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 27 October 2013

Elastica Two Early-ish London Gigs

Here's a double gig that I have previously posted on Dimeadozen.

Forget Oasis, Blur and Pulp! Elastica were not only the best band to be lumbered with the 'Brit Pop' label, they were the best band of the '90's.

So what was it about them.....

1) They sounded like all the best bands of the late '70's
2) They looked great
3) They had a bass sound nicked from you know who (they had a song nicked from you know who!)
4) They had an attitude at a time of shoe gazers

So here's two sets that preceded the release of the 'Elastica' album. Artwork is included in the download file.



7. S.O.F.T


3. 2:1
11. S.O.F.T
12. BLUE

'Rock Goes To College' University of Surrey, Guildford 19t November 1978

The Don & Phil of Punk Rock
Guildford 1978
To tie in with the anniversary article on the Guildford debacle on the official site (here), this is a good opportunity to repost the five tracks that were recorded on that day.
01. Ugly
02. I Feel Like AWog
03. Bring On The Nubiles
04. Burning Up Time
05. Hanging Around

Saturday 26 October 2013

Culture Shock And The Mob T-Chances. Tottenham 19th October 2013

As indicated in an earlier post this was something that I was really looking forward to having missed the blighters first time around.

Strange venue (especially for a London comeback gig), but what the hell, this social club or what ever it was suited the occasion perfectly. On entering and making my was to the usual first stop, the bar (although increasingly these days it's the gents!), I noticed that vegan beer was being advertised, whilst out of the corner of my eye I could see a banner of The Hunt Saboteurs Association...... this was like stepping back in time 25 years - the only discernible difference was that now there were no Metropolitan Police vans parked up outside the venue full to bursting with constables eager to nick a few of those troublesome anarcheest types.

Another upside to the gig was that, whilst the vegan bitter did not appeal, cans of Tyskie lager were on offer for £2.40... a sharp contrast to the £4.80 charged in Koko five days earlier! I've paid less in hotel minibars!

First up were AOS3, with the ex- P.A.I.N. frontman on vocals, who played an excellent set of ska punk. Next up, and as keenly anticipated as Culture Shock themselves, were The Mob. I had their seminal album 'Let The Tribe Increase' in the '80s (now I have it on CD of course), but never got to see them as they called it a day in 1983 at around the time that I was cottoning onto this punk thing.

The Mob, with their original line up played an excellent set, two songs of which I videoed, incidentally the two opening tracks on the 'Tribe' album.

'Cry Of A Morning' and 'Another Day, Another Death' by The Mob
T-Chances, Tottenham 19th October 2013

With The Mob still ringing in my ears, it was time for a quick circuit of loo, bar (for another cheap one) and then stage front as Culture Shock took to the stage without drummer (who sauntered on about 10 minutes later). The set that followed threw me right back to student digs in the late '80's when Culture Shock's albums were rarely off the turntable.... they being one of the few bands where all residents found some common ground.

'Pressure' And 'Colour TV' by Culture Shock
T-Chances, Tottenham 19th October 2013

The heat was intense as Dick and Co. ploughed through a brilliant set of material as evidenced by the set list.

So there you have it, one of the gigs of the year, three excellent bands, cheap beer and all for the princely sum of £7. They were onto something these anarcho punks!

Club Quattro, Lagova, Japan 20th December 1992

Apparently, it's all kicking off in the little niche of cyberspace occupied by The Stranglers. Not surprisingly, and with depressing predictability, it's the aged who's better, who's best 'debate' that is behind it all.

Like any football team, there are going to be starting line ups that don't meet your approval, but then again within any single line up the performance is not always consistent!

Best to be inclusive, regardless of personal preference.... it's all Stranglers music by definition.

So, from the 'In The Night' Tour in Japan......


01. Intro
02. Time To Die
03. Toiler On The Sea
04. Sometimes
05. I Feel Like A Wog
06. Golden Brown
07. Strange Little Girl
08. 96 Tears
09. Someone Like You
10. Always The Sun
11. Heaven Or Hell
12. Laughing At The Rain
13. Never See

01. Hanging Around
02. Brainbox
03. London Lady

Sadly, this is not the full set recording. The following songs are missing.

All Day And All Of The Night
Sugar Bullets
No More Heroes
Five Minutes

XSLF (Henry Cluney, Jim Reilly) - Anyone Seen Them?

I picked this flyer up after the Wilko gig. I didn't know that this band had been put together. I don't know the circumstances under which drummer Jim Reilly left SLF, but I understand that Henry and Jake did not part amicably. The footnote on the flyer.... 'as it was meant to be' would suggest that there is still some differences there!

