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 adrianandrews1@sky.com.


Tuesday, 23 April 2019

A Brief Encounter With Punk Aristocracy


In a desperate attempt to avoid work for one day longer than most, Gunta and I arranged to do another of the amazing guided tours around London that are offered by the London Walks Company. On this occasion we chose to learn more about some of history and mystery of the London Underground. Two hours of enlightenment (even for us ex-London residents) passed in a flash, but lets face it exercise leads inevitably to a hostelry and so it was that we found ourselves in The French House in Soho's Dean Street. The pub is wonderful, a proper bastion of all that was and is wonderful about old Soho. I say last bastion as much of Soho has, in my opinion, been battered to hell by the Crossrail project.... so the continuation of these old establishments, be they pubs, restaurants or tailors is something to be celebrated.

So into The French House we ventured only to find ourselves positioned at the bar next to Edward Tudor-Pole. Having been at the Vive Le Rock awards last month over which Mr T-P officiated we engaged in conversation. It being the 23rd April, the Patron Saint's Day, the ethnicity of St. George was discussed amongst this select clutch of Tuesday afternoon drinkers. Be he Turkish, Syrian or whatever, I suggested that Ed should at least mark the occasion by wearing his crest and at least a token piece of armour, a breast plate or something. Next year Ed! 

The Specials Review From The Metro - The Dome Brighton 17th April 2019


Whilst my love of The Specials is well known to any visitors of this site I have struggled over the past few years with the band's determination to continue in the face of the fact that the band look less like The Specials than ever before. And in this I mean no disrespect.... less face it The Stranglers, The Damned and SLF can boast but two original members and The Specials retain three. Nevertheless, with the loss of Neville, Roddy and sadly Brad, the sound of the band changed inevitably. And this is what we have here with The Specials as they are now. With 'Encore' you have a highly accomplished album with some really good tracks on it. It is The Specials it but doesn't necessarily sound like them on half of the album.... and that's fine and justified by the passage of 39 years since 'More Specials'... so why on Earth would anyone expect it to sound the same!

Back in '79 The Specials tackled intolerance which they continue to do all be it in a more reflective and mature manner that comes with being 40 years older!

God bless 'em!!


Monday, 22 April 2019

Montpellier 22nd April 1985


On this day in 1985, The Stranglers continued to grind their way across the Continent bringing Aural enlightenment to the people of Europe. Here they are in Montpellier.

FLAC: https://we.tl/t-9HR5yQ5nDt

Artwork: https://we.tl/t-zwe2vFGS3i

01. Intro
02. Something Better Change
03. Uptown
04. Dead Ringer
05. No Mercy
06. Souls
07. Nice 'N' Sleazy
08. Skin Deep
09. Let Me Down Easy
10. Midnight Summer Dream
11. Golden Brown

01. Strange Little Girl
02. Peaches
03. Death And Night And Blood
04. Threatened
05. Punch And Judy
06. Hanging Around/I Feel Like A Wog
07. Down In The Sewer
08. Nubiles (Cocktail Version)
09. Toiler On The Sea

Sunday, 21 April 2019

Back on The Tracks?....


Now that the tour is done and dusted are there any kindly folk willing to share credited recordings for inclusion on this humble site?

Cheers,

Adrian.

RESTORED LINK - Ole Man Rivers New Orleans 20th April 1981


A new link can be found here.

The Specials Brixton Academy London May 2009



...... and then it happened. Boom! Following on from their appearance on the Isle of Wight a full tour was announced. I'm sure that my experience of near panic on the day of ticket release was shared by thousands. Indeed, the entire tour sold out in minutes but I managed to get tickets for three or four dates. Come the day they actually got to play (the first London date was cancelled due to Terry Hall suffering from throat problems) I was shaking with anticipation as the house light were dropped. Brad's thunderous drum intro to 'Do The Dog' coincided with the dropping of a screen to reveal The Specials on stage. The moment was captured on what has to be the greatest cover CD freebie ever released.

FLAC: https://we.tl/t-CVVVXPUAOz

Respect to all those involved in the making of 2 Tone, long may it continue!


Neville Staple Shepherds Bush Empire London 5th April 2008


By 2008 things were stirring in the 2 Tone world as the flyer above would suggest. Here you had the leading lights of the scene coming together in a celebration of the achievements of 2 Tone. It seemed as though things were becoming increasingly black and white once more.

