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

Monday, 28 May 2012

Buzzcocks Back To Front Brixton 26th May 2012

Saturday night was a hot one and as such my legs had their first outing of the year. Shorted and booted, Gunta and I made our way down to Brixton to meet Owen. In doing so, we discovered a beautiful pub rather off the beaten track where I valiantly fought off heat induced dehydration by necking a couple of pre-gig pints!

A sun-drenched Academy

As this was due to be something of a musical marathon, the band in their latest incarnation were due to take the stage at 8 pm... and so we moved on towards the still wonderful Brixton Academy.

Now, I love Buzzcocks to pieces and I think that their new music has been of a very high quality. I would rate 1993's 'Trade Test Transmission' as one of the greatest 'comeback' albums in my collection... and there are a few of those! However, in light of what was promised later in the evening, the first set was a little flat. In that, I mean no disrespect, but expectations of the evening were understandably heightened!

The compere for the evening was Zig Zag's Kris Needs who introduced the 'classic' quartet of Shelley, Diggle, Maher and Garvey.

Gunta Loving the 'Cocks
Brixton Academy 26th May 2012

See for yourselves, but whether it was the iconic material or mass hysteria, there was a transformation. These four have not played together since 1989/90... can't remember exactly, but something just clicked. John Maher's drumming was razor sharp as was Steve Garvey's bass playing.

'Why She's A Girl From The Chain Store'
Brixton Academy 26th May 2012

'Mad Mad Judy' and 'Everybody's Happy Nowadays'
Brixton Academy 26th May 2012

This second set was stunning, sharp and precise, always a Buzzcocks trademark.... Steve Diggle did over exite himself at times though (!?).

Last up and we were going back, back in time to 'Spiral Scratch'. Pete's unique guitar reappeared and Howard duly emerged from the wings at a sprint and launched into 'Breakdown'.

Brixton Academy 26th May 2012

'Spiral Scratch' was excellent, but quite what Howard's interplay with who I can only assume was supposed to be an old fashioned optician is anyone's guess!!

Ever fallen in love?... yeah all over again!

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Buzzcocks Hultsfred Festival Sweden 11th August 1990

In anticipation of tonight's very special gig. Here's a short but sweet.... and excellent quality early reunion gig from the boys.

1. Everybody's Happy Nowadays
2. What Do I Get?
3. Ever Fallen In Love...
4. Banter
5. Successful Street
6. Nothing Left
7. Why Can't I Touch It?

Buzzcocks Back To Front Tonight!

At long last this one has come around. Can't wait for London tonight!

Here's a taster for anyone heading to Brixton tonight.

'Fast Cars'
Manchester Apollo 25th May 2012

Birmingham Odeon 15th November 1981

This one comes with a health warning. I have posted it at the request of Dave from West Brom who was in the crowd on this night. The sound is not too good at all.


1. Intro
2. Non Stop
3. Threatened
4. Just Like Nothing On Earth
5. Second Coming
6. Meninblack
7. Who Wants The World
8. Baroque Bordello
9. Golden Brown
10. Pin Up
11. Thrown Away
12. Tank
13. I Feel Like A Wog
14. The Man They Love To Hate
15. Let Me Introduce You To The Family
16. Nuclear Device
17. Genetix
18. Nubiles (Cocktail Version)
19. Bring On The Nubiles
20. Duchess
21. The Raven
For completists only I would say.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Madrid 19th May 1978 (Venue Unknown)

Here's another anniversary gig from 34 years ago.

I have included two versions of this gig in the download file. The sound quality differs between the two. Whilst 'Audience 2' is more complete, including 'No More Heroes', the sound is muddier than the 'Audience 1' version which runs to 15 rather than 16 tracks.

Artwork is included for both versions in PDF format so I leave it to you to choose what you will.

Here's some commentary on the recording (courtesy of Dom P):

Clearly from a mixing desk of some kind, it has plenty of background noise, but I've done my best to make it tolerable while bring up all the fabulous detail in the mix.... a stunning balance of all four performers, a killer setlist....sadly starting just at the end of possibly the opening track, Burning Up Time.... they launch into Dag Dave with skill and power and you know instantly they;re on form.... how many heart attacks would we have had after tracks 5-8.... blistering... to hear the whole of Sewer is a dream come true.... a great companion to the Horseshoe gig. And it took place a week to the day after the release of Black and White.

