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

Tuesday 30 May 2023

JJ Burnel Swindon Arts Centre 30th May 2000


An anniversary to mark here, JJ's first run of 'Songs and Stories alone and acoustic' on this night twenty three years ago! I saw a couple of these shows, firstly at the Union Chapel (drinking beer in church pews... that felt strange!) and then at Christmas in my home town of Burgess Hill (that's on the site too).



The Prince of Wales Melbourne 12th October 2004


Here's a nice sounding gig from Down Under in October 2004 again showcasing the best of 'Norfolk Coast'

MP3 (as received):


01. Waltzinblack
02. Norfolk Coast
03. Skin Deep
04. Big Thing Coming
05. Peaches
06. I Don’t Agree
07. All Day & All Of The Night
08. Always The Sun
09. Long Black Veil
10. Golden Brown
11. Walk On By

01. Duchess
02. Lost Control
03. Who Wants The World?
04. I’ve Been Wild
05. (Get A) Grip (On Yourself)
06. Something Better Change
07. Tank
08. Nuclear Device
09. Five Minutes
10. Mine All Mine
11. No More Heroes

Friday 26 May 2023

Gary Numan At The Electric Ballroom


Numan's mini residency shows at Camden's Electric Ballroom to mark his 998th, 999th and 1000th gig an be found here:

Monday 22 May 2023

Orebro Konserthuset Sweden 7th May 1978


So, rounding of my belated mini-'Black And White' thread and since it was pointed out that the band's appearance in the Swedish city of Orebro was missing from the site I asked DomP is he had a good version as mine was kaput. Sure enough Dom had it and had done some tidying up of the files, including speed correction. The result sounds pretty damn good to me. 

Just 5 days before the release of their new album, The Stranglers were back in Sweden and just as belligerent, if not more so, than on their visit the previous year. At the beginning, Hugh addresses the audience in Swedish (I would be interested to know just what it was that he said to them). Elsewhere in the gig he berates the crowd for being boring and static... 'You're sitting on your fuckin' arses like its some TV show, yeah!'

Many thanks to Dom for a gem!




Listen To The Sirens - Reboot


Having sorted out by storage/drive issues I wanted to revisit a kind of sister site to this one called 'Listen To The Sirens' which operates in a similar way to this one only it is focused on Gary Numan and Tubeway Army. Should you have any tendency towards Numan (and there are some on here!) please take a look.

The Damned Hurrah New York 25th June 1979 - RIP Algy Ward


Today we learned of the loss of another musician that had a hand in scoring the soundtrack of our lives. Algy Ward, formerly of The Damned has died. Although his tenure in the band was relatively short lived, he played on 'Machine Gun Etiquette', arguably the band's greatest contribution to vinyl. Some will argue that 'Damned Damned Damned' or 'Strawberries' is top of the pile, and that's fine, but for me The Damned of '79 vintage were the band at their most raucous and outrageous and they had the songs to match.

Here is an example of the 'anarchy, chaos and destruction' that the band wrought in 1979!



01. Jet Boy Jet Girl
02. Teenage Dream
03. Stretcher Case Baby
04. Ballroom Blitz
05. Talk
06. Second Time Around
07. Born To Kill
08. Talk
09. Looking At You
10. Melody Lee
11. Talk
12. New Rose
13. Suicide
14. Talk
15. Problem Child
16. Help
17. Stab Your Back
18. Love Song
19. Neat Neat Neat
20. Talk And Tuning
21. Pretty Vacant

Sunday 21 May 2023

Elastica On TV In 1995 DVD

 Here's a DVD compilation that I put together many moons ago of Elastica's TV appearances that I had gathered throughout 1995. I am ashamed to say that they were one of the last new bands that I got into (nearly 30 years ago!). I quite liked a few of the Britpop bands, they were certainly a breath of fresh air in a musical environment that favoured instantly forgettable acts that could make someone a quick buck before they moved on to another short lived money spinner. The songs of Blur, Oasis and Pulp have endured for all of that time, surely testament to quality song writing. However, it was Elastica for me all the way. Their songs were great, if not perhaps totally their own! Listen to the first album and you can tell what album was sitting on Justine's turn table at the time, be it Wire, Adam & The Ants, Buzzcocks or even The Stranglers.

