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 email@example.com.
Tuesday 26 February 2019
Sorry meant to post this last night but fell asleep after a draining 30 minutes in the company of Alan Partridge! Here's 999 on the south coast back in 2010.
Saturday 23 February 2019
Well, this morning's Stranglers offering was to be their gig at Durham University on 23rd February 1981. However, on playback, the quality is so poor that it really wasn't worth it. So instead I give you a festival set from Welsh Wales from 2005.
MP3 (as received): https://we.tl/t-JxF6i2l2WV
01. Waltzinblack (Intro)
02. Norfolk Coast
03. Skin Deep
04. Big Thing Coming
06. All Day & All Of The Night
07. Always The Sun
08. Long Black Veil
09. Golden Brown
10. Nuclear Device
11. Summat Outanowt
12. Walk On By
14. Lost Control
15. Who Wants The World?
16. I’ve Been Wild
17. (Get A) Grip (On Yourself)
19. 5 Minutes
20. No More Heroes
21. Meninblack (Outro)
Sunday 17 February 2019
36 years ago tonight the band played what could have been/should have been my first Stranglers gig. A lot of my school mates went... changing in the toilets and sneaking out the back of the school. Mt mate did give me the current issue of Strangled and a Rat and Raven badge!
Does anyone have a lossless version of this that they can send me?
01. Nuclear Device/Toiler On The Sea
02. Ships That Pass In The Night
03. It's A Small World
04. Just Like Nothing On Earth
05. No More Heroes
06. Who Wants The World?
07. Never Say Goodbye
08. Baroque Bordello
09. Golden Brown
10. Princess Of The Streets
11. Midnight Summer Dream/European Female
13. The Raven
15. London Lady
16. Bring On The Nubiles (Cocktail Version)
Saturday 16 February 2019
I had forgotten how good this was! Last posted in February 2012 here it is again dusted down on its 40th birthday no less!
02. Burning Up Time
04. Straighten Out
05. Dead Ringer
06. Bring On The Nubiles
07. Hanging Around
08. No More Heroes
11. Nice 'N' Sleazy
Wednesday 13 February 2019
This was an odd one and my presence here was solely down to my daughter. At 17, even she is somewhat older than the average Jilted John fan would have been back in 1978.
The Jilted one, or to give him his correct title, Graham Fellows, is something of a talent. Not only can he claim to be the hormonally fired up adolescent John, at the other end of the spectrum he has given us the keyboard playing philosopher John Shuttleworth…… he’s even been on Coronation Street!
In 1978 he has a surprise and solitary hit with the eponymous single ‘Jilted John’ which memorably related the disintegration of his relationship with a girl by the name of Julie who had fallen for the all-round bigger, stronger and better Gordon. In a year where it seemed be impossible to avoid for more than thirty a multitude of cheesy refrains lifted from the soundtrack of the year’s biggest blockbuster, Grease, hearing Johns wretched tale of lost love was a blessed relief to all….. unless your name happened to be Gordon! Apparently listeners of BBC Radio’s 6 Music voted ‘Jilted John’ to be the greatest one hit wonder of all time.
As a rule I never like to go to a gig with knowledge of one song and one song only. Therefore I made an effort and got hold of a copy of ‘True Love Stories’, a CD which on first hearing contained 13 variants of ‘Jilted John’…… seemingly only the titles had been changed! But I persevered and actually grew to like the album in a very short time. ‘Fancy Mice’, ‘Baz’s Party’ and ‘Karen’s Letter’ are great new wave novelty songs, even if they are firmly lodged back in 1978.
Support for the evening came from the brilliantly madcap John Otway who treated us not only to his hits (amounting to two since ‘Bunsen Burner’ was hyped into the charts by his fans as a 50th birthday present!) but also his ‘twelve’ string rendition of ‘Blockbuster’ along with a new song ‘Real Tears From Both Eyes’ which amongst other things references John’s famous, ball breaking debut on the Old Grey Whistle Test!
Shortly after John vacated the stage, a teenage 59 year old sporting a t-shirt bearing the slogan ‘Legend since 1978’ bounded on to the stage only to get into a wrestling match with his anorak as the band struck up with the opening chords of yeah guess what….. ‘Jilted John’. Well thought I, there’s a confident start, how’s he gonna follow that. But he did with a run through of most of the ‘True Love Stories’ album.