MP3 Audience version 1:
MP3 Audience version 2 (contains additional No More Heroes):


1. Dagenham Dave
2. Bring on the Nubiles
3. Dead Ringer
4. Hanging Around
5. Sometimes
6. Ugly
7. London Lady
8. Down in the Sewer
9. Curfew
10. Tank
11. Nice 'n' Sleazy
12. Threatened
13. Sweden
14. Toiler on the Sea
15. 5 Minutes
16. No More Heroes*

* 'Audience 2' version only. Although I think Dom is correct that these were originally sourced from the desk.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Recording Updates

I am trying to ensure that the list of recordings that I have is now maintained and accurate (something that I'm not very good at!). Please check periodically. New stuff will appear in green for a time.

Driving Through The Lowlands.... The European Acoustic Tour 2011

CC Rene Magritte, Lessines, Belgium
9th April 2011

Come Spring 2011 and there's something amiss in the Andrews' household. It dawns on me that there is a gap in the kitchen calendar.... no Wonky Bus outing this year. This cannot be , an alternative must be sought!

Luckily, a fix was at hand as following a successful acoustic outing in Holland and Belgium in 2007, the band decided to repeat the experience with further dates in the same countries in April.

Logistical email traffic ensued and touring partners were canvassed, overdrafts were checked, permissions sought, some wavered, some fell at the first, such that in the end the party consisted of myself, Owen Carne, Barry Cridland and Paul Cooklin. Barry valiantly offered to be the sole driver when in mainland Europe, perhaps a wise decision given that I do not drive, Paul would probably be over the limit and despite Owen's excellent capabilities as a driver, Barry does have a lovely car and he may have been reluctant to pass the keys on!

A plan was in place so that Paul and I stayed with Owen on the night before in order to get an early start the following morning to get to Ashford for the rendevue with Barry. That was the plan, but for me at least it went awry very early on as I was due to fly back to London that night from Prague. In the event, the plane was delayed for 6 hours, which meant that I reached Owen's at 2 am ahead of the 5 am alarm call! The only upside on the night was that I found myself to be on the same flight as Pete Shelley and we discussed all things Buzzcocks for 45 minutes or so to kill time in the terminal.

The journey to France was uneventful (I assume that Paul and I entered international waters with a glass in our hands, but that is strictly in accordance with protocol!).

The first venue that we headed to was OC De Djoelen in at place called Oud-Turnout and our journey certainly became rather more arduous. Now, the last time I said something about Belgium I got pulled up for it a and was offered a view of an alternative side to Leuven, but in the years that I have been travelling in Northern Europe, I would stand by my view that the surfaces on many Belgian roads leave a lot to be desired. It is not an anti-Belgian comment (incidentally in the UK our roads are shot to pieces at a result of a couple of harsh winters), but poor roads threw our schedule by many hours on this first day.

Coming off a slip road to join another section of motorway, there was a big bang... a blow-out no less... but fortunately we were on the inside lane, so Barry was able to bring the car onto the hard shoulder quickly for remedial action. Only when out of the car and standing in the hard shoulder is it really apparent just how fast 80 mph is, especially when lorries are bearing down at you at that speed!

With a temporary tyre in place we 'sped off' at a gentle 50 mph in search of a proper replacement. Barry's tyres are not run of the mill and consequently it felt like we called in at every garage in Flanders and half of those in Holland before we found the one. Whilst the tyre was fitted Paul and I loitered on street corners drinking Pinot Grigiot from paper cups... such style!

On three wheels.... somewhere in Flanders
April 2011

When we eventually arrived in Oud-Turnout, a new problem presented itself.... try as we might we could not locate our accommodation for the night. After traversing every road in this very small town we succeded. We were to spend the night in what I can only assume was some kind of campus or Christian retreat! That said the kind of apartment that we had was clean and served it's purpose admirably.

We arrived at a full venue not long before the main event.

What was noticeable was that the band (at least JJ and Baz) were very loose-limbed! Not that it showed in their performance.... but then again I'd been on the wine all day so who was I to tell! The set was good and we enjoyed the experience (this was my first time of seeing the band play acoustically and I can away with my scepticism overcome - it was different but only in the sense that it was another facet of the same band).

