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

Wednesday 4 December 2019

Hugh Cornwell at The Apex Bury St Edmunds 28th November 2019

Tuning Up
The Apex, Bury St Edmunds
28th November 2019

Hugh’s solo material post 1990 has for me at least been something of a hit and miss affair. Each album has one or two tracks of interest, but voice aside most of it is rather far removed from my musical focus. Hugh’s latest offering ‘Monster’ does however buck this trend. With very distinct and varied themes across its ten tracks it is a very accomplished album, one in which Hugh can rightly be very proud. Historical figures abound in this work, people worthy of respect and people instilling revulsion in the mind of the listener.

I am of an age where I have familiarity if most of the characters (except for Hugh’s mum!). Mussolini, Sergeant Bilko, Ray Harryhausen , Evel Knievel….. However, anyone under 40 may struggle with some of the names and may need to resort to the internet to figure out their stories. In much the same way I looked up characters and events that cropped up on Stranglers albums years ago (only the library was the internet of the day!).

Last Thursday in deepest, darkest Suffolk, Hugh played The Apex in Bury St Edmunds. A new venue for me and very impressive. With practiced precision we arrived minutes before Hugh’s stage time.

The set focus was understandably ‘Monster’ but he did visit ‘Beyond Elysian Fields’, ‘Hoover Dam’ and ‘Totem and Taboo’ material too. Highlight of the night for me was an instrumental version of ‘Irate Caterpillar’.

'Irate Caterpillar'

The first set was drawn to a close by the brilliant ‘Duce Coochie Man’, the best track from the new album and in many ways reminiscent of the ‘Nosferatu’ style.

'The Mighty Sevens' & 'Duce Choochie Man'

Of course, the second set was wonderful, vocals are so evocative and with no disrespect to the vocalists who have filled his shoes since 1991, it is Hugh’s vocal chords that own many of The Stranglers’ songs and for that reason alone those songs are a joy to hear from him.

'Straighten Out'

However, Hugh seemed to have a problem throughout the gig which saw him on several occasions cross the stage to consult with a young lad. Was it the sound coming back through the monitors? There seemed to be no indication of instrument problems either. It was not before the last two songs of the night that the reason for Hugh’s dissatisfaction became apparent, it was the aggressive air conditioning above the stage.

As a result, a chilled Hugh finished the set only to appear a few minutes later at the merch stand shrouded like a Benedictine monk for signings and the odd selfie! 

A rather bizarre conclusion to the night and one highly enjoyed in some fantastic company.

1 comment:

  1. When at the merch stand he won't shake hands in case he gets a cold, so the air con issue is the same fear.