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

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

La Mutualite Paris 28th February 1983

Here's one to the night. The Stranglers in Paris. This one is notable for featuring a taste of the Feline tour's rather eccentric support act, Nik Malham.



01. Nik Malham (Introduction)
02. Aural Sculpture
03. Nuclear Device
04. Toiler On The Sea
05. Ships That Pass In The Night
06. It's A Small World
07.  Just Like Nothing On Earth
08.  No More Heroes
09.  Who Wants The World
10. Never Say Goodbye
11. Baroque Bordello
12. Golden Brown
13. Princess Of The Street
14. Midnight Summer Dream
15. European Female
16. Tramp
17. The Raven
18. Duchess
19. London Lady
20. La Folie

Saturday, 24 February 2018

The Damned The Ritz New York 7th November 1985

Since posting the recent KOKO gig on here there has been a lot of interest in the site from fans of The Damned. Welcome! The Stranglers and The Damned will always be top of the list for me. Outsiders both, they stood shoulder to shoulder in the punk wars and came through to be punk survivors. Here's a great, eclectic set from New York in 1985.



01. Curtain Call
02. Shadow Of Love
03. Neat Neat Neat
04. Wait For The Blackout
05. Grimly Fiendish
06. Stranger On The Town
07. Is It A Dream
08. The Limit Club
09. Smash It Up
10. I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night
11. Looking At You
12. Gun Fury
13. Street Of Dreams
14. Curtain Call (Reprise)
15. Lust For Life
16. Love Song
17. New Rose
18. Disco Man
19. Born To Kill
20. We Love You

Sunday, 18 February 2018

The Damned KOKO Camden London 16th February 2018

Not 48 hours since they went off stage I am pleased to give you The Damned at KOKO!!

I need say no more... this set speaks for itself. I need only thank Chatts99 for the share, borobri for the artwork and someone called Ramona for the inner picture!


Saturday, 17 February 2018

Steve Diggle Sound House Leicester 15th February 2013

And talking of Steve Diggle here's a solo gig of his that I was planning to put up on Thursday.



01. Fast Cars
02. Promises
03. Unthinkable
04. Planet Star
05. Wallpaper World
06. Love Is Lies
07. What Do I Get?
08. Terminal
09. Autonomy
10. Orgasm Addict
11. Banter
12. I Can’t Promise Anything To You
13. Sick City Sometimes
14. Ever Fallen In Love
15. Harmony In My Head
16. Why She’s A Girl From The Chainstore
17. I’ve Got A Feeling
18. What Else Can You Do?

The Damned KOKO London 16th February 2018

Dave Vanian Struts!
KOKO London 16th February 2018
(Photo: Ramona Andrews)

Well, we have been very tardy this year what with this being the first name band gig we have seen in 2018!

Early on in this 'Evil Spirits' tour I had read some disparaging comments about the bands' performance which surprised me as here for the first time since the mid-'90's three quarters of one of The Damned's classic line ups were back. I say one of the classic line ups as I see The Damned as two bands almost, the Brian James line up and the post-James incarnations of the band. Don't get me wrong I love them both but they are very different animals. 'Damned Damned Damned' is one of the albums that defined punk and well deserves its place as a classic album. There is however as you know that other side of the band represented no better than by the 'Holy Trinity' of Damned albums that are 'Machine Gun Etiquette', 'The Black Album' and 'Strawberries'. As it just so happens that Paul Gray performed bass duties on two of those, that for me makes the Scabies/Vanian/Sensible/Gray team the other classic line up and my personal favourite.