OC DE Djoelen, Turnout
7th April 2011
'Princess of the Streets'
OC DE Djoelen, Turnout
7th April 2011
A suppressed disappointment was that 'Don't Bring Harry' did not appear in the set, it had been dropped after featuring the night before.

Having established that the post-gig amenities at our chosed accommodation were rather lacking, we had the notion to walk the 'short distance' to the bands hotel for a drink. We knew that we were heading in the right direction when the band's mini-bus passed us a mile or two down the road and the same loose-limbed bass played shouted his 'encouragement' through the window. Thanks JJ.

We continued to walk, occasionally cross-examining late night locals as to the best/only place to find a drink at that time of night. As usually happens, some locals took us into their care and brought us to their local.... I think that they too had been at the gig. Hunger gnawed, but sadly at that time the menu was confined to croque-monsieur so the two non-meat eaters in the party went without.... not that either of us were going to wither away as a result!

Settled up in the morning, we prepared for the journey into Holland and the small town of Zaandam, to the immediate north of Amsterdam. Arrived safely and checked into the Ibis Hotel we took a cab to the venue.

Cafe De Kade

Customary drinks preceded the evening's performance and for this one we were at the front unusually on Baz's side of the stage. Another cracking gig, marred only by I misunderstanding with Baz. At some point in the proceedings reference was made to the band's wine consumption at the previous nights gig in Turnout. At this point, I lent over to Owen and said something about them being pissed a the gig. Somehow, Baz mis(lip)read this and said that if I was going to call him a wanker that I'd better do it to to his face!? This was rather perplexing. Indeed there are many fans amongst us who have expressed something similar concerning Baz, but I have never been one of them (I have said it on many occasions that the 'Hugh's better Hugh's best' debate lost it's flavour in about 1992!). Anyway I digress.

Cafe De Kade, Zaandam
8th April 2011

'Super Dave'
Cafe De Kade, Zaandam
8th April 2011

Cafe De Kade, Zaandam
8th April 2011

'Old Codger'
Cafe De Kade, Zaandam
8th April 2011
Here's is the gig.



01. Instead Of This
02. Long Black Veil
03. Dutch Moon
04. European Female
05. Princess Of The Streets
06. Strange Little Girl
07. Always The Sun
08. In The End
09. English Towns
10. Southern Mountains
11. Golden Brown

01. Spectre Of Love
02. North Winds
03. Peaches
04. Cruel Garden
05. All Day And All Of The Night
06. No More Heroes
07. I Hate You
08. Old Codger
09. Sanfte Kuss
10. Encore Break
11. Skin Deep
12. Walk On By

Post gig, it was a short train journey into the centre of Amsterdam where we knew entertainment could be had (of a non-sexual nature!). That said, we did venture towards the red-light district where we found a late-night pizzeria. This was in a narrow alleyway, directly opposite a sex shop and so it was that I eat my meal in full gaze of a large poster of a young lady with a cock up her bum! Such is the nature of that part of town I suppose and it did make a change from the usual pizzeria decor of gondolas and sun-kissed piazzas!

 So that was the Dutch leg done and the following morning saw us head back into Belgium for the last one for us on this trip.... Lessines. We debated at we drove through the countryside whether to stop of somewhere else* or to continue on through to Lessine itself for food and drink. We opted for the latter and I think the consensus amongst us that this was a mistake.

Known as the birthplace of Rene Magritte (this was indeed the name of tonight's venue), it was rather smaller than we had bargained for. Still the sun was shining as we parked up and started to wander. In the town square, a few recognisable faces were to be seen and they had already clearly been there for some time as under the combined influences of alcohol and April sunshine they were metamorphosing into lobsters! Leaving the square, we stumbled on a Spring fete/festival, that much to our delight featured Lessine's answer to Johnny Halliday up on a makeshift stage.

This was the most surreal gig that I have seen the band play. The venue is split into two areas, a main hall (where bizarrely a basket ball game was in progress at the same time) and a smaller hall where the band were to play. This space was smaller that for the other gigs and even when Polyphonic Size were on room inside was very limited. It was only set to get worse as many people were milling outside where the bar and barbecue (?!) were located.

Come show time, there was no dressing room to speak of so the band were positioned behind a curtain at the back of the venue, which after passing through meant a very tight squeeze past us in a slow procession to the stage. Gig was good though... but still they didn't bring 'Harry'. What we did get in the last three sets was an acoustic version of 'No More Heroes', which I'm not sure fits such a set.... but see what you think.

