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

Saturday, 11 April 2020

20 From '77(6) The Clash Mont De Marsan Festival France 5th August 1977

Joe Strummer surveys the crowd at Mont De Marsan
5th August 1977

Here are The Clash, who in the company of most of the British bands on the front line of the new punk/new wave scene, travelled down to Mont De Marsan in the south west of France for their annual punk festival/ By all accounts, the festival was badly organised and the band's suffered technical problems throughout their sets. Included in this post is Barry Cain's review of the two-day event. This version of the gig seems to be a couple of tracks longer than some of the versions of this much bootlegged gig. This version also features 'Pressure Drop' and 'Police & Thieves'.

Of this performance, off-stage Joe Strummer admitted that he 'did not connect with the audience' and that made for an off-performance. All I would say is that if this was The Clash on a bad day, I'd take it! In his review Barry makes reference to to the petty rivalries and sniping that occurred among the British bands, further supporting my earlier comments that if The Damned were out on a limb, The Jam had positively fallen out of the tree.

01. London's Burning
02. Capital Radio
03. 1977
04. Complete Control
05. Pressure Drop
06. The Prisoner
07. I'm So Bored With The U.S.A.
08. White Man In Hammersmith Palais
09. Cheat
10. Hate & War
11. Police & Thieves
12. Clash City Rockers
13. Remote Control
14. Career Opportunities
15. Janie Jones
16. White Riot
17. Garageland
18. 1977
19. What's My Name
20. Complete Control
21. Protex Blue
22. London's Burning

Review of the Mont De Marsan Punk Festival 5th August 1977 (Record Mirror 13th August 1977)


You win some, you lose a lot. Especially at a disastrous French punk festival.

PUNK FESTIVAL / Mont De Marsan

Innocents abroad for speed suction booze junction coach on route de Paris ...
9. . .
Police and Maniacs in a night grazed by a kill oh - Metro knife fight
12 in a room . . . a fresh bread tomb …
and on. To Mont de Marsan … boring insanity and x-rated mayor's son . . .
6 ...
Dancing driver breathless in the outskirts of the grasshopper town. . .
5 ...
A bar full of stars.
"You want to buy bed? Oui zis is divine divan. Only one thousand francs
And only those with influence sleep under stiff sheets with ripe French bristols …
Sore bed heads and 100 per cent confusion…
So you wanna festival – you got it…

But before that…

J'accuse the French of making total bed chaos. The organisers failed. Result? Roadies living in backs of their vans and Press on the streets. Powdering your nose. Dreamless.

And Skydog (The Organisers) slept like Heinz food stuffed babies.

- Again before. . .

Woodstock crazies had acid. They provided a backdrop for scruffy collar up fantasies. These French kids are not into fantasy.

And that leads us nicely into ...

OK. Thrown out of my room to make way for a blank faced band name of Bijou. In the process of
 looking for another eight by eight (failed) missed the first three hours which included Police, Maniacs and an all-girl band, The Loose.

So the first turn to come under the quickly fraying edges of my critical scrutiny was The Damned, complete with Lu, their new fifth member. He's there to lift some of the guitar donkey work from Brian James, but on this showing he didn't add anything extra.

Now you can put that down to the wiped out sound system of course, which left Vanian's mouth stranded like a goldfish.

Me, I don't know yet.

All I do know ia·tIlat the first three quarters of their set was ruined and that meant that the new
numbers that's 'Politics', 'You Take My Money' and 'Problem Child', were lost in a sea of silence.

Incidentally, Brian introduced 'Politics' with "This one's for The Clash" " … don't need no politics to make me dumb ... "

That was tile first of many Damned / Clash aggro stances for the next few days the highspot of which was when Captain Sensible was carried off stage after planting stink bombs while The Clash played.

However, the last segment of The Damned's show was fine. Put it down to the fact that I've OD'd on the band. They should have released a single months ago and if they're intent on keeping Lu they ought to use that as a basis for a rethink. They're too good to lose out now.

