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 28 September 2014

Manchester Apollo 28th September 1978

'You want some?'

Hi, thanks to Dom P, here's a remastered, cleaned up version of a gig that I posted early on in the life of this blog. Then it was posted as a pre-Convention appetiser when the band were to run through the 'Black & White' album.

This resurrection of the link marks the 36th anniversary of the gig. Half way through the set, the band brush aside their earlier material in favour of the new album and they play a full eight new tracks.

Back in November, an anonymous contributor posted the following comment about the gig and I think it is worth repeating here:

'This was the only gig, other than the Battersea Park one a couple of weeks earlier, where the band were joined by strippers on stage during 'Nice & Sleazy'. The local constabulary were present inside the venue (as referenced by Cornwell during the performance), & this (along with heavy handed treatment from the bouncers) antagonised the crowd who started ripping up seats & throwing them into the orchestra pit before clambering over them to get on to the stage, at which point the band were forced to end the gig prematurely. A classic gig, that was!'


1. Ugly
2. I Feel Like A Wog
3. Burning Up Time
4. Bring On The Nubiles
5. Hanging Around
6. Princess Of The Streets
7. London Lady
8. No More Heroes
9. Curfew
10. Do You Wanna
11. Death And Night And Blood
12. Nice 'N' Sleazy
13. Threatened
14. Sweden
15. Tank
16. Five Minutes
17. Toiler On The Sea

Saturday 27 September 2014

Canterbury Odeon 25th September 1977

37 years ago this week The Stranglers rolled into this quiet corner of Kent on the 'No More Heroes' tour. Sadly, this is only a partial set (the intro to London Lady is the last thing to be heard before the tape cuts) but what was captured is the band in fine punk form. The playing is brutal, characterised by an aggression that probably peaked for the band a little later in 1978.



01. Ugly
02. Straighten Out
03. Bring On The Nubiles
04. Sometimes
05. Dagenham Dave
06. Dead Ringer
07. Hanging Around
08. Something Better Change
09. Bitching
10. I Feel Like A Wog
11. Five Minutes
12. Burning Up Time

P.S. Here's details of the full set played on the night (thanks to SmallPaul on the B.U.T Forum)

Straighten Out
Bring On The Nubiles
Dagenham Dave
Dead Ringer
Hanging Around
Something Better Change
I Feel Like A Wog
5 Minutes
Burning Up Time
London Lady
No More Heroes
Down In The Sewer

Sunday 21 September 2014

Hugh Cornwell The Citadel St Helens 6th July 2013

Here's a Hugh set from last year's Totem and Taboo tour.... featuring a couple of track from 'The Raven' if we want to stay on topic!

Thanks to wegga66 for permission to share this recording!

MP3 (as received):


01. Totem And Taboo
02. Nice 'N' Sleazy
03. The Face
04. Nuclear Device
05. I Want One Of Those
06. Duchess
07. Stuck In Daily Mail Land
08. Hanging Around
09. Bad Vibrations
10. Skin Deep
11. God Is A Woman
12. Golden Brown
13. Love Me Slender
14. Grip
15. God, Guns And Gays
16. Always The Sun
17. A Street Called Carroll
18. In The Dead Of Night
19. Walk On By
20. No More Heroes

Aural Sculptors Is Up and Running For Another Year!

'Urrggh Bootlegs!'

I am happy to say that the Wetransfer subscription upon which the running of the Aural Sculptors website currently relies has been paid, meaning that the site is in business for another year.

My thanks as always goes out to those who responded to my request for assistance to cover the costs (just over 70% of the fee was covered which is great).

I hope that you continue to enjoy the site.



Theatre de L'Empire Paris 12th November 1979

Another great gig from the Raven tour in Europe, Brilliant quality for its age and a fitting post for a significant anniversary!

Same set as played four days later in Bordeaux.... no changes required! Thanks are due again to Eric2Vini for permission.