CC Rene Magritte, Lessines, Belgium
9th April 2011

'English Towns'
CC Rene Magritte, Lessines, Belgium
9th April 2011



01. Instead Of This
02. Long Black Veil
03. Dutch Moon
04. European Female
05. Princess Of The Streets
06. Strange Little Girl
07. Always The Sun
08. In The End
09. English Towns
10. Southern Mountains
11. Golden Brown
12. Spectre Of Love
13. Northwinds

01. Peaches
02. Cruel Garden
03. All Day And All Of The Night
04. No More Heroes
05. I Hate You
06. Old Codger
07. Sanfte Kuss
08. Skin Deep
09. Walk On By

Full artwork is here:

And so as the band left the stage we made our back towards Calais and home.

In summary, it was very different but very enjoyable for that. If the band are keen to play gigs between main tours and the acoustic option is is easiest logistically then I am all for it! What was consistent was the banter, camaraderie and Pinot Grigiot and I don't think that we'll ever lose that on these outings!

* We did make a diversion as we passed through that area of Belgium, the name of which is burned into the British psyche, Passchendaele. My travelling companions had not previously seen the jaw-dropping spectacle of Tyne Cot Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery, the largest British Military Cemetery in the world and final resting place for 12,000 soldiers, both named and unnamed. The mood of the party changed as we surveyed the ordered rows of identical Portland stone headstones and tried to rationalise the enormity of what had happened across this area in the three major battles that traversed this area in 1917 (not to mention bitter fighting around Ypres since 1915).

It is truly remarkable and quite right that these cemeteries are maintained with the such diligence nearly 100 years on from the bloodshed. It is also heartening to see that schools are heavily involved with these places and in teaching children about what did happen in their now great-great grandfathers time. I think is extremely important today. My son is in fact travelling to Passendale and The Somme this summer on just such a school trip.... I plan to bore him senseless on the subject in the next couple of months!!

Monday, 14 May 2012

Ruts DC's 'Animal Now' Finally Set for CD Release!

I received a link the other day to inform me that the band's 1981 'Animal Now' album is to have its first release on CD in the coming months. A very introspective album, 'Animal Now' was recorded not long after the sad demise of Rut's vocalist Malcolm Owen. The band made the courageous decision to continue without Owen and with this album they were still very much finding their feet (after all how do you replace such a charismatic frontman as Malcolm..... you don't, you can't).

It is a brooding album, but I love it as much as 'The Crack', I just have to be in different moods to play them.

'Animal Now' is perhaps the best indication of where The Ruts were heading in the post-punk era. To my gig battered ears at least, 'The Crack' to 'Animal Now' via 'West One' (surely the crowning glory for The Ruts) is a pretty smooth musical progression.... but don't take my word for it.

Fire & Water Revisited

'We are Ladies!!'

Consider this as a complementary piece to this earlier post.

In 1979, the band were at their most prolific with a live contractual album, a studio album considered by many to be their finest and solo albums from the band's two frontmen. After 1979, for a couple of years the band hit something of a low, beset as they were with multiple problems, personal and financial and not all of human making (potentially!).

However, in 1983, the Stranglers' phoenix rose once again from the ashes with the release of 'Feline'. Whilst the album was not to everyone's taste (it represented a radical departure from the norm, even for a band with a reputation for challenging the expectations of their fanbase), but the band were obviously comfortable and confident with this new direction. On the live front, they embarked on a tour that took them around Europe and Stateside, it was their heaviest schedule since the early days.

The promotion of 'Feline' took up much of 1983, but seemingly the creative juices were still overflowing, leaving JJ and Dave with no other option but to dress up as women and head back into the studio to record a film soundtrack no less. Whist the film 'Ecoutez Vos Murs' may have been off the mur (see Strangled article below), the resultant album 'Fire and Water' is a joy of an album. There is not a duff track on it.

Dave's playing stands out massively for me, this being an opportunity for him to play in a style that was free from the constraints imposed by that 'Stranglers sound'. Layer upon layer of sound are laid down, as befits a soundtrack I suppose. Listen to 'Liberation', Le Soir and especially 'Consequences'. Couple that with JJ's newfound discovery of actually singing and the result is a rich mixture of sounds that manage to conjour cafe bars in European boulevards (albeit via the drizzle of Thatcherite Britain as presented in 'Rain & Dole and Tea'). 'Fire and Water, also prepared the foundations for JJ's 'Un Jour Parfait' on which he was again ably assisted by Mr Greenfield.