FLAC: https://we.tl/t-J8uentZYuR

Artwork: https://we.tl/t-WiNoqFeRq5

01. Intro
02. Man At C&A
03. Little Bitch
04. Simmer Down
05. Sammy Dead
06. A Message To You Rudy
07. Call Me Names
08. Gangsters
09. Guns Of Navarone
10. It Doesn't Make It Alright
11. Rat Race
12. Do The Dog
13. On My Radio
14. Pressure Drop
15. Monkey Man
16. Ghost Town
17. Nite Klub

The Specials Gino Stockholm 2nd March 1995


The Specials were back in 1995 with a band centered around a core of Neville, Horace and Roddy. I saw them at The Mean Fiddler in North London at the time. As I recall vocal duties were shared between Neville and Roddy. Whilst it was great to hear the early songs again and see those musicians performing together again, the project lacked an edge and Today's Specials were largely ignored and soon became yesterday's news.

FLAC: https://we.tl/t-vb51fzNIx3

01. Guns Of Navarone
02. (Dawning of A) New Era
03. Rat Race
04. It's Up to You
05. Man at C & A
06. Pressure Drop
07. Message to You Rudy
08. Too Much Too Young
09. Concrete Jungle
10. Gangsters
11. Monkey Man
12. Nite Klub
13. Ghost Town

Saturday, 20 April 2019

Madness Markthalle Hamburg 29th November 1981

By far the most commercially successful, not to mention chart friendly band of the 2 Tone crop were Madness. Like The Beat, The Nutty Boys association with the label was short lived... just one single 'The Prince', but regardless they are forever associated with the 2 Tone movement.

Of the bands who appeared early on the label, Madness stood out as the only non multi racial group which stood them in line for criticism from certain quarters. The single that they did put out on 2 Tone is a perfect piece of pop that still features in their set today. As mentioned in the introduction the original incarnation of the band lost their way and parted company in the mid-80's. However, in 1992 they came back with a high profile 'Madstock' festival in London's Finsbury Park. Since then they have experienced some personnel changes but have continued to tour and release new music (which is of a very high standard and well worth hunting down).




01. Embarrassment
02. Sign Of The Times
03. Close Escape
04. Day On The Town
05. Bed & Breakfast Man
06. Disappear
07. Pac-A-Mac
08. When Dawn Arrives
09. My Girl
10. Cardiac Arrest
11. Promises Promises
12. Take It Or Leave It
13. Shut Up
14. Tommorrow's Dream
15. Mrs Hutchinson
16. Baggy Trousers
17. Missing You
18. Madness
19. Grey Day
20. Rockin' In Ab
21. It Must Be Love
22. The Prince
23. One Step Beyond



The Selecter Minneapolis 8th May 1980


The Selecter were the second reason why the two colours of 2 Tone were firmly nailed to the Coventry mast. Indeed, their first song, the instrumental 'The Selecter' provided the flip to The Special A.K.A.'s 'Gangsters'. Splitting the first release on the fledgling label between the two local bands perhaps unwittingly (that is of course if Jerry Dammers did anything unwittingly) created the notion of a scene right from the off.

The initial hand printed pressing of 'Gangsters' b/w 'The Selecter'

The male musicians in the band were veterans of various soul bands that would play the Coventry club circuit whilst Pauline Black, originally from Romford in East London had studied at Lanchester Polytechnic (The Lanch, a building with strong connections to 2 Tone in its own right) and was working in Coventry as a radiologist at the point of the band's inception. In Pauline, 2 Tone gained female focus in what was originally a male dominated scene (at least until the Bodysnatchers turned up!)

They had some great songs, Three Minute Hero', 'Missing Words' etc which then, as now, were delivered with an incredible energy. The set below reflects the first album 'Too Much Pressure' which was followed in February 1981 by the darker 'Celebrate The Bullet', but the public appeared to just want more of the same and the album bombed commercially. The fact that the release of the title track as a single coincided with an assassination attempt that US President, Ronald Reagan, narrowly survived did nothing to boost album sales. The Selecter fell apart not too long afterwards.