Anyhow I am waffling now, the point is Paul and his Rickenbacker were back and the potential was there for a cracking gig and that is precisely what we got. It was billed as an early gig as there was a club night afterwards. Apparently The Damned were not best pleased with this arrangement but for those travelling from outside of London I have to say such early stage times suit very nicely! So Holst's 'Mars' heralded the band on stage at 7.50 sharp. The Captain was suffering with a serious cold.... but like most men he didn't make a big thing about it!! I think for serious fans of The Damned a set heavy in material from 'The Black Album' and 'Strawberries' was at the top of the wish list and this is what we got. If not quite 'Fifty Shades of Gray' what we got was almost half of the set picked from this period. The opening salvo of 'Wait for the Blackout'. 'Lively Arts' and 'Silly Kids Games' set the tone for the evening. Highlights from the night were the aforementioned 'Lively Arts', 'Gun Fury', 'Dozen Girls' and 'Street Of Dreams'. On this occasion we took our daughter Ramona with us and she dragged us right to the front. Aside from running the risk of catching Sensible's cold from the stage, from this vantage point it was easy to see the joy that Captain and Paul have to be playing together again..... brilliant chemistry!

(Photo: Ramona Andrews)

After the last notes of 'Jet Boy Jet Girl' spat from the PA, the house lights came up and we prepared to negotiate our exist from KOKO.... lots of steps. I pulled Ramona up when I spied the familiar figure of Leigh Heggarty at the bar. Going over with Mo in tow to congratulate him on a very successful trip down under as Stranglers support I spotted an equally familiar figure leaning against the bar..... one Marco Pirroni. Now Ramona is a big Adam and the Ants fan so she was thrilled to meet him briefly, and even more so when he identified Klaus Nomi on her DIY boiler suit creation!

Ramona meets 'A Man Called Marco'

This started half an hour of Ramona playing punk top trumps. Having met Gaye Advert in the pub before the gig and then Marco, she set of in pursuit of Steve Diggle following a tip of from Leigh that he was in the vicinity. On this occasion the Buzzcock gave her the slip...... but she did manage to collar The Members' J.C. Carroll outside the venue!

For those seeing them at The Forum tonight..... enjoy!

Sunday, 11 February 2018

The Jam Wessex Hall Poole 9th November 1980

Last night I toddled off with Gunta to the Horn at the Half Moon in Bishops Stortford (our old local). This was a first visit since a management change and an extensive refurbishment. The new owners are looking to turn the pub into a regular music venue which is great news. The Jam'd (a Jam tribute band) were playing which was the reason for us venturing out on a pretty filthy February night.

The pub was heaving and we were dismayed to learn that the gig had sold out so we settled on a few drinks instead. About 15 minutes before the band were due on stage, punters started filing out of the back room. Apparently one of the band has suffered palpitations so the gig was called off at the 11th Hour.

I hope that he is OK.

All this left me with a desire to hear The Jam, so I dug out this one from the 'Sound Affects' tour of 1980.



01. Dream Time
02. Thick As Thieves
03. Boy About Town
04. Monday
05. Going Underground
06. Pretty Green
07. Man In The Corner Shop
08. Set The House Ablaze
09. Private Hell
10. Liza Radley
11. Dreams Of Children
12. The Modern World
13. Little Boy Soldiers
14. But I'm Different Now
15. Start!
16. Scrape Away
17. Strange Town
18. When You're Young
19. To Be Someone (Didn't We Have A Nice Time)
20. 'A' Bomb In Wardour Street
21. David Watts

Hala Sportova Belgrade 13th February 2004

Here's an almost anniversary set from the 'Norfolk Coast' period.



01. Intro
02. Norfolk Coast
03. Skin Deep
04. All Day And All Of The Night
05. Peaches
06. Long Black Veil
07. Always The Sun
08. Ive Been Wild
09. Grip
10. Lost Control
11. Never To Look Back
12. Walk On By
13. Golden Brown
14. Sinister
15. Mine All Mine
16. I Dont Agree
17. Something Better Change
18. Tank
19. Big Thing Coming
20. Hanging Around
21. No More Heroes

Dee Dee Ramone Lava Lounge Long Beach CA 11th February 2000

Solo set from the late, great Dee Dee Ramone. 18 years ago tonight.