'Fire and Water' if for me perhaps the best side-project to emerge from the Stranglers camp. I suggested that JJ and Dave revisited this for the Convention, but no-one was listening.... maybe next time eh?

Listen to what JJ had to say of the film and album in this radio interview recorded in Oslo back in 1983.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Hugh Cornwell Spitalkeller Offenburg Germany 9th May 2012

Hugh Cornwell Getting Cerebral
Spitalkeller, Offenburg, Germany
9th May 2012

A soundboard recording of the above gig has been uploaded on to Dime (for the benefit of those with access).



01 I Feel Like A Wog
02 Totem And Taboo
03 Straighten Out
04 Stuck In Daily Mail Land
05 Bear Cage
06 Phillip K Ridiculous
07 Nuclear Device
08 Delightful Nightmare
09 Hanging Around
10 Love Me Slender
11 Bring On The Nubiles
12 Nerves Of Steel
13 Sweden
14 Banging On At The Same Old Beat
15 London Lady
16 Encore Break
17 Golden Brown
18 Lay Back On Me Pal
19 Goodbye Toulouse

JJ & Baz Session Jonathan Ross Show BBC Radio 2 28th February 2004

A short acoustic radio session from JJ and Baz back in 2004.


1. Interview
2. Dutch Moon
3. Interview
4. Strange Little Girl

Saturday, 12 May 2012

1977 Stranglers Compilation

The above DVD compilation that I put together a couple of years ago has been posted on:

It is to be found in the video section.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Hordern Pavillion Sydney 10th May 1985

Here's an anniversary upgrade (courtesy of Dom P!) of the Stranglers in Sydney. It had been six years since their last visit which ended in much controversy.

Here's the blurb in Dom's own words:

'A special Sculpture Anniversary show, and the first posting of an Australian gig.
Courtesy of Sancho Panza, this is a great example of the band storming through a well rehearsed set to a new and, on this evidence, captive audience. At a pretty big venue near the Sydney Cricket Ground, it’s a full house, and the band are on fire. The sound is good according to Hugh, and this comes across on the bootleg. While not 10/10 for quality, the sound system is obviously good as all the instruments can be heard, and it cleans up pretty well. They are tight as a duck’s arse.
It also weighs in at 97 minutes, with a unique encore... after they play Nuclear Device I think it’s JJ you can hear on the head mikes saying “Let’s do Toiler!” to which you get a slight groan perhaps from Hugh... “Huh?” as in .. oh ok then.. as if he was knackered and had enough.... but I may be wrong... so JJ and Jet get it going anyway and it’s a great seven-minute version, listen for yourselves... either way one of those obscure details that makes Stranglers bootleg collecting such fun. Ok I’ll get me coat. Just listen to this gig, it’s great!'



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. Shakin’ Like A Leaf
04. Death and Night and Blood
05. Threatened
06. Punch and Judy
07. Hanging Around
08. I Feel Like A Wog
09. Down In The Sewer
10. Nubiles (Cocktail Version)
11. Nuclear Device
12. Toiler On The Sea

Monday, 7 May 2012

Ruts DC Rhythm Collision Volume 2

It's taken 30 years to follow up on the first collaboration with Mad Professor that went under the name of Rhythm Collision Volume 1 and it's more than worth the wait!

Now, here I have to be honest with you. What I know about dub reggae could be written on one side of a Rasta's Rizla, but that said, not being steeped in the genre at least made me listen to the Rhythm Collision Volume 2 sampler with zero preconceptions of what makes good dub.

What RC Vol 2 does do is to make me smile, very broadly.From the opening 'Technology' concerned with the bewildering advance of said technology to the closing 'Heavy Weight', as people appreciative of a heavy bass sound, Ruts DC bassist Segs delivers the goods. With Ruffy, the former Ruts rhythm section lay down a faultless foundation upon which the other musical elements on this sampler flourish. I may have it wrong, but I suspect that this is a fundamental facet of dub.

