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, 28 February 2015

The Story Of Buzzcocks BBC Radio 2 7th August 2004

'Steve, can you tell I ate garlic last night?'

Here's one of the band profile radio documentaries that the BBC put together from time to time. This one tells the tale of one of the most original and inventive bands to emerge from the stews of punk rock - The 'Cocks!

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Kraftwerk Palalido Milan 27th May 1981

There are very few bands that can be described as peerless, but I do believe that this is a term that can be applied to Kraftwerk. On the back of an excellent BBC documentary 'Kraftwerk: Pop Art', here is a recording of the band at their creative height.

I think that Kraftwerk really do transcend the limitations of a band, everything is considered, perfected and protected. The music clearly, but also the visuals, be it in the way the band dress or the stage sets. The way the band communicate with the media (or should that be the way the band don't communicate with the media!) preserves a mystique around this quartet of somewhat odd men from the Ruhr.

In recent years they have been touring the world with their catalogue shows featuring each of their eight key albums from Autobahn to Tour De France Soundtracks. In doing so they have taken to playing internationally renowned art galleries, another acknowledgement of the pop meets art concept. In London they played the Tate Modern on the South Bank, a doubly relevant venue, being both art gallery and former power station.

In the Pop Art documentary, Paul Morley said something along the lines that Kraftwerk were culturally more important than The Beatles and I think in that he is probably correct. The Beatles took an existing music genre and turned it into something extraordinary. Kraftwerk create their own genre and in doing so inspired others to create something new also, be it electronica or hip-hop.

Prost Kraftwerk!



01 Intro / Numbers / Computer World
02 Computer Love
03 Home Computer
04 The Model
05 Neon Lights
06 Geiger Counter / Radioactivity
07 The Voice Of Energy / Uranium / Die Sonne, Der Mond, Die Sterne / Ohm Sweet Ohm
08 Autobahn (Part 1)

01 Autobahn (Part 2)
02 Trans Europe Express
03 Metal On Metal
04 Hall Of Mirrors
05 Mitternacht / Les Mannequins
06 Pocket Calculator
07 The Robots

Kraftwerk on French TV performing 'The Robots' and 'Radioactivity'

Paradiso Amsterdam 22nd February 1983

Another anniversary marked here with the band's return to the legendary Dutch venue.



01. Nuclear Device/Toiler On The Sea
02. Toiler On The Sea (Cont'd)
03. Ships That Pass In The Night
04. It’s A Small World
05. Just Like Nothing On Earth
06. No More Heroes
07. Who Wants The World
08. Never Say Goodbye
09. Baroque Bordello
10. Golden Brown
11. Princess Of The Streets
12. Midnight Summer Dream
13. European Female
14. Tramp
15. The Raven
16. Duchess/London Lady/Nubiles (Cocktail Version)
17. Genetix

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

A Review - Stiff Little Fingers, The Harp Bar, Belfast July 1978

A rather hirsute Jake Burns at the Harp Bar, Belfast in 1978

Here's an early review of SLF written by Gavin Martin in NME of 29th July 1979. A very positive review over all, but even then with a caution that Jake's boys love a cover version!

The Undertones at The Casbah, Derry 1977

The Undertones on the Creggan Estate, Derry in 1977

Linked in with the recent post about the early Ulster punk scene, here's a very early short audience recorded set of the band at the Casbah, a frequent haunt of the band in their home town and a venue immortalised on their debut album. This eight song recording is composed of only one original (and I'm not convinced that it's from the same set), the other seven being covers. Perhaps they didn't sing about the Troubles, but they matched SLF's 'Suspect Device' with and 'Incediary Device', albeit one of Johnny Moped's!

01. Undercover Lover (Kids In Glass Houses)
02. There She Goes Again (Velvet Underground)
03. All By Myself  (Eric Carmen)
04. Incendiary Device  (Johnny Moped)
05. Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue  (Ramones)
06. You're Gonna Miss Me  (13th Floor Elevators)
07. I Feel Alright (Iggy & TheStooges)
08. Jimmy Jimmy

It's a famous image and may have had a ring of truth about it in 1977, but listen to these teenagers learning the business in the Casbah in '77 and then compare them to the band they were a mere 18 to 24 months later!

'Here Comes The Summer' (again) by The Undertones
Top Of The Pops 1979

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Misty In Roots Manager Clarence Baker Appears in Court (September 1979)

Here's a couple of news items that appeared in the 8th September 1979 issue of Sounds (a now defunct UK weekly music paper) that may be of interest to some visitors to this site.