Yeah - Here's the leaders of the second wave.

A complete confirmation live of their soon to be released wow of an album. OK, so their set was frantically short - but it was sure enough blissful brevity.

"This one's for Mick Jagger," said Kid Reid before going into 'Rock Relic' (A Riviera soul submerged in dollar bills has gone for ever).

The Boys all meat and no decoration.

Look out for a) Their new single, 'First Time', and b) Record Mirror for more of them.

10 seconds psyche out 6 eyes 3 sneers . . . LONDON'S BURNING!

The beginning of the longest Clash set in history - One and a half hours and you know something? It was a disappointment. (Look it's been three days since The Clash fractured that stage. I'm now sitting outside this St Tropez dumpo cafe with no dough wondering why they never cut it for me.

Ever heard of the New York blade in the back alley dice game, craps?

Roll the dice. Here we go now ...

Paul Simenon had a crowbar gland needle thrown In his backside at the local hospital 'cos of a blotch disease. He was very ill.

No monitors so the back-up vocals, an integral part of the band's swipe songs, were lost.

Joe Strummer losing track signals on the lines which threw the band into momentary confusion on several numbers.

Craps. Know what I mean?

Alright another shot.

Four new numbers, 'Clash City Rockers', 'White Man In Hammersmith Palais', 'The Prisoner', 'Complete Control', each sounding as good, If not better, than anything they've ever done before. Weeks of devout rehearsing had made the songs Clash and that’s sharp.

It seemed nowhere near one and a half hours.

You win.

Strummer said later that he failed to click with the fans -and when that happens he's dead.

It was just one of those nights. That's all. 'Cos even bad, The Clash are better than most. They ain't a garage band any more - They're a mutistorey car park at least.

Oh well, there's always The Jam tomorrow.

The Jam didn't play.

Bruce Foxton explains: "We were contracted to appear before The Rods and The Feelgoods but then the promoters decided to put us on after The Feelgoods which would have meant at 3 am."

Simple as that. There's no way I'm going to be a judge and jury. But there was one hell of a lot of choked people that night.

A sleep overhaul prevented me from seeing little Bob Story or The Tyla Gang. The Gang were apparently given a bottle blazing encore demand from their cult French following and had the best reception of the
weekend so it was down to the Rods and Feelgoods who flew in on a special Southend Charter.

And they were both… er…  predictable. Maybe that's a little unfair. Curling guts and two ton eyelids never helped. But that didn't stop me thinking that Barrie Masters' cartwheel wasn't as spontaneous
as it used to be.

The Rods are backfiring into a blind alley and last years' raves are becoming this years' graves.

The same with The Feelgoods. See, a music  writer had the opportunity to watch a favourite
band time and time again and eventually you find there's nothing more they can offer. No special
tingle. No transient solution to a blue night, no good time blackout.

But I guess The Feelgoods don't worry about what journalists think.

And in the running sore all night bath. At six am Feelgood rubs shoulder with Damned who bitched with Clash who ignored Jam who, etc… while bottle brandishing Frenchmen were laid out by Mick, The Damned's roadie.

This festival could have encapsulated everything good on the British scene over the last year. Might of… instead the only thing stabbed into submission by the two-day bullring show were three thousand noses.

Quote Corner:
"Either he goes or me and you can quote me on that" - Captain Sensible referring to Lu The Damned's new member.

"This festival makes me sick. The people here have a go at the Woodstock attitude but this is worse" – Paul Weller referring to the use of drugs in the festival .

"She may look beautiful in this cafe at five am but at nine o'clock on a Tooting Monday morning you wouldn't look twice" - Lee Brilleaux referring to a local smiling tart.

"We were the best band at the festival" – Rat Scabies.

"I'm a vegetarian 'cos when you eat meat you eat fear – fear of that first death call” – Mick Jones while tucking into a buttered roll for lunch.


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