Whatever, it is good to see Henry back on his feet.

Ruts DC And Wilko Johnson KOKO Camden 14th October 2013

Ruts DC at Koko, Camden Town
14th October 2013

This was very much an unexpected one on two counts as I anticipated being in Budapest when I was informed by a very excited Leigh Heggarty that Ruts DC were playing a one off gig at KOKO supporting, and here's the other surprise.... Wilko Johnson!! London thought that it had bade a fond farewell to Wilko back in March when he played what was poignantly billed as 'The Last Tour'.

But it is our good fortune (not to mention his) that Wilko's health is holding up, allowing him to continue to play.

This was a first for me as I never saw a gig at the Camden Palace (let alone The Music Machine) so I was interested in this one from that point of view as well. The venue is an imposing building opposite Mornington Crescent tube station, inside it is very plush, with the heavy drapes and ornate boxes typical of many of London's surviving Victorian theatres.

I was slightly unnerved as I first walked into the auditorium as a quick glace towards the stage necessitated a double take...... a young Wilko!! But this was in fact the tail end of Eight Rounds Rapid's set which is Wilko's son's band, who sound not unlike one Dr Feelgood!

This evening, Ruts DC's set was to be compressed down to 40 minutes, so every song counted. Prior to the gig, a friend had told me that the sound in KOKO was always bad, but from where I was standing, mid venue, the sound was spot on. The band rose to the occasion brilliantly and whilst the audience were rather slow to respond, come Babylon's Burning, a fair portion of the crowd were singing along heartily. Towards the end of the set, Segs paid tribute to Wilko, saying that without him there would have been no British punk bands, which is true, no band did more to ignite the London music scene from which punk spewed than Dr Feelgood.

I headed to the bar at the end of the Ruts set in order to be mugged, the KOKO decor may have been old fashioned but the bar prices are bang up to date, you could almost say futuristic..... £4.80 for a can of Kronenburg!

The second unnerving of the night came in the form of five or six blokes at the bar each sporting an oversized Wilko mask! Great stuff.

Wilko's set was great, the expected mix of solo material interspersed with Feelgood classics. I suppose I have seen Wilko Johnson play about a dozen times now and I could stand and watch them a dozen more times (saly unlikely I know) because the combined visual spectacle of Wilko and Norman is such a treat..... you cannot stop yourself from smiling!

Wilko & Norman Koko, Camden Town
14th October 2013
Leigh emerged after the Ruts DC en-route to the bar, since a handful of celebrity liggers had rendered the backstage area as dry a desert! A few faces were to be seen during the gig though, a couple of members of.... The Members and Graham Coxon as I recall.

Wilko has even more recently guested on dates by Norman Watt-Roy & Friends (dates can be found on Wilko's website) but whether or not he is doing all I have no idea.

Thanks to Big Andy for the photos.

Saturday 19 October 2013

Baz Gets The Beaumont Treatment

Baz Warne
by Steve Beaumont 2013
Love This!!

D.O.A. The Boston Arms, Tufnell Park, London 12th October 2013

I first saw D.O.A. 23 years ago at the London School of Economics. By rights this should have been 28 years ago when the band rolled into Brighton to play the Richmond Hotel promoting their 'Let's Wreck The Party' album. As often happened it seems, mates went along and I didn't! I do however think that since first seeing them in 1990, I have caught them on each occasion that they have returned to these shores.

Tonight though was extra special, it being the farewell tour. Now I know that the 'farewell tour' is a proper rock 'n' roll cliche, but the fact that D.O.A. have been taking this farewell tour around the world throughout 2013 makes me think that this really is goodbye. Joe Keithly has his next steps planned in terms of entering the political arena in his native British Columbia standing as a New Democratic Party (NPD) candidate.

With the support bands dispatched, shortly after 10 pm we were treated to an hour or so of hardcore punk B.C style. Joe is a bear of a man who commands the stage completely. This was a real old school performance, with a constant stream of bodies hurling themselves off the stage as the band steamed through a set of D.O.A. classics...... 'America The Beutiful', 'Race Riot', 'Liar For Hire', Fucked Up Ronnie'.... as well as new tracks from their new (and it would appear final) album, 'We Come In Peace'.

'War', 'The Enemy' & 'The Prisoner'
The Boston Arms, Tufnell Park, 12t October 2013

A brilliant night and a fitting end to a great band. I wish Joe every success in his ongoing political adventure.