Pauline continued to record and play with a variety of musicians under The Selecter banner throughout the 1990's. However, in 2010, a second original member, vocalist Arthur “Gaps” Hendrickson rejoined on a permanent basis which gave the band a new impetus. Since his return The Selecter have gone from strength to strength both on stage (playing large venues worldwide) and in the studio.

Pauline and Gaps today.

FLAC: https://we.tl/t-y9Th8beRY2

01. Out On The Streets
02. Time Hard
03. Three Minute Hero
04. Street Feeling
05. Black & Blue
06. The Selecter
07. Missing Words
08. Murder
09. They Make Me Mad
10. Carry Go Bring Come
11. Live Injection
12. Too Much Pressure
13. On My Radio
14. Train To Skaville
15. James Bond
16. My Collie (Not A Dog)
17. Madness


The Specials The Grove Oakville Canada 23rd August 1981



August 1981 saw The Specials providing support slots to The Police in what were to be the last few gigs of the original line up These would have been big gigs for the band since at that time, The Police were one of the biggest band’s in the world and being much taken to the hearts of American audiences this would have been a big one. History has been a little unkind to The Police (unlike their accountants), as purveyors of some form of reggae, they were far removed from the 2 Tone, they were however, highly supportive of those bands. Both The Specials and The Beat toured with the band. Moreover, Sting was quite often to be seen in a cut down Beat T-shirt.

Moving on to the music then. The band’s live set had changed significantly in 2 years of almost continuous touring. Throughout 1979 and 1980 the band delivered precision ska at a furious pace, but by the summer of 1981 much of the high tempo material had been replaced by the much more introspective material that was lifted off their follow-up ‘More Specials’ album, released in October of 1980. From the reworking of ‘Enjoy Yourself (It’s Later Than You Think), a song originally a hit in the late 1940’s to the ode to the drudgery of global touring in ‘International Jet Set’. The material was much darker with songs such as ‘Why?’ an open letter to the far right in response to a near successful attempt on Lynval’s life and ‘The Boiler’, a harrowing collaboration with Rhoda Dakar of The Bodysnatchers that describes the horror of rape (the song was set to be banned by the BBC).

As I said, very different, but one of my favourite Specials live recording.


FLAC: https://we.tl/t-vqMdqyEJS7

Artwork: https://we.tl/t-8CgzyYiPBw

01. Concrete Jungle
02. Sock It To ‘Em JB
03. Rat Race
04. Why?
05. The Boiler
06. Friday Night, Saturday Morning
07. Chang Kai Shek
08. International Jet Set
09. Man At C&A
10. Nite Klub
11. Enjoy Yourself
12. Ghost Town
13. Man At C&A (Unknown Live Source)
14. Do Nothing  (Unknown Live Source)

Friday, 19 April 2019

The Beat Hammersmith Odeon London 1980



Following on from Roger's obituary piece, it is fitting that a recording of his band leads the 2 Tone charge.

This appears to be a radio broadcast from London's Hammersmith Odeon. The exact date is unknown, however, the majority of the material is from the first album 'I Just Can't Stop It', although a couple of songs that appear on the follow up 'Wha'ppen' are played here, namely 'Walk Away' and 'Doors to Your Heart'. Interestingly, the song 'Jeanette' did not make a vinyl release until 1982's offering 'Special Beat Service'.

Such is the quality of The Beat's output that, at least in my opinion, the music has really stood the test of time and belies the fact that the majority of these songs were unleashed upon the record buying public 39 years ago! Sadly, some of the subject matter is still very relevant today, poor employment opportunities ('Get-a-Job'), mental health issues ('Mirror in the Bathroom') and...... 'Stand Down Theresa' anyone?

FLAC:  https://we.tl/t-pEO8MMi2fC

01. Walk Away
02. Jeanette
03. Big Shot
04. Tears Of A Clown
05. Twist & Crawl
06. Ranking Full Stop
07. Mirror In The Bathroom
08. Doors Of Your Heart
09. Hands Off...She's Mine
10. Get A Job
11. Stand Down Margaret
12. Too Nice Too Talk Too

Monday, 15 April 2019

The Last Word BBC Radio 4 - Ranking Roger Obituary March 2019


BBC Radio 4's regular obituary slot featured Pauline Black talking about life with Ranking Roger, here.