Of the five tracks appearing here, there is not a duff one amongst them. However, one track rises to the surface, even in the face of such stiff competition, 'Mighty Soldier'. Here Ruts DC have excelled and if the singles market meant anything anymore (which clearly it does not), this song would be a no-brainer candidate! A single or not, were this to receive sufficient radio play, it would be a hit. In a continuation of that Ruts spirit, the songs on RC Vol 2 are delivered in a very positive, upbeat way....

'One step backward, two steps forward
I gotta live this life in a positive way'

I'll go with that!

The CD can be purchased from the bands official site. where you can also hear the above mentioned 'Mighty Soldier' on RUTplayer.

In short, and without exaggeration, RC Vol 2 is the best new music that I have heard in the last 5 years at least.

Ruts DC are playing some of the scheduled punk festivals this year, but I hope to see them again in a small venue soon.

Vive Le Rock Presents.... 'Vive Le Punk 'N' Roll At The Garage, Islington 6th May 2012

For those of you who who have not yet come across 'Vive Le Rock' it is a quarterly music magazine that features bands right across the alternative music spectrum. Many of the bands that the magazine features are still out there gigging and recording new music, but as the mainstream music press no longer see fit to devote any column inches to them, something like VLR becomes increasingly important. The magazine's contribution to the alternative scene is not confined to the written word, VLR has been behind many exhibitions and gigs, such as the one hosted last night at the Garage in Highbury and Islington, North London.

The flyer promised a night of punk and rockabilly interspersed with burlesque and cabaret. We arrived a little later than planned, luckily just in time to see 999 take the stage (the main reason that Gunta and I were here I might add).

999 offered up the expected high energy rush through their set, featuring old, expected classics ('Feelin' Alright With The Crew', 'Homicide', 'Nasty Nasty' etc) with a smattering of newer material, such as 'Really Like You' (from 1997's 'Takeover') and Pablo's 'Last Breath' (from 2007's 'Death In Soho').

Nick Cash, 999
The Garage, London 6th May 2012

Nick Cash & Guy Days, 999
The Garage, London 6th May 2012

'Lil' Red Riding Hood'
The Garage, London 6th May 2012

35 years down the line, 999 still do it for me and I hope to get to see them a bit more frequently this year than I have been able to in the last couple. I was really hoping to be able to take our son, Rudi, along but on this occasion a strict over 18s door policy was in operation.

In those 35 years, 999 have seen and done a great deal. There is also a wealth of punk history (Kilburn & The High Roads, The Clash in their nascent form, not to mention the Lurkers) in there as well as close associations with The Stranglers (label mates, support on the 1978 European tour etc). Arturo Bassik, an early fan, appears in the video of 'Grip' and his post-Lurkers band, Pinpoint supported the band in 1978 at the Red Cow.

Yesterday was incidentally Nick's birthday... belated best wishes to you if you read these lines!!

Next on was a fire-eating burlesque performer who goes by the name of Roxy Velvet. Fire-eating doesn't really float my boat, but I thought it worth at least one photo!

Roxy Velvet doing her thing

Next up was Roddy Radiation playing with The Skabilly Rebels. An old friend of Gunta's from her Coventry days (the late H) was sometime ago in the band. I noted that a guy called Mac is in the band who I remember from his time in The Neurotics and his own band Travis Cut in the late 80's and mid-90's respectively.

Roddy played a mixture of his own material and some of the Specials songs that he wrote. It may be me, but he was again quite disparaging of his other band.... he really does seem to have a love hate relationship with them.

Roddy Radiation (& The Skabilly Rebels)
The Garage, London 6th May 2012

Gunta (and Roddy)

Roddy Radiation & The Skabilly Rebels
Rat Race & Bonediggin'
The Garage, London 6th May 2012

All in all a great night. There's no review of The Grit as we had to leave in order to get back for the kids... maybe next time.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

The Specials The Showbox Seattle 1st February 1980 - For Lloyd Brevett

To mark the passing of The Skatalites Lloyd Brevett, here's an old Specials recorsing from the first US tour featuring the mighty 'Guns of Navarone'.