The Raven - The Rough Mixes

'The Raven' did not fall from the sky as the near perfect finished creation that we all know and love. Here are the rough mixes of most tracks from the album. Admittedly, these versions are pretty close to the final output, albeit lacking some of the polish applied to the final cuts.

Most notable here if the inclusion of 'Social Secs', Hugh's musical response to the 'Rock Goes To College' debacle in the band's hometown of Guildford.

My thanks go to Eric2Vini for his permission to upload this on Aural Sculptors.


Artwork pdfs are included in the download file.

The Raven Flies Straight To Bordeaux 12th November 1979

This recording has appeared on the site previously, but the rapidshare link is dead, so there's no time like the present to resurrect this one. The band's visit to the French city of Bordeaux on 16th November 1979 give us what is widely considered to be one of the best, if not the best, live recordings of the period.

Take a look at the set for a moment. The band's belief and confidence in the strength of their new material is there for all to see. In a seventeen songs set, no less than eight are included from 'The Raven', make that ten if you include 'The Menhinblack' and 'Don't Bring Harry' that saw the band onto and off the stage (only 'Longships' from the album does not receive an airing here). Again, I think that this is indicative of the risks that The Stranglers were prepared to take with this album. Contrast with the band's 2012 set which showcased the then new album 'Giants' with typically four new songs.



01. Five Minutes
02. Shah Shah A Go Go
03. Ice
04. Down In The Sewer
05. Hanging Around
06. The Raven
07. Dead Loss Angeles
08. Threatened
09. Baroque Bordello
10. Curfew
11. Tank
12. Burning Up Time/Bring On The Nubiles
13. Nuclear Device
14. Genetix
15. Duchess
16. Toiler On The Sea

The Raven at 35

As most of you will be aware, today marks the 35th anniversary of the release of 'The Raven', argued by many to be the band's finest studio album. Be that the case or not, there is little doubt that in terms of a planned departure from the 'Stranglers' sound' which had recently established the band as a tour de force of the New Wave scene, 'The Raven' was the most daring of their albums (not even 1983's 'Feline' can claim that prize!).

Personally, I would say that 'The Raven' is a close second to 'Rattus' in the best album stakes. However, I find such black and white grading of albums a challenge (sorry for the pun!). Rather, the Mk I albums represent a progression and in each album, I can hear a musical thread that connects a given album with both its predecessor and its successor. As suggested by JJ on the Official Site, 'The Raven' is an international album (France, Iran, Australia, Japan etc. feature across the two sides of the album). This is certainly the case in comparison with the highly London-centric 'Rattus Norvegicus' (okay, I concede that Toulouse is not London in the strict sense, more of a suburb maybe!). The travel, the drugs and the global unrest of the times opened the band, and therefore the fanbase, up to some rather esoteric topics and these set the tone for the next couple of albums.

'The Raven' also introduced fans of the band to some extraordinary imagery, that stage backdrop, stark, white lighting, the black clothes, white guitar straps (Hugh's oxford bags!?).... all visual elements that cemented the look of the band for the next few years. 

I think that if asked to pinpoint the essence of the band's style, a majority of fans would make reference to this period and to 'The Raven' in particular.

To mark the date and to accompany the excellent pieces that now feature on the Official Site, Today I am posting a trio of Raven related posts.

So Happy Birthday old bird!

Thursday 18 September 2014

Angelic Upstarts The Alternative Lubeck 10th September 1989

Following on from the last 1987 post that was the Rejects gig, I was prompted to put up an excellent sounding gig, also from the late '80's by The Upstarts. Brilliant, utterly uncompromising stuff from Mensi & Co.

The Cockney Rejects/Upstarts connection was reinforced when I read 'I'm An Upstart - The Decca Wade Story', a punk roller coaster tale of the highs and lows endured by the hell raising, diminutive,  oft-times Upstarts drummer in his long musical career.