2 Tone at 40!



A couple of months ago I had the aim of posting a clutch of 2 Tone material on the site. Well, as often is the case, other priorities cropped up and it didn't happen. So this is attempt number two and a 2 Tone themed week.

The Specials played at the Moonlight Club, a small pub venue in North London's West Hampsted, on 2nd May 1979. They were on stage just ten or so hours before the polls opened nationally in a General Election that would change the face of Britain for ever. Opening the set, the ever deadpan lead singer, Terry Hall, said 'I haven't got much to say, it's the eve of the election and it's 'Up to You'. By the end of the following day Margaret Thatcher's Conservative Party swept into power with a new brand of politics that would polarise the country over the new decade.

For me, 1979 marks the pinnacle of British popular music.... even the shite was good in someways! But it wasn't always easy to like the music you liked, left leaning bands attracted elements of the far right hell bent on violence and disruption. Multiculturalism brought to these shores throughout the '50's and '60's by the Windrush generation followed by an influx of Bangladeshi migration in the '70's, was not welcomed by all. The National Front had a popularity in the late '70's that has never been bettered by any far right group since. The British Movement, like The Specials, also headquartered in Coventry, were also on the scene. Both of these organisations knew that the life blood of their groups were young people. Both the NF and BM sought to recruit disaffected white, working class youth into its ranks. In order to do this they targeted those places where such individuals could be regularly found, on the football terraces and in gig venues. A good radio documentary 'Too Much Fighting on the Dance Floor', which describes the problems in music at the time, can be found here.

The music of 2 Tone melded the rhythmic tempo of Bluebeat ska with the urgency of punk to create something unique. I remember that in the class room, colour was abandoned as half the class adopted monochrome. The familiar images of Walt Jabsco and the Madness pork-pied 'M' were seemingly ubiquitous on school bags and exercise books! However, for those a bit older, who were of an age where they could see their 'Three minutes heroes' live, there was a danger in the gigs. Whilst the 2 Tone sound had an obvious appeal for reggae loving skinheads it also attracted right wing skinheads for whom the sight of black and white musicians sharing the same stage was an affront that invariably lead to violence. Many of the songs from the 2 Tone songbook addressed this situation head on, 'It Doesn't Make It Alright', 'Concrete Jungle' and 'Why?' by The Specials and 'Two Swords' by The Beat being good examples. The two aforementioned bands were the most overtly political bands having a 2 Tone affiliation, whilst some of the other bands were less upfront with the political message. Nevertheless, all of those bands were making a political statement simply by existing and spreading a message into the bedrooms of teenagers from Inverness to Ilford that peace, love and unity was not a pipe dream.



The 2 Tone flame burned with the intensity of magnesium ribbon, but like magnesium the brightness was short lived. The personalty differences within The Specials lead to an acrimony that on the one hand produced such brilliant music but meant that on the other hand their existence was also likely to be short lived. They split in the summer of 1981 but not before their crowning glory, 'Ghost Town'. Whilst it's iconic video was filmed in the deserted streets of a dawn morning in London, the song was a metaphor for all of those UK cities that were starting to feel the iron bite of that new politics, now known to all by the name of 'Thatcherism'. Unemployment rose as centuries old industries locked the factory gates for the last time. At the same time, race relations were at an all time low and in a scenario that could have come from the pen of JG Ballard, in the week that the bands last single reached No. 1 (June 1981) the inner cities of London, Bristol and Liverpool exploded as the country witnessed the worst riots for many decades.

So The Specials were no more, Lynval, Neville and Terry went off to form The Fun Boy 3, The Selecter soldiered on for some time in the face of diminishing record sales before throwing in the towel. The Beat fragmented sometime afterwards into General Public and The Fine Young Cannibals
(who enjoyed considerable commercial success) and the Bodysnatchers with some personnel changes emerged as The Belle Stars. As record company executives foisted on the record buying public a sanitised, apolitical and frankly lightweight musical diet that fitted the new mood in Britain, only Madness (always something of a 2 Tone outsider) seemed to weather the storm with their greater pop sensibilities augmented by those Nutty Boy videos..... but even they succumbed by the middle of the '80s.

