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 June 2015

Hugh Cornwell Cold Turkey (John Lennon Cover) City F.M. Liverpool (Year Unknown)

Featured on Liverpool's local City F.M. radio station sometime in the early 2000's I reckon, Hugh and band cover The Plastic Ono Band's 'Cold Turkey'.


'Seeing as we're in Liverpool, we couldn't leave without crucifying a John Lennon song'.

Dead Kennedys O2 Academy Liverpool 26th June 2015

The Dead Kennedys, one of the most iconic punk bands ever and over here for a handful of European dates. Thanks to the efforts of Tipper Gore and the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) I never got to see this band first time round. The pressures of being dragged through the court in a high profile censorship case proved to be too much for the band and they imploded at a time where under different circumstances they may have returned to these shores to tour 'Frankenchrist' or 'Bedtime for Democracy'. They were certainly due a visit having last been over three years prior to the split. Subsequently, band members took each other through the courts, leaving the reformed DKs with a string of vocalists in place of Jello Biafra.

I did see them about 10 years ago and they were good, very good in fact, that surf sound of East Bay Ray was still as sharp as ever, but something was lacking with the absense of Biafra madcap theatrics that were so much part of a Dead Kennedys gig.

I'm not sure how long the new singer has been at he mike, but rather alarmingly he sounds like Leonard Graves Phillips from The Dickies!

Many thanks to rbose1 from Dime for allowing this recording to be shared freely.

'Forward To Death', 'Winnebago Warrior' & 'Police Truck'
Hamburg June 2015


01 Intro
02 Forward To Death
03 Winnebago Warrior
04 Police Truck
05 Buzzbomb From Pasadena
06 Let's Lynch The Landlord
07 Jock-O-Rama
08 Kill The Poor
09 mp3 Get Off The Web
10 Too Drunk To Fuck
11 Moon Over Marin
12 Band introductions
13 Nazi Punks Fuck Off
14 California Über Alles
15 Bleed for Me
16 Viva Las Vegas
17 Holiday in Cambodia
18 Chemical Warfare (inc. Sweet Home Alabama)

53 Degrees Preston 14th October 2006

Here's a gig from the first post-Paul UK tour following the release of Suite XVI. Thanks to MeAnIe for the great 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
12. Summat Outanowt

01. Walk On By
02. Relentless
03. Threatened
04. Burning Up Time
05. All Day & All Of The Night
06. Thrown Away
07. Duchess
08. London Lady
09. Nuclear Device
10. Dagenham Dave
11. No More Heroes

Sunday, 21 June 2015

O2 Academy Glasgow 28th March 2015

End of tour high-jinx with The Rezillos
O2 Academy Glasgow 28th March 2015

Last night of the last tour, enough said. Thanks as ever to Chatts99 for the recording!

MP3 (as received):

01. Intro - Longships - The Raven
02. Straighten Out
03. (Get A) Grip (On Yourself)
04. I've Been Wild
05. Four Horsemen
06. Relentless
07. Baroque Bordello
08. Golden Brown
09. Always the Sun
10. 5 Minutes
11. Freedom Is Insane
12. Time to Die
13. Nice in Nice

01. Norfolk Coast
02. I Feel Like a Wog
03. Skin Deep
04. Dead Ringer
05. Time Was Once on My Side
06. Duchess
07. Lost Control
08. Curfew
09. Down in the Sewer
10. Peaches
11. Walk on By
12. Go Buddy Go
13. No More Heroes

Gary Numan QM Union Glasgow 6th December 2006 - Telekon Revisited

By 1980, Gary Numan released his third album, here deliberately passing by the first eponymous Tubeway Army (or Blue Album), which only came to the attention of the public when re-released on the back of the wider success enjoyed since Numan achieved massive chart prominence. This really was a 'difficult third album' in every sense. By the time the release of 'Telekon' Gary Numan was a major league star who had spent the many months of 1979 and 1980 on the road clocking up tours in Europe, America and Australia. The speed and extent of such rapid stardom was taking its toll on the 22 year old whose Asperger's syndrome was many years away from clinical diagnosis. The strains that he was under were in part communicated to his fanbase through the material that formed 'Telekon'. Titles such as 'Please Push No More', 'Remember I Was Vapour' and 'We Are Glass' revealed much of the stresses that this highly successful but rather fragile young man was under at the time.