01. Intro
02. Rockaway Beach
03. Teenage Lobotomy
04. Commando
05. Sheena Is A Punk Rocker
06. Beat On The Brat
07. Chinese Rocks
08. Rock ‘N’ Roll Vacation On L.A.
09. I Wanna Be Sedated
10. Cretin Hop
11. Bad Little Go Go Girl
12. Hop Around
13. Born To Lose
14. Do You Love Me?
15. Please Mr Postman
16. I Don’t Wanna Walk Around With You
17. Judy Is A Punk
18. Come On Now
19. Pinhead
20. 53rd & 3rd
21. Punishment Fits The Crime

Saturday, 10 February 2018

'And the mercy seat is waiting, And I think my head is burning'

Nick Cave
Linoprint 15cm x 20cm

Black ink on cream.

20 From '86 (8) Dead Kennedys Freebourn Hall UC Davis CA 21st February 1986

This is I believe the last gig that the DKs (in their original incarnation) played before the court case and split. I have said elsewhere on this site that I was fully anticipating seeing the band in the UK in 1986, but thanks to Tipper Gore and the blessed Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) the band were broken.

Everything the Dead Kennedys did was just fantastic and whilst 'Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables' will always be THE album in most people's eyes they were consistent. For me every one of their albums has stood the test of time. They were a constant thorn in the side of complacent, conservative America.... God knows what they would have produced in the face of the current situation and the unfortunate incumbent in the White House.

This set features much of the material from the 'Frankenchrist' album.


01. Goons Of Hazzard
02. Hellnation
03. Terminal Preppie
04. When Ya Get Drafted
05. Rambozo The Clown
06. This Could By Anywhere
07. Soup is a Good Food
08. Chemical Warfare
09. The Man With The Dogs
10. MTV Gett Of The Air
11. Triumph Of The Swill

01. Kill The Poor
02. A Child And His Lawnmower
03. Jock-O-Rama
04. Chicken Farm
05. Holiday in Cambodia
06. Commercial, Bleed For Me
07. Too Drunk To Fuck
08. Moral Majority
09. We've Got a Bigger Problem

Capitol Theatre Aberdeen 10th February 1983

Here's another anniversary gig from The Feline Tour, this time from the granite city. Not the greatest sound qualitywise, but you can't win them all. The artwork wrongly refers to the Capital rather than Capitol Theatre, but I cannot find the original files to correct it... just think of it in terms of a proper bootleg, where 90% of the information was incorrect!



01. Nuclear Device
02. Toiler On The Sea
03. Ships That Pass In The Night
04. Its 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

01. Princess Of The Street
02. Midnight Summer Dream
03. European Female
04. Tramp
05. The Raven
06. Duchess
07. London Lady
08. Hugh
09. Bring on The Nubiles
10. Down In The Sewer

Friday, 9 February 2018

The Skids The Venue London 10th February 1981

The Skids seem to be the band of the moment and, based on my experience of them last year in Cambridge, rightly so. Ever popular among The Stranglers contingent here is a nice little radio broadcast from February 1981 that was staged by London's Capital Radio. A search on the net indicates that this was Stuart Adamson's last ggi with the band.


01. Charles
02. Dulce Et Decorum Est
03. Grey Parade
04. Arena
05. Filming Africa (Intro) / An Incident In Algiers
06. A Woman In Winter
07. Animation
08. Working For The Yankee Dollar
09. The Psalm
10. Of One Skin
11. Melancholy Soldiers
12. Circus Games

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

20 From '86 (7) Dreamtime Archives 1985-1986 - Demos And Alternative Mixes

OK, OK so some of these recordings were laid down in 1985 but the album that became Dreamtime was a big part of my listening in '86. It's funny looking back at it now (and terrifying to realise that it is 32 years old this year!). It is so of its time and so un-Stranglers in that they were forced down that '80's avenue of over production that lead to THAT mid '80's sound that every band or pop star seemed to have. I mean just look at what Dave is holding...... does that spell out Stranglers to you? There were some good songs on the album. 'Always The Sun' may be a song that perhaps many would like to see rested in favour of something less usual, but it remains to be a brilliantly constructed song. Likewise 'Dreamtime' is a notable track. Again it is interesting that as was the case with 'Aural Sculpture' (although not to the same extent) some of the songs that did not made the final album cut (only being consigned to B-Sides) were superior to some of the tracks that did feature on 'Dreamtime'. 'Since You Went Away' ..... and how on earth did 'You' not make the grade!?

