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 23 April 2023

Back To The Norfolk Coast


It could be said that the regeneration of The Stranglers started in 2000. The year when JJ rediscovered his musical mojo. For whatever reason, after the departure of Hugh, the co-vocalist stepped back from the microphone. His vocal contributions diminished increasingly throughout the 1990's until to all intents and purposes he was going through the motions whilst other musicians on the stage played around him. In those years I moved away from the band, seeing them on vary rare occasions. In 1998 I was given a ticket to see them at Cambridge Corn Exchange and I found it distressing to watch. At this lowest ebb (to my ears at least) JJ had stopped engaging in the writing process I believe, effectively handed over song writing duties to Paul Roberts and John Ellis, which had a dramatic impact on how the band sounded. With the departure of John Ellis, JJ once gain stepped up to the plate so to speak.

I cannot recall, but it may have been as a result of trouble in the marital home, JJ spent some time in reflection on the stunning Norfolk Coast that resulted in the resumption of writing to the extent that he felt confident enough to go out on the road with his solo 'Songs and Stories' set. The track 'Norfolk Coast' lifted from JJ's gig at the Union Chapel in Islington in the summer of 2000 makes it on to the bonus disc that comes with the recent 'Norfolk Coast' album reissue. 

Some bands have a knack, and here I mean bands with many years under their belts that have spent some years drifting in the doldrums. Something happens that reignites belief, dispels writer's block and leads to the creation of something special, in this case an album that turned heads and forced those who had previously considered the band to have a history but no future. What was that something that happened?... well it was undoubtedly Baz Warne. In a younger musician with energy and ideas, JJ found a receptive partner for new ideas. The tracks on the album sparkle with those elements that are undeniably 'Stranglers call signs'. The bass is back and for me, most critically Dave Greenfield's keyboards were rediscovered in the mix after being sidelined for some years. 

As you will hear in the next post, this new energy and confidence radiated from the stage.

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