1. Intro/Dawning Of A New Era
2. Do The Dog
3. It’s Up To You
4. Monkey Man
5. Rat Race
6. Blank Expression
7. Rude Boys Outta Jail
8. Concrete Jungle
9. Too Hot
10. Doesn’t Make It Alright
11. Stupid Marriage
12. Too Much Too Young
13. Guns Of Navarone
14. Little Bitch
15. A Message To You Rudy
16. Nite Klub
17. Gangsters
18. Longshot Kick De Bucket
19. Closing Announcements

Saturday, 5 May 2012

The Year Of The Cat - Kabuki Club San Francisco 5th May 1983

The silver jubilee for this one... not the greatest in quality but what the hell.

Nuclear Device
Toiler On The Sea
Ships That Pass In The Night
Its A Small World
Just Like Nothing On Earth
Who Wants The World
Never Say Goodbye
Baroque Bordello
Golden Brown
Midnight Summer Dream
European Female
The Raven
No More Heroes
London Lady
Nubiles (Cocktail Version)

Full artwork here:

Punk's Not Dead.... Just Domesticated!

Applique anarchy from Gunta's fair hands

Toyah 30 years ago!!

I have a couple of anniversary posts for tonight, but I thought I'd start with this one, which is of no real relevance to anyone but me. Sorry!

Tonight, Toyah is playing down the road (10 minutes walk) in Bishops Stortford. The occasion is 'The Changeling The Resurrection 2012 - Celebrating The 30th Anniversary of The Changeling and Warrior Rock (Toyah On Tour)'

This made me smile, seeing Toyah was one of my first gigs. Brighton Centre 29th June 1982. This was the original Changeling tour.

I loved 'Anthem' at the time, but even moreso the more punky 'Sheep Farming In Barnet', but this was my first opportunity to see the band. I was 13 and a bit wee!

Such was my interest in Toyah at the time that I went on stage as Toyah in a school play in 1982?!

I remember that she did play 'Ieya' on that occasion, but for 'Neon Womb' I had to wait until a club date at the Electric Ballroom in the early '90's.

She's a lovely lady and did it for me then, but tonight it's a curry with the family. Sorry Toyah, I hope the gig went well!

Ear Today Gone Tomorrow

'Aural Sculpture' Promo Shot

By 1984, the rat had retired, the raven had flown and so the Stranglers needed a new visual hook. So, in line with the thinking behind the new album, 'Aural Sculpture' fans were presented with the new logo... a human ear. There were to be no Spinal Tap-like cock ups with this one when John King, an artist friend Hugh's, took on a commission to construct the 12 foot lug 'ole that graced the album sleeve.

Other works by John King featured in the Aural Sculpture tour programme (make that Catalogue as we are being arty farty!)

Predictably, transportation for the band's ear was not easy! The ear in transit appeared on the front cover of Vol 2 Issue 20 of the hallowed 'Strangled' magazine. I may be wrong, but I think on this occasion our grey orifice was making the journey up to Newcastle Tyne Tees television studios for the recording of 'The Tube'.

A powerful performance, the Ear on The Tube
7th December 1984

But by 1986, the fickle tide of pop music had swept this shell-like aside in favour of naked aboriginies and the Ear faded from view. But what happened to her then?

Fast forward three years to the summer of 1988, 14th of June to be precise. Throughout the preceding night a group of fans, myself included, travelled back from Dusseldorf, where the band had played the out of town Phillipshalle with the Ramones whilst England 'fans' ran amok in the Altstadt.

For some reason, a group of us decided to return home via Kingston-Upon-Thames (well out of the way for me), then home of S.I.S. Having spent some time perusing photos in the offices, under the watchful eye of Nik Yeomans, the subject of the Ear came up. It was, it transpired, dumped on a nearby piece of land, exposed to the elements and in pretty poor shape. We had to investigate.

A short walk from the offices took us to the location and there she was, battered and faded but unmistakable for all that.

Adrian and Steve Tyas (third and forth from the left).
The others were from Scotland and had been on the same coach to Dusseldorf (Michelle?, Graeme?... sorry the memory fades!)

Now what always amazes me the variety of stuff that accumulates over time in a Stranglers' fans reliquary...... badges, plectrums, set lists etc etc. For some reason, I have retained in my possession a piece of the ear (in reality, a fragment of fibreglass bearing now the merest traces of grey paint!) for the last 24 years. Moreover, I have fiercely resisted any attempt made by my wife to discard it. The grip of an obsession such as this is tight!

A fragment of the 'One True Ear'

Oh, the bliss! oh, the pleasure caressing your ears!