Anyway here are the demos in all their work in progress glory. Thanks as always to Eric!


Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Pressure - A Play by David Haig

Last weekend Gunta and I travelled the short distance to Cambridge and the Cambridge Arts Theatre to see a play written and starring David Haig. A true story depicting the tensions between the teams of British and American meteorologists as they maintained a constant watch over the weather systems in Northern Europe in order to try to forecast the weather on the planned D-Day date of 5th June.

The British team were led by James Stagg, a dour, intense Scot, whilst his US counterpart in the 'Allied Meteorological Unit' was one Irving P. Krick. The two men disagreed fundamentally of the nature of forecasting. Stagg insisted that forecasting had to be considered in 3D, taking into account the  impact that upper atmosphere weather systems and the Jet Stream had on the weather closer to the Earth's surface and moreover by dragging surface weather fronts around the globe weather conditions were created that could not be accurately predicted on the basis of observed historical weather patterns that Krick largely put his faith in. Nowhere was this unpredictability more at play than in Northern Europe.

So it was against all expectations that despite uninterrupted good weather in the preceding weeks that Stagg predicted violent storms for 5th June and advised that the Overlord should be postponed. Nevertheless, he was right and the 5th was to witness such terrible conditions in the Channel that the planned invasion would have been a catastrophe and many thousands of men would have undoubtedly drowned before reaching the landing beaches. The poor weather was predicted to be poor for the day's following too, meaning that the next opportunity (coinciding with the required tidal situation would have been on 19th June. However, Stagg's meticulous analysis of the barometric data coming in from naval shipping in the Atlantic identified a gap developing between storms leaving an area of high pressure in the Channel that would potentially create a window of calm and therefore invasion potential on 6th June. On the basis of his work Eisenhower ordered D-Day to commence after a delay of only 24 hours. Stagg was right and the largest invasion in history took place in conditions suited to the requirements of Army, Navy and Airforce.

The play was incredible tense, and the idea of pressure is relevant throughout. The interaction between the characters playing Stagg and Eisenhower was just fantastic.

As a final point to mention, had the invasion been delayed to 19th June, this too would have spelled disaster as major storms blew up in the Channel on that day that persisted for several days. The storms permanently wrecked the US 'Mullberry A' harbour at Omaha beach.

Group Captain James Martin Stagg, CB, OBE, FRSE

20 From '86 (6) Pete Shelley (Zip) Finsbury Park London 27th July 1986

Here's a support slot when Pete Shelley played with his then band Zip played on the Sunday of The Damned's '10th Anniversary Tea Party'. sadly I missed this date as I went on the Saturday and the mid '80's were not a time when I was in a position to travel up to London to see a band twice in two days.

That year Pete released an album by the name of 'Heaven and the Sea' which although obviously very much of its time is, in my opinion, a great album some of the tracks from which appear in the set below.



01.Telephone Operator
02.On Your Own
03.You Know Better Than I Know
04.Qu'est-Ce Que C'Est Que Ca
05.Waiting For Love
06.Blue Eyes
08.Homosapien (Part 1, fades-out)
09.Homosapien (Part 2, fades-in)
10.Something's Gone Wrong Again

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Let Me Introduce You To The Stranglers - Birmingham Odeon 3rd February 1983

An incredible 35 years ago tonight and the band were in Birmingham for the Feline tour. Many thanks to Eric as always for this great series of bootleg conversions!