In that week, Clarence Baker appeared in court (or at least his co-defendants did, depending upon which of the two articles you read) charged with assault of a police officer and possession of an offensive weapon. In the police action against the Southall Musician's Cooperative, based in the People Unite offices, Clarence Baker suffered a fractured skull. Teacher Blair Peach was killed on that day.

The violence of that day is the subject of The Ruts classic 'Jah War'.

'Jah War' by The Ruts
Paris 1980

Year Zero Punk In Ulster 1977 - A Documentary

A special thanks goes to this Mulley for this one. Ever keen to educate folk in the '70s punk scene in Belfast he sent me a handful of CDs that document just what was going on in Ulster at the time of the punk explosion. This BBC Radio Ulster documentary (originally broadcast on 21st July 2007) describes a vibrant scene against a backdrop of sectarian violence, a scene that was powerful enough to overcome the barriers that the Troubles erected. But hey, what do I know (coming from Sussex!). I'll let the main protagonists spell out just how it was in the 'Alternative Ulster' that they were a part of creating.

'Big Time' by Rudi

'You're A Disease' by The Outcasts

'Alternative Ulster' by SLF

'Here Comes The Summer' by The Undertones

Within the download are the radio documentary and a supplementary CD of interviews conducted with key figures in the history of punk in Northern Ireland.


CD 1
BBC Radio Ulster documentary (broadcast date 21st July 2007)

CD 2

Growing up in Belfast at the height of the Troubles
Engaging with politics
Recording The Wild Colonial Boy
Punk’s legacy

Punk and new friendships
Punk as a cross-community experience
The politics of punk

Shellshock Rock
How he made the film
The innocence of the film
Screening the film in Washington
The achievement of Shellshock Rock

The impact of punk
The possibilities created by punk
Recording for Good Vibrations
N.I. as a centre of punk
Being at the centre of the scene

Development of punk in N.I.
Punks reclaim Belfast city centre
Writing about the Troubles

Punk in Belfast
Teenage determination
Rudi’s image
Receiving first copies of Big Time
Punk values

Seeing SLF for the first time
The Rigid Digits label
Publicising Suspect Device
SLF writing about the Troubles
Difficulties getting a record label
The excitement of discovering punk rock

Punk in ‘70s N.I.
Good Vibrations singles
Impact of punk in Belfast
Belfast as a centre of punk
The legacy of punk

The attraction of punk
The political climate of the period
Belfast then and now
John Peel and the Rough Trade label
The Inflammable Material album
Inter-band rivalry
Appearing on TOTP

The impact of punk on him
Punks in Belfast
His first ever interview (Mick Jones)
Joining the NME
Terri Hooley

How he came to be living in Belfast
His love of music with attitude

His early songs
Early influences
Reputation of The Undertones in Derry
Reforming The Undertones

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Anarchy In Denmark - The Pistols In Print From Copenhagen

The Pistols were struggling. Banned nearly everywhere and unable to play in the UK the band had to look further afield for opportunities to play live. Scandinavia offered that opportunity and the Sex Pistols finally managed to play after months of frustration!

Here's another cutting from the 30th July 1977 issue of Melody Maker that reviewed the gig and in doing so gave an insiders view from within the eye of the storm as MM's Chris Brazier was able to get Paul Cook's and Steve Jones's view of the situation.

By this account the band's dates at Daddy's Dancehall in Copenhagen on 13th and 14th July 1977 were not the greatest shows that they performed but even so they were still incendiary events in the history of punk.

Sex Pistols
Daddy's Dancehall, Copenhagen
13th July 1977

Steenwijkerwold Holland 4th August 2000

Here's a nice sounding Mk III gig from The Netherlands.



01. Into
02. (Get A) Grip (On Yourself)
03. Skin Deep
04. Coup De Grace
05. Nice ‘N’ Sleazy
06. Always The Sun
07. Thrown Away
08. Five Minutes
09. Valley Of The Birds
10. Money
11. Strange Little Girl
12. Golden Brown
13. Something Better Change
14. Who Wants The World?
15. 96 Tears
16. All Day And All Of The Night
17. London Lady
18. Tank
19. Duchess
20. No More Heroes

First Disc In The Bag - Melody Maker 30th July 1977

The Stranglers on Music Box Profiles (Carlton ITV Network) 1995

Whilst clearing some space and chucking out a few VHS video cassettes, I came across this 15 minute music profile, broadcast on the ITV Charlton (South East England) TV channel some time back in 1995. The footage features an interview with Paul Roberts and a relatively scantily clad Jet Black.