But has John been doing nothing for the last 40 years? Oh no! There’s the delights of ‘Kiera Knightly’ to enjoy with its appetising refrain…
‘Kiera, Kiera, eat your dinner,
Kiera, Kiera, you can’t get much thinner,
Go to a restaurant with Michael Winner,
Kiera, Kiera, eat your dinner’.
Cerebral stuff indeed.
'Jilted John' by Jilted John
The Junction Cambridge 6th October 2018.
The set drew to a close and no surprise, surprise ‘Jilted John’ got a second airing only this time with the added vocal talents of John Otway on backing…. However John O had neglected to learn the words! But this is punk rock ’78 style so who cares!
'It's 'Gordon is a Moron!' John!'
Gaining pearls of wisdom from Jilted John.
Anniversary gig alert.... on this day in 1985..... Aural Sculpture in Sheffield!
01. Something Better Change
02. Nuclear Device
04. Dead Ringer
05. No Mercy
06. Nice ‘N’ Sleazy
07. Thrown Away
08. Let Me Down Easy
09. Midnight Summer Dream
10. European Female
11. Ships That Pass In The Night
12. Golden Brown
02. Death & Night & Blood
04. Punch & Judy
05. Hanging Around
06. I Feel Like A Wog
07. Down In The Sewer
08. Nubiles (Cocktail Version)
09. Toiler On The Sea
10. The Raven
Sunday 10 February 2019
Ten years ago tonight Magazine briefly came out of retirement to play a handful of gigs to revive their prog-punk anthems to a handful of post-punk audiences across the UK. This I think may have been the first from Oxford.
Wednesday 6 February 2019
Tuesday 5 February 2019
The interview I posted earlier mentioned that Henry Rollins is the proud owner of the original painting that was used for the cover of the brilliant 'The Crack' by The Ruts. So her is young Henry with one of his prize possessions.
Sunday 3 February 2019
It has been a long time coming and much discussed but here is The Specials at London's 100 Club. I only got the album on Friday, so right now the jury is out. For sure it is different and reasonably so it should be...... what does a rewriting of The Specials achieve? I will no doubt share my thoughts in the coming days.
In the meantime here are the band from Friday's performance in London. I would be interested in your thoughts.
02. Vote For Me
03. Do Nothing
05. Man At C & A
06. Black Skin Blue Eyed Boy
08. Ten Commandments
09. Rat Race
10. Embarrassed By You
11. Breaking Point
12. A Message To You
13. Blam Blam Fever
14. Nite Klub
15. Monkey Man
16. Ghost Town
Friday 1 February 2019
Yesterday it was a privilege to spend an afternoon in Guildford retracing the earliest days of the band's history. The occasion was a return to the Star in the town's Quarry Street for an unveiling of a musical heritage plaque courtesy of PRS for Music (Performing Right Society). The pub was the location in December 1974 of the band's first gig, but the venue's 70 year history as a music pub is currently under threat as a result of a noise abatement order served on by the owner's of a nearby office block now due to be converted into private apartments. I'm not going into the rights and wrongs of this situation.... although clearly it is wrong, but it is hoped that this unveiling and the patronage of The Stranglers, may help in the fight to avoid closure of yet another small independent music venue.
Such was the occasion that Jet braved the inclement weather to make the journey down from Wales.
The event certainly attracted the much hoped for media attention for TV camera's and furry boom mikes were out in abundance. Coverage appeared on local TV news programmes, London Live as well as nationally. What was funny was the fact that several people in attendance were officially sick according to their respective work places and they clearly balked at the sight of an ITN outside broadcast van parked just up from the pub. For some there followed a cat and mouse game of avoiding the TV cameras. No such luck.... or rather need for Gunta and I.
Adrian and Gunta on London Live
For the occasion the beer flowed freely and we were even fed! Happy days. Bur it was necessary to brave the cold once again to witness the act of unveiling. Short speeches were given by the Mayor and a representative from PRS before Jet did the deed and drew back the curtains to reveal the plaque.
Prior to performing the band were interviewed by a number of TV stations where they took their opportunity highlight the crisis facing the UK's small independent venues.
Finally, it was time to visit the scene of the crime where Baz and JJ took to the stage to perform a handful of songs.
Baz at The Star Inn
31st January 2019.
Baz and JJ at The Star Inn
31st January 2019.
Was this collaboration really 10 years ago! Little Boots and Gary Numan in session on BBC Radio 6 Music.
02. Interview (Numan)
04. Interview (Little Boots)
05. Are Friends Electric?
06. Stuck On Repeat
07. Interview (Both)
08. Venus In Furs