliant Richmond Hotel, a dive of a venue (now a gastropub of some kind) where bands played upstairs amongst a setting of plastic palm trees! Anarcho-punk punk bands were regular visitors and it was here that I first saw Conflict (at the time that 'The Ungovernable Force' album was released). Equally memorable were a band called Antisect ('In Darkness There Is No Choice') who kicked up a great racket!

One night at The Richmond in '86 (although it could have been '85!) a band called Scream played. They were a Washington DC hardcore band. On the night one of their amps blew up so the band had to rush the cabinet still belching black smoke out of the venue. I chatted to the band afterwards on the pavement outside the venue as they came down from the gig with a spliff. I learned later that this was one of Dave Grohl's first bands, although he was still to join at the point when I saw them.

I realise that I joined the punk tribe late in the day, but even in the mid '80's there was still at lot going on. In the coming days I will share some '86 moments, some punk, some otherwise.

Adrian in 1986 on the debut and final gig of the Reluctant Virgins.


  1. Agreed. Always thought Toxic Reasons were a great band. Saw them around the same time at the Greystone in Detroit.

  2. Bearing in mind you didn't start in earnest until March 1986, the pic of you at the Reluctant Virgins later that same year seems to indicate that you didn't take too long to 'get into your stride'! You do, pleasingly, manage to achieve the not-always-possible task of still looking quite manly in your feminine undergarments.