As for the new album, I am listening to it as I type these words and would strongly recommend it! The D.O.A. sound is stamped indelibly on each song, but stand out tracks include 'He's Got A Gun', 'Boneyard', 'We're Bloodied But Unbowed', 'We Occupy', with the very familiar vocals of long time D.O.A. collaborator, Jello Biafra, and 'Walk Through This World' which casts a very knowing nod in the direction of The Clash's 'Bankrobber'.

1978 - 2013

Tuesday 15 October 2013

Cerys And The Clash BBC 6 Music 6th October 2013

Paul Simenon, Cerys Matthews, Topper Headon & Mick Jones
BBC 6 Music September 2013
For those who missed it, here's the Clash special broadcast in which the surviving members of The Clash, along with their ex-road manager, Johnny Green, were interviewed at length by Cerys Matthews.
Posted as downloaded i.e. unedited.

Saturday 12 October 2013

The Damned Newcastle Mayfair 14th October 1982

This is one of the first bootleg tapes I ever acquired. It would have been at the Brighton Record Fair in the mid '80's I suppose. This was recorded on the Strawberries tour and it has everything. To my mind the Holy Trinity of Damned albums are without doubt, Machine Gun Etiquette, The Black Album and Strawberries itself. Why  the band insist on revisiting Damned Damned Damned so often when they have yet to run through the Strawberries album is beyond me.

So Ladies and Gentlemen, without further ado I give you The Damned, nuns and all!



01. Ignite
02. Disco Man
03. Generals
04. I Just Can't Be Happy Today
05. Stranger On The Town
06. Wait For The Blackout
07. Bad Time For Bonzo
08. Curtain Call
09. Dozen Girls

01. Limit Club
02. Melody Lee
03. Love Song
04. Smash It Up
05. Looking At You
06. New Rose
07. Happy Talk
08. Noise Noise Noise
09. Hippy Hippy Shake
10. Citadel

The Damned
'Stranger On The Town'
Brixton Ace 1982

Cherry Hill Emerald City, New Jersey 10th October 1980

Almost an anniversary gig, this one from the Stateside leg of the Who Wants The World tour.... and what an excellent set!




01. Intro
02. Shah Shah A Go Go/Ice
03. Toiler On The Sea
04. Duchess
05. Hanging Around
06. Baroque Bordello
07. Down In The Sewer
08. Who Wants The World
09. Thrown Away
10. Just Like Nothing On Earth
11. Threatened
12. Tank
13. Nuclear Device
14. Genetix
15. Five Minutes
16. The Raven

Tuesday 8 October 2013

The Toy Dolls On Tour in November


I am in a bit of a quandary the elusive Toy Dolls are playing rare dates next month in the UK. I'll be honest in saying that whilst I have some of their early stuff, they never set my world alight really. But, TV Smith is supporting......

What ever I decide, it is always a good excuse to post this bit of footage.....

Not to mention this......

Culture Shock On Tour In 2013!


Following on from a recent Subhumans post, I was very exited to hear the news that Dick Lucas's post Subhumans band, Culture Shock have reformed for gigs. Details can be found here.

Somehow I missed Culture Shock the first time around. It was only at the point when they announced that they were splitting and playing their final gig at the Fulham Greyhound on 2nd December 1989 that I became determined to see them, but alas it just wasn't meant to be!

Such was the interest in seeing the band at this final gig that the crowd control outside the venue broke down and a riot ensued. The police pulled the plug at hundreds of disappointed punks drifted away, not so quietly. I saw no band that evening, as I didn't even make it inside the venue, although RDF did make it to the stage for a few minutes before the doors were stormed and the gig cancelled.

Report of the Culture Shock Riot Gig
Sounds December 1989
Sadly, attempts to get to their actual last gig were also fruitless (St Mary's College it was in the end if I recall correctly). Hopefully, there will be no repeat problems when they play in London with The Mob on 19th October.


20 From '83 (11) D.O.A. City Club, Detroit 21st January 1983

Another great band in my opinion and in punk terms quite a significant contrast to The Stranglers. Generally considered as part of the US hardcore scene of the late '70's/early '80's, to my ears, their brand of punk sounded not unlike many British bands of the day, they were certainly more melodic that some of their contemporaries, maybe it was distance that made the difference (D.O.A. hail from Vancouver, B.C.).

In recent years, apart from running a label, front man, Joe 'Shithead' Keithley, has immersed himself in Canadian environmental politics with some degree of success. And in 2013, D.O.A. bow out, playing their last dates, including The Boston Arms in London's Tufnell Park on 12th October.