'Telekon' saw the end of his black period and with the Wembley farewell shows the following April Numan stated his intention to retire from live performance and the lavish spectacle shows for which he had become known were no more. Musically, he took another turn, this time down an electro-jazz-funk avenue which provided further hits but he was never again to see the commercial success that the trio of albums released in 1979 and 1980 brought him.



01. This Wreckage
02. Remind Me To Smile
03. I Dream Of Wires
04. Telekon
05. The Aircrash Bureau
06. Photograph
07. Sleep By Windows
08. Please Push No More

09. Remember I Was Vapour
10. I'm An Agent
11. We Are Glass
12. The Joy Circuit
13. A Game Called Echo
14. I Die:You Die
15. Down In The Park
16. Are Friends Electric?

The 'Teletour' set 1980

Gary Numan The Junction Cambridge 1st December 2009 - 'The Pleasure Principle Revisited

Numan with Paul Gardiner backdrop
December 2009

Here Gary Numan faithfully reproduces his 1979 masterpiece, 'The Pleasure Principle'. Not as dark as its predecessor, the album took electronic music to a new height. There is not a duff track on the album, with precise instrumentation that perfectly complements the soaring keyboards that dominate the songs. Ever the purist, Numan made the decision to abandon guitar on this album, a decision that he has since stated was a mistake, but in my opinion the combination of bass, drums and keyboards makes for a complete sound. There is no need, or space for guitar on 'The Pleasure Principle'.



 01. Random
 02. Airlane
 03. Metal
 04. Complex
 05. Films
 06. M.E.
 07. Tracks
 08. Observer
 09. Conversation
 10. Cars
 11. Engineers
 12. Asylum

 01. The Fall
 02. Pure
 03. Down In The Park
 04. Haunted
 05. Halo
 06. Jagged
 07. Are 'Friends' Electric?
 08. Encore Break
 09. We Are So Fragile
 10. A Prayer For The Unborn

The Touring Principle set

Gary Numan Oxford Academy 13th March 2008 - Replicas Revisited

With the brilliant punk rock outfit Tubeway Army reinvented with new musicians and a completely new sound by virtue of a chance encounter with a hired synthesizer in Cambridge Studios, Gary Numan started to change the post punk musical landscape. Setting his earlier sci-fi tinged writings to music with 'Replicas' he took the listener into the dark and sinister, dystopian place within his imagination. This was a world occupied by thought police, AI prostitutes and rapists, somewhere between where Orwell's '1984' and Dick's 'Bladerunner' (a film adaptation of the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?) meet.



01. Replicas
02. Me! I Disconnect From You
03. Do You Need The Service?
04. Praying To The Aliens
05. We Have A Technical
06. I Nearly Married A Human
07. Down In The Park
08. The Crazies

01. When The Machines Rock
02. Only A Downstat
03. The Machman
04. It Must Have Been Years
05. We Are So Fragile
06. You Are In My Vision
07. Are 'Friends' Electric?
08. Band Offstage
09. Cars
10. Everyday I Die
11. A Prayer For The Unborn

Rrussel Bell and Billy Currie soundcheck in Guildford
The Touring Principle 1979

Gary Numan in October 2015

He's got me again. For the past 18 years or so I have continued to buy Gary Numan albums only to be dismayed that with each new album the music shifts ever more towards the industrial and to the sound favoured by the bands which he inspired and influenced back in the day. Now it appears to be Numan himself who increasingly emulates those bands, Nine Inch Nails perhaps being the most obvious example.

However, it wasn't always this way and once again Numan has announced a 3 night residency at The Forum in London over which he will play each of his number 1 albums, 'Replicas', 'The Pleasure Principle' and 'Telecon'. Previously since 2006 he has toured all of the albums again, all of which tours I attended.