01. Police Oppression
02. Murder Of Liddle Towers
03. Solidarity
04. Machine Gun Kelly
05. One More Day
06. Two Million Voices
07. Woman In Disguise
08. Kids On The Streets
09. Last Night Another Soldier
10. Teenage Warning
11. I'm An Upstart
12. White Riot
13. If The Kids Are United

Wednesday 17 September 2014

You’re In A Hole, You’ve Gotta Get Out Of It – The Henry Moore Foundation 14th September 2014

Reclining Woman: Elbow, 1981 with Retiring Wife: Through Hole 2014

Talking of sculptors (!), Henry Moore was the greatest sculptor that Britain has ever produced. What’s more, he lived a mere 4 miles from Bishops Stortford in Hertfordshire, our home town for the last 19 years.

The Henry Moore Foundation dominates the Hertfordshire village of Perry Green. Here Henry resided in rural seclusion with his wife Irina from 1940 right up to his death in 1986, whilst all the time wowing the art world across the globe with, not only his unmistakable abstract sculptures, but also with his prints, fabrics and tapestries. Mr. Moore was nothing if not prolific on the art front.

That we have waited almost 20 years to visit this cultural Mecca on our doorstep is baffling. That we pre-planned this visit some weeks ago as something to do last weekend is also rather poignant. Only on Saturday we learned that one of Gunta’s close relatives is seriously ill. This relative, also a sculptor of some note, studied the subject under the tutelage of none other than Henry Moore and was himself a visitor to Perry Green in the 1960’s.

Reclining Figure: External Form 1953-54

A tour of the house was a journey back to your Grandparents house in the ‘60’s and ‘70’s. A frugal man, there is nothing in the house suggestive that the owner was in fact a multi-millionaire superstar of the art world…… save for the Picasso handing in the kitchen ot the Renoir hung in the corner of the living room!

Thankfully as we entered the extensive gardens the weather looked down upon us favourably, despite showing the potential for a deluge. So we spent a pleasurable hour perusing some of the baffling forms that he created, including ‘Reclining Figures’ too numerous to count (if you stumble across a successful formula, why not stick with it!).

By my own admission, I know very little about art and clearly I do not view his pieces in the same way as Moore (the whole point of the exercise I suppose), but the scale of his works are incredibly impressive and the bronzes are very tactile.

Large Figure in a Shelter 185-86; Small Daughter 2014

In addition to the plentiful Moore exhibits, the Henry Moore Foundation is currently hosting an exhibition in the grounds entitled ‘Body Void – Echoes of Moore in Contemporary Art’. Notably, this includes works by Anthony Gormley and  also Damien Hirst’ halved calf and cow, which whilst interesting, surely would be more at home in a museum of natural history as opposed to an art gallery, but that is only my view.

Rudi made me laugh when he said that the photographic piece ‘Pose Work for Plinths 3’ by Bruce McLean owes all of its inspiration to Python’s ‘Ministry Of Silly Walks’ sketch. It’s a fair point……

Pose Work for Plinths 3 by Bruce McLean, 1971

Knife Edge Two Piece 1962-65; Old Bloke 2014

Saturday 6 September 2014

10 From '87 (5) Cockney Rejects Centro Social La Cuesta Arnedo La Rioja 10th April 1987

This is quite a rare recording I am led to believe, released as a Spanish pressed bootleg in 1987 entitled 'Greatest Hits Volume IV - Live In Spain'.

Not quite sure where they were in their career at this point, but the set only includes a couple of tracks from their hard rock years, plus a cover of the Kinks' 'Til' The End Of The Day'. The rest of the set is from the 'Greatest Hits Volume I' and 'Greatest Hits Volume II' era for which they are best known.


01. Til' The End Of The Day
02. Bad Man
03. Power And the Glory
04. On The Streets Again
05. I´m Not A Fool
06. Some Play Dirty
07. Greatest Cockney Rip Off
08. Headbanger
09. East End
10. Join The Rejects
11. Police Car
12. Hate Of The City
13. Flares ´N´ Slippers

Stinky Turner and Co. are still playing with 35th Anniversary dates lines up for November including one on the 15th November at the O2 Academy Islington.