There was one more notable coup that the General, Jerry Damners masterminded when he wrote 'Free Nelson Mandela' in 1984. Mandela was still imprisoned in South Africa and this was an effort to return the spotlight on his plight. Whilst not a huge hit (reaching number 9 in the UK charts) the impact of the song was very far reaching indeed. The song and Jerry were pivotal to the organisation of a huge benefit gig to mark Mandela's 70th birthday in 1988. The campaign for his release gained an unstoppable momentum that resulted in his eventual release two years later. As one of the last releases on 2 Tone Records the recording reunited many of the leading lights of the 2 Tone movement such as Elvis Costello (producer of the first album as well as a short lived artist on the labels roster), Rhoda Dakar, Brad, Lynval, Dick Cuthell, Dave Wakeling and Ranking Roger all appeared.


In time, even those bands that had spun off from the '79 originals petered out leaving the avid fan with nothing other than the records and the memories. That was the situation until the early '90's when some f those original musicians put together something of a 2 Tone co-operative that went by the name of Special Beat. Comprising, yes you guessed it, ex-members of The Specials and The Beat, their shows were some of the best that I have ever been to in nearly 40 years of gig-going. The energy, the heat and the sweat in those small venues was something to behold. But even more extraordinary was the reaction of the audiences, in raptures at hearing those songs again! Extensive touring by Special Beat demonstrated quite clearly that there was still a huge appetite for those 2 Tone classics.

Periodically, throughout the '90's and the first years of the 2000's various members of The Specials re-ventured into the studio and released new material, but with the exception of 'Guilty 'Til Proved Innocent!' the recordings were lackluster and failed to propel the band back into the public's view.

It was not until 2008 that fans began to think the unthinkable. In the summer of 2008. Terry Hall and Lynval Golding shared the 100 Club stage in London under the moniker of Terry Hall & Friends. Perhaps more importantly, Terry appeared to be comfortable once more with his early back-catalogue as the band played four Specials songs on the night. The road to reconciliation led to the 2009 Isle of Wight Festival which saw six sevenths of the original band performing together for the first time since 1981. Whilst it was disappointing that the main architect, in the form of Jerry Dammers, was not with them, for fans such as myself who were too young to see them live first time around, this was good enough.

The band's first dates on the tour that followed are the best gigs that I have ever witnessed (even over the best performances of The Stranglers - and there have been many).

The Specials at Brixton Academy 2009.

Live success in the UK lead to tours further afield, notably the US and Australia. But with the pressures of touring upon them once more, the rankles and personality clashes that existed within the band seemingly resurfaced and trouble ensued. Whilst The Specials have continued to tour, the current line up has only Terry, Lynval and Horace as the original members. Nevertheless, upon the release last year of a new album, 'Encore' they clocked up their first No. 1 album! Fair play to them!

The Specials 2019.

If you care to download the gigs that will follow during the week, you will understand the power of the music and message of 2 Tone which together if the reason why we are this year celebrating the Ruby anniversary of the label and the bands behind the label.

'Enjoy yourself, it's later than you think'.

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Vive Le Rock Awards O2 Academy Islington London 27th March 2019


I have been a subscriber to this worthy magazine since it first appeared on the newstands, what nine years ago now. Whilst Mojo gave a token nod periodically to a proportion of its readership who retain an interest in alternative forms of music mainly stemming from the late '70's, Vive Le Rock is full on when it comes to each of those left field genres. And the articles are written in such an articulate manner that quite rightly makes the assumption that the audience are not completely green about the subject matter, be it a band or a genre and is therefore able to pitch the writing just right so that even the obsessive fan of a band can learn something new from the features. It is quality material and as you can see I rate it very highly as something you should invest in.... and by the way I am not in their pay!

27th March marked our son Rudi's 21st birthday, so in what better was to celebrate it than to drag him to see a load of 40 year old bands! On arrival in Islington we discovered that a previous preferred eatery close to The Screen On The Green had seemingly recently closed down and so we crossed over to Pizza Express for a food and a few celebratory drinks. Steve Grantley and Kirk Brandon sat opposite.... I wonder where they were headed to?

At the venue, approaching the queue our 17 year old daughter, Ramona (Mo) a young punk acolyte for whose musical taste I am honestly only partially responsible was in punk pig heaven. At three o'clock to her sat Glen Matlock outside a cafe (as she exclaimed his name he declared 'I'm 'avin' me dinner' ...... fair point, even Sex Pistols can get indigestion!) At one o'clock a beaming Rat Scabies approached Animal for a hearty greeting. Poor lass she did not now where to look next.