Look closely on the 'Later' footage and you may spot a short critter in shorts and a Raven T-shirt!

DVD Iso:


The Forum London 11th December 1993


Fulfilling a request here. This was the third and last appearance of the band at the Forum in London's Kentish Town. On this occasion the drum stool was occupied by Tim Bruce as Jet was, as I recall suffering from respiratory problems. Jet made his presence known by a vocal performance in 'Old Codger'. This is a nice sounding recording.

01. Waltzinblack
02. Duchess
03. Someone Like You
04. English Towns
05. Gain Entry To Your Soul
06. Old Codger (Jet On Vocals)
07. Southern Mountains
08. So Uncool
09. Never See
10. Was It You?
11. Time To Die
12. Toiler On The Sea

01. This God Is Mine
02. I Feel Like A Wog
03. 96 Tears
04. Brainbox
05. All Day And All Of The Night
06. Sugar Bullets
07. Ugly
08. Tank
09. Strange Little Girl
10. Hanging Around
11. Sometimes
12. No More Heroes

Saturday 20 May 2023

JJ Burnel At Clouds Edinburgh 7th February 1978


This image features in the 'Teenage Instamatics: Punk Rock Edinburgh 1977' photozine. Available here:

Gig Review - The Stranglers At Clouds Edinburgh 7th February 1978 (Record Mirror 18th February 1978)


A Belated Black And White Birthday

 Unfortunately, over the last couple of weeks I have had some data compromising issues with my PC (Happily resolved) and as such post-wise I did not contribute anything marking the 45th anniversary of the release of 'Black And White'. This is redressed in the article below that Record Mirror that appeared in the 25th February 1978 issue. In it Ronnie Gurr discussed much of the meaning behind the 'Black And White' tracks a full 11 weeks ahead of the album's release. Of the big four music weeklies that existed in the UK at that time, Record Mirror took most kindly to The Stranglers, which journalists such as Barrie Cain and Ronnie Gurr stating themselves to be fans foremost... not that that fact was sufficient to save Ronnie's skin/pride a little further down the line!

In this piece, Gurr I think writes a very well balanced appraisal of where the band are in early 1978. He does not rip the band to shreds based on the popular perception of the band and the band members as individuals. Having said that neither does he fawn over them. One moment he defends the band against the ever present accusation of sexism, describing a moment of tender affection displayed by the 'regressive neanderthal this Frog leather kid' (brave that!), whilst at the next he is challenging some of Burnel's iffy outpourings (of the type he reserved for the press).

The interview draws much from a review that Gurr had penned of the band's low-key gig at Clouds in Edinburgh (see next post). From this he assumes that 'Little Choirboys' will make the cut and feature on the forthcoming album. Interesting that this, an early version of 'Duchess' was played live in early 1978. It is also clear from the interview that the band listened to a recording of the Clouds gig as Dave commented on his playing of 'Toiler'. Now that could be a new 'Holy Grail'.... does it still exist...

Question, several references are made to a track called 'Confused'. I am assuming that this is/was a working title for 'Threatened'. Would you agree?

So here it is in full. Please excuse any typo's... I had to type it out from a poor quality scan.

Record Mirror 25th February 1978

'Warriors of the World Unite

Ronnie (I want to be one of those warriors) Gurr marches into battle with THE STRANGLERS on their secret tour.

THE STRANGLERS must be the most irresistible band currently raking in the greenbacks. While the blue faced media level the required criticisms – screwed up sexists… cathartic chauvinists – The Stranglers carry on their sweet way, selling out gigs and shifting record company product like there was no tomorrow.

Why? More than one music journalist has stated that The Stranglers’ appeal lies in the fact that they are the voice in the wilderness for all the sexually repressed males of the world.

On a superficial level there could be some truth in that. If however, one stops , steps back and thinks it’s clear that that one missing link in the theorem is that about one third of The Stranglers’ audience comprises of ladies., and you can bet your bondage suit that not all of them came for a glimpse of the Burnel ‘hot young stud about town’ torso.

No, surely the band’s forgotten element, music, has more than a little to do with their success factor doncha think? And besides, if people were hell-bent on snapping up vinyl that defames women, then how come Runaways’ albums ain’t up there jostling?