Personally I was an avid Numan fan, a Numanoid as we were them termed, since first hearing 'Are Friend's Electric?' in the Royal Oak pub, just outside of Burgess Hill, one Sunday lunch time in 1979. It wasn't until the following year that I was able to buy the blank cassettes on which to record the first two albums (but remember 'Home taping is killing music' - don't do it kids!). It wasn't until 1981 that I was able to afford the albums themselves.

I remained a big fan until about 1986, after which he very much lost his way. It is those three albums however, released in 1979 and 1980, that for me encapsulate what Gary Numan was all about. In the space of 72 hours this October I will relive about 80% of my total musical interest throughout my teenage years. More importantly, it means that my daughter, Ramona, will get to see him run through  'The Pleasure Principle' (her favourite album), an opportunity denied to her in 2009 - her brother did see him play it in Cambridge (one of the three gigs uploaded today), a fact that is still a bone of contention 6 years on.

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Anti Nowhere League - Then And Now(ish)

There is not much to say about the Anti-Nowhere League that has not already been said, but I'll have a go.

The release of their first album 'We Are The League' was preceded by the notorious release of the cover of Ralph McTell's folk classic 'Streets Of London' albeit with slightly roughened lyrical content.... 'Well have you seen the old girl who walks the streets of London, she carries her old knickers in two polythene bags!'. However, it was the B-side for which the single became best known, and it was the B-side that scrambled the Metropolitan Police's Obscene Publications Squad into action. Copies of the single, specifically 'So What', perhaps the most uncompromising punk song ever pressed on vinyl were seized from the distributors. Such authority action, intended to protect the sensitivities of Britain's teenagers quickly made the League's material and that song in particular must haves for the Class of '82... usually on a C90 cassette!

The League came from Tunbridge Wells, a town that was never going to embrace this particular gang of biker punks.

First up, here is a pretty rare recording of the band from the Top Rank in Brighton on what I think was their first headline tour. Tour support was from The Defects and The Meteors.

Promo poster from the London gig of the tour the following week

This was something of a local gig for the band and Animal makes reference to a recent earlier gig in the town on which occasion someone nicked their transit.

As well as the songs from the album, the set contains a new song 'I'm No Fool', which to the best of my knowledge never saw the light of day and 'Why?', an early version of 'Let The Country Feed You' with different lyrics.



01. Snowman
02. Can't Stand Rock And Roll
03. Let's Break The Law
04. For You
05. We Will Survive
06. Streets Of London
07. I'm No Fool
08. Why?
09. Woman
10. I Hate People
11. I Am A Sexual Pervert (Animal)
12. We Are The League
13. Wreck A Nowhere
14. So What
15. Fuck Around The Clock
16. Interview 1982

The previous year they famously teamed up with another quartet of hooligans that went under the name of The Damned creating a headline/support double act that had not been seen since the Damned took to the road with The Ruts in 1979. How's this for a gig....... and there's three of those Ruts again on the bill.

They followed up the 'We Are The League' with a brilliant live album 'Live In Yugoslavia' which is a pretty faithful 'We Are The League' set bolstered by tracks such as the Stone's 'Paint It Black', 'Going Down' and the powerhouse 'For You'.

'For You'

For some reason in the mid '80's, as the UK 82 scene dissipated, The League took to producing a kind of power rock ballad, 'Out On The Wasteland' for example. Not their best period (although I wouldn't tell that to Animal's face!). After 1987's 'The Perfect Crime' album the band had a break of 6 or 7 years before they started playing live again. At this time I saw them play a number of gigs, often as support to big name punk bands, such as the post-Sensible Damned, but also as a headline act. I have to say they were a bit inconsistent at this time, sometimes brilliant but sometimes mediocre, especially on a couple of occasions when Animal's voice was shot.

Animal interview from 2014

The League are still playing and recording new material. Here's a gig from more recent times from Southampton.