01. World War
02. Class War
03. America The Beautiful
04. Race Riot
05. Youth Are Kickin’
06. I'm Right, You're Wrong
07. The Enemy
08. Fucked Up Ronnie
09. War In The East
10. War
11. Slumlord
12. I Hate You
13. Singing In The Rain
14. D.O.A.
15. Liar For Hire
16. Let's Fuck
17. Rich Bitch
18. Thirteen
19. New Wave Sucks

Monday 7 October 2013

Way Down Under Australia In February 1979


Ok, so it has been a bad month what with Rapidshare shenanigans and so forth, but on the other hand, in the last few months a couple of real gems have surfaced. Firstly we had the excellent 1980 recording from Minneapolis and now a recording from the band's infamous journey to Australia has come to light. To date this is the only documented recording of their tumultuous time in that country.

It is not clear exactly where and when this was recorded, but Hugh's comments that they would be leaving the day after tomorrow would logically place this at the La Trobe Union Hall in Melbourne on the 13th March 1979, the penultimate date of the tour. This would mean that they left Australia on 15th March after a second night in Melbourne the previous night (this time at Dallas Brooks Hall).

Clearly, this recording sees The Stranglers in a particularly belligerent mood. This is not surprising as throughout their stay in Australia they had clashed with media and politicians alike. In reaction to hostility from the media, the band played up to their bad boys of punk reputation to the fullest extent, most notably on the evening magazine TV show 'Willesee At Seven' which could accurately be described at The Stranglers' Grundy moment!

The Stranglers 'enlighten' the Australian media
'Willesee At Seven', February 1979

So sit back and prepare to be insulted by The Stranglers!

MP3 (as received):


01. Burning Up Time
02. Straighten Out
03. No More Heroes
04. Curfew
05. Threatened
06. Nice 'N' Sleazy
07. I Feel Like A Wog
08. London Lady
09. Toiler On The Sea

By the way, can anyone provide me with a lossless version of this gig.



Sunday 6 October 2013

The Damned Richard Skinner Session 4th August 1984 (Saturday Live)

Captain Sensible
GLC Benefit, Brockwell Park, London
4th August 1984
This is a session that The Damned did for BBC Radio 1's Saturday Live programme, hosted by DJ Richard Skinner. Immediately after recording this handful of songs, the band crossed London to headline a benefit gig in Brockwell Park in support of the then ailing Greater London Council (GLC) which as a consequence of the left-wing nature of the organisation (embodied by 'Red Ken' Livingstone) placed them squarely in the sights of Margret Thatcher's government of the day.
This gig was notable a being the last gig Captain Sensible played with the band for some time. Hence, the bootleg album that emerged from this gig went by the name of 'Captain's Last Stand'. If anyone has a good losss recording of this LP, please get in touch as I only have a poorish quality cassette version. Thanks.
01. Intro
02. Stranger On The Town
03. Limit Club
04. Smash It Up
05. Outro

Shepherds Bush Empire London 6th October 2006

Shepherds Bush Empire
6th October 2006
It's hard to think that it was over seven years ago since I started seeing The Stranglers again. Here's a recording from the Suite XVI UK dates from this day in 2006. In the company of Paul and Owen as usual, it was at this gig that we met up with Mully again after an interval 17 years!
MP3 & Artwork:

01. 5 Minutes
02. (Get A) Grip (on Yourself)
03. Spectre Of Love
04. Nice n Sleazy
05. Death & Night & Blood
06. Unbroken
07. Peaches
08. Always The Sun
09. Golden Brown
10. I Hate You
11. Lost Control
01. Summat Outanowt
02. Walk On By
03. Relentless
04. Threatened
05. Burning Up Time
06. All Day & All Of The Night
07. Thrown Away
08. Duchess
09. London Lady
10. Nuclear Device
11. Dagenham Dave
12. Hanging Around
13. No More Heroes


Cambridge Corn Exchange 18th October 2008

Here's a local one for me from the Corn Exchange in Cambridge from the FortyTwoForty Tour of 2008.




01. Intro
02. (Get A) Grip (On Yourself)
03. Five Minutes
04. Peaches
05. Nice N Sleazy
06. Spectre Of Love
07. Skin Deep
08. No Mercy
09. Always The Sun
10. Strange Little Girl
11. Golden Brown
12. The Raven
13. Thrown Away

01. Walk On By
02. Hanging Around
03. Straighten Out
04. Big Thing Coming
05. All Day And All Of The Night
06. Duchess
07. Tank
08. Nuclear Device
09. Something Better Change
10. No More Heroes

Cambridge Corn Exchange
18th October 2008

Saturday 5 October 2013

Smile Like You Mean It....



'Look back and smile on perils past'

Sir Walter Scott (1771 - 1832)