A Tuesday night in Edinburgh and the last thing on the collective minds of the punters at Clouds is resistance. Down below, the art pukeau décor some 800 kids are jigging and simultaneously attempting to give the hall’s foundations the architectural equivalent of a cardiac arrest.

Boy, these crazy kids are doing just the opposite to what the music media has told them. I mean, liking The Stranglers is bad enough, but singing along, imitating the Burnel rubber-leg or the Cornwell knees-bend-sway is a little uncool, a little uncouth. Hmmmmmm… maybe these people haven’t read that this band is musical cholera, or, GASP!... worse still perhaps they don’t even buy rock mags. Which is maybe just as well for The Stranglers.

“We’ve had more bad press than anyone, apart from The Damned, in the past four or five months.” JJ Burnel muses. “Some of it’s been downright slanderous… I’m considering suing two journalists.”

That last statement trails off almost threateningly. Not to worry though, where The Stranglers are concerned I’m totally on their side, a fan. I must admit, however, that I was really hoping they would blow it. On our meeting previous to this I had had a bad day and Burnel was at his most arrogant. As a result I wrote a vitriolic diatribe, which never saw the light of day. So I was poised to write another conformist review and article , but as I ain’t about to write lies, they’d have to blow it first.

Backstage it nearly happened. It’s a strange fact that, when in the company of others, Jean-Jacques adopts a brutally arrogant façade. The others, and indeed Burnel, are their usual amiable selves. Hugh Cornwell sits in a corner sipping lager, answering a fan’s questions, the epitome of Mr Nice GuyDave Greenfield lounges on a chair, cross-legged, sucking his pipe, clutching his ever present shoulder bag. Jet Black is… well simply Jet.

But first, a quick look at the reason why The Stranglers were in Scotand in the first place – the gigs.

Secret gigs may be the conclusive proof that a band has “arrived” and to a certain extent inverted snobbery, but there is no denying that they are the only way to witness a band who have become an economic entity.

A dilemma for a band who, despite selling sewers full of records, want to remain as close as possible to the people who bought those platters. In the secret gig the band can enjoy the gig as much as the audience, and that is what The Stranglers did in Scotland last week. The two dates, which were the third and fourth of  six-date mini-tour took place in Edinburgh and Falkirk.

The tour certainly ain’t playing the more luxurious venues, the gigs preceeding Edinburgh being Scarborough and Alviston. But if the halls are small and cold, then the grandiose warmth of the music is more than making up for those deficiencies. I said in my live review last week that only two of the six new songs had any immediate effect, one of those being ‘Sleazy’, a song which surely must be the next single. It’s possibly the most non-Stranglerised of the new songs, and is a unique synthesis of (Egyptian) reggae and what sounds not unlike a mediaeval French quadrille.
“Yeah, it’s a real roots song,” joked Burnel on hearing my description.

The only other, for want of a better word, classic, which made any impact was ‘Toiler Of The Sea’, a song which features Greenfield on what he describes as the fastest keyboards he has ever played.” On listening to a tape of the gig Greenfield was literally astounded that he “could actually play that fast.”

“I must be good” he chuckled as he disappeared into the sunset… and a master of understatement too I would venture. 

To move from keyboards and return to vocals, on ‘Toiler’ Hugh Cornwell’s vocals bear an uncanny resemblance to a British Jim Morrison as he quirks his way through this lyrical epic.

There then are the two that thudded home. At this point, however, I think I should qualify last week’s review where I dismissed the other newies out of hand. Two nights later in Falkirk I found myself humming the hooks to ‘Sweden’ and ‘Little Chiorboys’ (the latter song which thankfully has lyrically nothing to do with canticles in the cloisters) almost before they had been sung.

The remaining two new creations are ‘Drive Your Own Tank’ which seems to have been inspired by Burnels desire to drive down Park Lane in an armour plated Austin ramming Arabs’ cars, and ‘Confused’ which sounds an appropriate title , I am still not sure about. Pass.

Now then, to deftly return to he of the Rollerisms – Jean-Jacques Burnel. The first question just had to be on… uh… sexism. Any overtly sexist lyrical content on the new album?