'I smell a Rat!'
(Mo meets Rat Scabies in Islington)

Within the venue, the atmosphere was friendly and relaxed. This was a celebration of our music with the very people who made it. I get the feeling at gigs these days and certainly on that night that to be doing this in 2019 was nobody's expectation, but what we did was fantastic, so what the hell let's rejoice in it!

The evening's entertainment was opened by a handful of numbers by the 'Vive Le Rockers' house band comprising Ruffy (Ruts DC) on drums, Paul-Ronney Angel (The Urban Voodoo Machine) on guitar and Tom Spencer (The Professionals) also on guitar. Here my apologies go out to the bass player, the keyboard player, the trumpeter and saxophonist, as I do not know their names.

Shortly, Glen Matlock was welcomed to the stage to perform two numbers from his current album, 'Sexy Beast' and the new single' Keep On Pushing'. The third song was the inevitable, but most welcome for all tha,t powerhouse punk anthem, 'Pretty Vacant'. On this his 21st birthday, son Rudi said that he was thrilled to see a Sex Pistol performing live.

With the last chords of 'Vacant' still reverberating in the room it was time for the first award. First up was the Pioneer award for Eddie & The Hot Rods frontman Barrie Masters. He and his band in collusion with a handful of London boozers laid out the blueprint for what became the UK punk scene. As a big name on the so called ‘Pub Rock’ circuit the Rods took their music back to earlier R&B roots, best played in sweaty and smoke filled pubs and in doing so they reinjected excitement and an element of danger back into the live music scene. Sadly, they, along with other bands of their ilk such as Dr Feelgood, were rather victims of their own success as the bands that they had had a hand in coalescing subsequently bulldozed everything that came before them! It was the drummer of one of those bands who made the presentation, no less a figure than Rat Scabies. Mr Masters was chuffed with his award and rather lost for words, although that may have been due to the fact that he was in a pub across the road not 5 minutes before the presentation was due to be made (as a reliable source informed me!).

Barrie performed later on with the house band, The Rods’ cover of Bob Seger’s ‘Get Out Of Denver’ and of course the early punk anthem of ‘Do Anything You Wanna Do’.


Barrie Masters of Eddie & The Hot Rods with his VLR Pioneer Award.

There then followed a really hard part of the procedings. One of the categories for which a presentation is made is in the genres of 'Roots: Ska, Rock 'n' Roll and Blues'. This year the recipient of the award was to have been The Beat and Ranking Roger. Tragically, all in the room had learned only 24 hours previously that Roger had lost his battle to cancer the day before the awards. Neville Staple and his wife Sugary Staple came onto the stage (they were originally due to make the presentation to Roger on this night). Sugary spoke as she explained that Neville, who referred to Roger as his Little Brother, was emotionally too cut up to speak at that point.... 'Even Rude Boys cry' she said. The Selecter's Pauline Black came on to accept the award on behalf of the band and Roger. She said what a loss it was to lose another member of the 2 Tone family, currently embarking on 40th anniversary activities. Gunta was in bits and I have to admit to some tears as the good people under the Academy roof cheered and raised many a plastic pint pot to Roger.

Neville and Sugary Staple with Ranking Roger's Award

Pauline Black accepts Roger's Award

Just as the beer seal blew a gasket the point of the evening that I was most looking forward to occured. To mark the passing late last year of yet another inspirational musician and arguably one of the best British song writers since Lennon and McCartney, fellow Buzzcock and Penetration's Pauline Murray took the stage for a tribute to a man that they both had a long live and recording history with. Before the noise began however, Pauline stepped up the lectern and donned her specs to say a few words about Pete in her soft County Durham accent. 

Pauline Murray spoke fondly of Pete.

With the formality done Steve plugged in for the first song with Pauline taking on the vocal duties. Here I had fully expected to hear 'Nostalgia' covered by Penetration themselves brilliantly on their first album. But what we got was a great version of 'What Do I Get'. No complaints here.


'What Do I Get' at the Vive Le Rock Awards 2019
(O2 Academy Islington 27th March 2019).