01 We Are The League
02 End Of The Day
03 I Hate People
04 We Will Survive
05 My God's Bigger Than Your God
06 Let's Break The Law
07 Snowman
08 Unwanted
09 So What
10 For You
11 Dead Heroes
12 Medication
13 Woman
14 Streets Of London
15 Nowhere Man
16 Reck-a-Nowhere
17 Fucked Up And Wasted
18 Long Live Punk
19 The Landlord Is A Wanker
20 Fuck Around The Clock

Just in terms of their longevity, The Anti-Nowhere League can now be considered as big player survivors from the UK punk scene and in the 'We Are The League' album they have given us one of the most iconic albums of the entire punk genre.

Some young punk many moons ago!

Saturday, 13 June 2015

The Damned at The Roundhouse 6th June 2015

Waiting in the wings
Dave Vanian
The Roundhouse 6th June 2015
(Photo: Owen Carne)

Not a recording sadly, just some thoughts on the day and some YouTube footage from another triumphant gig by The Damned in that magnificent turning shed that is The Roundhouse. This was a family outing for us, and not at my instigation either, Rudi and Ramona actually expressed an interest in going to this one, 

Being as complete family unit (an increasing rarity these days as the children advance through their teenage years) we decided to make a day of it, parking up at East Finchley tube and taking the bus down to Hampstead for an extortionately priced breakfast. Pretty as Hampstead is, we are far more at home in old Camden Town, the next stop. Some stalls were perused, a mid afternoon drunken brawl outside the Wetherspoons on Camden Lock watched from a ringside vantage point and a couple of pints sunk in the Buck's Head whilst the children went their own way for 45 minutes or so.

Meeting up with friends from 5 we decided to gather in The Dublin Castle, a bit of a dive of a pub, but I'm not adverse to the odd dive. I wanted to show it to Ramona, who is quite into Madness. 

Then on into The Roundhouse and into the venue about midway through Johnny Moped's set. Basically..... they're not very good, but they played one of the two songs of theirs that I know, 'Hard Loving Man' (from the Roxy album). They're spirited mind!

'Ain't No Rock 'N' Roll Rookie'
Johnny Moped at The Roundhouse

'Ain't No Rock 'N' Roll Rookie' is due to be Moped's first single for 37 years!

Then come The Damned who deliver a set that is happily heavy in material from 'Machine Gun Etiquette', 'The Black Album' and 'Strawberries' from the '79 to '82 period, the peak period for the band. The '77 stuff is good, but that MC5 and Stooges stuff isn't really what The Damned mean to me.

Rather alarmingly Dave Vanian is now sporting a beard. What is it with beards at the moment, I mean I just don't get it, it's not as if Gillette have recently gone bankrupt!. Sitting in the window of The Buck's Head on the High Street people watching for an hour one could honestly believe that Camden had struck gold and precipitated a modern day gold rush, so numerous were the grizzled 'prospectors' that paraded past the pub!

Anyway back to The Damned. Here they are playing 'Antipope' and that 'New Rose'.

'Antipope' and 'New Rose'

And 'Smash It Up Parts 1 and 2'.

'Smash It Up Parts 1 and 2'

Prior to 'Smash It Up' the Captain announced the planned 40th anniversary gig at the Royal Albert Hall no less. Seems they'll let anyone in these days!

The evening did not pass without incident. Rudi managed stop someones head with his face near the front, resulting in a 20 minute period spent outside the main auditorium whilst first aiders checked him over for concussion. Later it a vain effort to catch a tube that was ready to depart (rather than wait a full three minutes for the next one!) I managed to get my foot trapped in the door. Luckily I had boots on, otherwise I think it could have resulted in quite a nasty injury. A couple of people on the platform screamed. Apparently I laughed. What an idiot!

Union Transfer Philadelphia 5th June 2013

Good morning! Here's is another recording from the band's 2013 Stateside trip, this time from that music stronghold Philadelphia.

MP3 (as received):

01. Waltzinblack
02. Toiler On The Sea
03. Goodbye Toulouse
04. (Get A) Grip (On Yourself)
05. Norfolk Coast
06. Nuclear Device
07. Freedom Is Insane
08. Mercury Rising
09. Peaches
10. Relentless
11. Golden Brown
12. Skin Deep
13. Always The Sun
14. Walk On By
15. Burning Up Time
16. Nice ‘N’ Sleazy
17. Hey! Rise Of The Robots
18. Who Wants The World
19. Time Was Once On My Side
20. Duchess
21. No More Heroes
22. 5 Minutes
23. Straighten Out
24. Hanging Around
25. Tank

Baz on stage at the Union Transfer
5th June 2013

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

The Vapors - Marquee London Gig Review (Sounds 1st September 1979)

A gig review to make Owen Carne weep! Despite the article title, in actual fact on this night the Vapors were supporting the bigger band in the Autumn of '79, The Chords. The Vapors however clearly are deemed more worthy of the column inches on this occasion. The yet to be released 'Turning Japanese' is singled out (no pun intended) as a stand out track in the band's set.

'Turning Japanese' was actually the first single that I purchased from WH Smiths with my own money. Then I am sorry to say that since my next door neighbour bought it as well, I agreed to exchange mine for something else so we could double our music collections in less than 15 minutes by recording the other. I hate to say it but I exchanged a new wave classic for......... 'Kool In The Kaftan' something of a novelty hit (weren't they all!) by Scottish songwriter and Multi-Coloured Swap Shop collaborator B.A. Robertson! Oh the shame of it all..... I do stand however by the fact that technically 'Turning Japanese' was still my first purchase.

In the above review, I like the reference to 'the Foxton-faced Dave Fenton'.

Here's a somewhat later radio gig from March 1981 when they played a home turf gig at the Civic Hall in Guildford.


01. News At Ten
02. Johnny's In Love (Again)
03. Sixty Second Interval
04. Jimmie Jones
05. Turning Japanese
06. Daylight Titans
07. Magnets
08. Isolated Case
09. Letter From Hiro
10. Live At The Marquee
11. Civic Hall
12. Bunkers

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Buzzcocks - A Different Kind Of Tension (Record Mirror Review 22nd September 1979)

I have banged on about it on many occasions. 1979..... a year without compare in the terms of music (or at least the music that floats my boat). Buzzcocks' third album is certainly one of at least 20 albums of the year for me.

The term the 'difficult third album' is a bit of a cliche in the music business but it is one that makes good sense, the first album elevates the status of a band and propels them into the limelight, the second album sells on the back of the first's success, but the third album must be something different so as not to repeat the formula.... and that can cost fans. 'The difficult third album' could be defined by 'A Different Kind of Tension'. It takes the band in a slightly new direction sure, but more than that it can be difficult to listen to in parts. To my ears it is all about tension...... oh, with a liberal helping of paranoia with which it fairly drips. I rather suspect that substances were involved at the time. In actual fact, the band were motoring through lashings of drugs at the time of the recording, notably acid. The resulting tunes like 'Hollow Inside', 'I Believe' and 'Money' are very claustrophobic and at certain times can put me rather on edge (depending on my mood). Add to these tracks other contemporary songs like 'Something's Gone Wrong Again' and it's quite apparent that Buzzcocks where occupying quite a dark place in 1979!

If you don't own this record I would urge you to get the two disc reissue.

The album appeared to be well received at the time (well at least as far as the Record Mirror review goes scoring a maximum 5 stars).

The band toured the album extensively across the UK in October/November 1979 (the Rainbow date on 9th November has been released as 'Small Songs With Big Hearts') before heading Stateside in December.

From that US tour, here is a full set show from The Stardust Ballroom Hollywood California on 12th December.


01 I Don't Mind
02 Autonomy
03 Ever Fallen In Love With......
04 Mad,Mad Judy
05 Sixteen
06 Moving Away From The Pulsebeat
07 Noise Annoys
08 Love You More
09 What Do I Get ?
10 Harmony In My Head
11 Everybody's Happy Nowadays
12 You Say You Don't Love Me
13 I Don't Know What To Do With My Life
14 I Believe
15 Breakdown
16 Fast Cars
17 Boredom
18 Oh Shit !