Prior to the night there was talk of a mystery 1977 band that were to take to the stage again on the night. Speculation followed as to who it would be. The Adverts I heard (now that would be highly unlikely!) and The Models…….. but no it was neither of those. Glen Matlock was already in the house so all that was required was to add Midge Ure and Rusty Egan into the mix and Hey Presto!..... The Rich Kids! They were supplemented for the night by Neal X filling in for the departed Steve New. So what did we get…. ‘Marching Men’, the anthemic ‘Ghosts of Princes in Towers’ and, well of course, ‘Rich Kids’. Short and sweet but never mind, I can now say that I have seen The Rich Kids!

The Rich Kids

In no particular order, what next? Ah yes, the ‘Maverick’ award and Mo and I, if not Gunta, were thrilled to see Jaz Coleman on the stage to accept the award on behalf of Killing Joke. My first encounter with Killing Joke was relatively late, in the summer of 1984. I had a recording of the first album and that became the background noise for my mock ‘O’ Level revision…..looking back now I can only wonder how it is possible to revise to Killing Joke, but that’s what I did. Then as now, no one sounds like them in whatever direction that their music has taken then and in that they have never shied away from experimentation. That is the reason why at times, some of their output has been inconsistent (in fairness show me a band with such longevity where that is not the case) and that is fine, move on. The fact remains that when it does come together for Killing Joke they are truly remarkable!

Jaz 'The Maverick' Coleman

Mo was very happy to see Eddie and Knox from The Vibrators pick up the award for the best reissue of the year 'Burning Britain: A Story of Independent UK Punk 1980-1983' on which the band appear. Animal of the Anti-Nowhere League handed over the gong.

Eddie and Knox

The appearance of Animal caused some amusement when some wag yelled out 'Noel Edmunds!' There is a similarity although as Animal pointed out 'Noel Edmunds is a fucking dwarf!'.

Animal berates his heckler as host Ed Tudor-Pole looks on.

Ed got his chance close to the conclusion of the evening's entertainment to shout into the mike a bit..... 'Who Killed Bambi' and 'Swords of a Thousand Men'. For these songs, Ruffy was replaced on the drum stool by Nicky Forbes a.k.a. Rocky Rhythm, with whom I had a nice chat afterwards about his days with The Revillos.

'Over the Hill with the Swords of a Thousand Men!'

And so we got to the culmination of a fantastic evening. The Stranglers were up for the accolade of the Band of the Year and as such grabbed the honour of closing the night's entertainment. The award was presented to JJ by Segs and Ruffy of Ruts DC. On accepting the award JJ remarked that 'the bad guys, NME and MM, have gone and that just leaves the good guys.... Vive Le Rock'.

Here they are with (Get A) Grip (On Yourself).

(Get A) Grip (On Yourself)
Islington O2 Academy 27th March 2019.




On the way out we bumped into Animal. I told him rather drunkenly that for a 13 year old at the time 'We Are The League' was a revelation (that has seen it in my top 20 albums ever since). He posed for a photo with Mo, after which I told him 'Now fucking sling your hook!'.... I think that it was the beer talking!

Mo, Animal and me.

Thanks go to Eugene and the doubtless army of folk for putting the evening together, it was a blast!

Monday, 8 April 2019

Vive Le Rock Best Band of the Year 2019


The Stranglers were honored at this year's Vive Le Rock magazine awards last month in Islington. They feature on a special edition of the most essential music read.... get a copy! A review of the night will follow.

Sunday, 7 April 2019

Metropol Berlin 3rd April 1985


Something from the European leg of the Aural Sculpture tour, from before the wall came down here they are in sunny Berlin.

FLAC: https://we.tl/t-cKmzhmJVvT

Artwork: https://we.tl/t-HLj8M9AGwZ

01. Intro
02. Something Better Change
03. Uptown
04. Dead Ringer
05. No Mercy
06. Souls
07. Nice ’N’ Sleazy
08. Skin Deep
09. Let Me Down Easy
10. Midnight Summer Dream
11. European Female
12. Golden Brown

01. Strange Little Girl
02. Peaches
03. Death And Night And Blood
04. Threatened
05. Punch And Judy
06. Hanging Around
07. I Feel Like A Wog
08. Down In The Sewer
09. Nubiles (Cocktail Version)
10. The Raven