“No, or at least I don’t think so.” JJ curtly replies. NOTE: This Burnel at his most arrogant, a virtue (?) which is impossible to convey on paper. 

To continue on the point about the two fronts of Burnel. On my last visit to the Metropolis I had the pleasure of meeting Burnel’s Japanese lady, and well off course you all know what a regressive neanderthal this Frog leather kid is, well her’s the rub, when the man tripped over his lady’s feet he knelt down and apologized in genuine tender tones. Hardly “Beat you honey ‘till you drop.” is it? Similarly, after the Falkirk gig, JJ ushered in three young ladies from his bedroom in what could only be described as an object lesson in gentlemanly etiquette. The point I’m making is that The Stranglers have been totally mis-represented by the music media. Listen…

Now that you’re happily involved with a lady (it looked like love) can we expect to hear a love song from The Stranglers?

“We already do love songs” replied an apparently miffed Burnel, “’Nubiles’ is a love song.”… Aww, come on Jean… ‘Nubiles’ was a very personal fantasy. Hence the scathing press attacks, remember it is not, repeat not a good idea to make a fantasy public.

Have you ever written a love song as opposed to a lust song?

Burnel: “Sure we’ve got a new song called “Tokyo”, which is a love song about clocks.”

It’s at times such as these that one is forced to ask oneself if the man is serious. The nearest that Burnel comes to the crunch is off-stage, where usually in front of press, he is apt to do and say some very silly things.

“I think love is a very false emotion, a fabrication. Showing emotions is a sign of weakness. We should try to eliminate feelings, but still try to do things passionately.” Bleats Burnel in an ever so slightly fanatical croak.

He continues by saying he’s “really into artificial insemination” and that we should try to breed “a race of zombies.” These opinions are delivered in a manner which never comes near to sounding convincing. God knows why these beliefs were publically expressed – perhaps maintenance of his hard press image? Later, in private, he qualifies his quasi-Fascist ideology. The next album, which is to be titled ‘Black And White’ in part reference to the band’s politics.

Burnel: “For the last 25 years the European democratic system has been run by the leftovers. A whole generation was wiped out during World Wr Two and since then we’ve been in grey. There now seems to be a polarisation on all levels, political, scientific, philosophical. Our generation must shape a new Europe and to do that we must build a race of warriors, warriorhood is the only way to govern.”

That smacks of Fascism, I spit, you a Fascist?

“I’d never call myself a Fascist because everyone thinks Fascism is racism, things like that. When I say we must build a race of warriors, I mean warriors not only in physical terms but also on an emotional and intellectual level.” So the spirit of Yukio Mishima, the last of the Samuri, and Burnel’s number one hero, lives on. Mishima, who committed the most elevated form of ritual suicide, was alleged to have been a fascist who had a private army of homosexual youths.

Burnel, however, is emphatic that his followers were noy gays “they were just teenagers who were fed up with American influence.” he states.

Me? I dunno. There is no denying that Burnel’s basic ideology is shaped by Mishima and all things Nipponese, despite my grave doubts about his striving for a brave new world, he is fully convinced that he, and the band as a whole, are the most “honourable” combo on the go.

Disregarding the arrogant, non-sensical public/press façade, he may just have something there. While The Clash chant ‘White Riot’ they are regretting their “we don’t wanna be rich” spiels and the Pistols are out making friends with Ronnir Biggs. The Stranglers are still out playing to the kids.

Since they formed in 1974 this band have gigged harder than almost anyone. They’ve arrived through hard work and the ability to create good singles ad great album tracks. They were heralded by the press, for about two weeks, and before the acclamation they received unbelievably bad press for their live gigs. In fact much of it was probably justified. At the beginning they were, by Burnel’s own admission, “noy very good, but nowhere near as bad as the press made out”. Then, after a peak of critical acclaim around about ‘Rattus Norvegicus’ the brickbats came thick and fast. The experience has left Burnel “cynical” and “paranoid about the press”.

Any messages for hacks in general?

“Not really… I think we’ve proved we’re bigger than the press.”

That’s a dangerous attitude.

“Well we’ve proved that the people are bigger than the press.”

That’s better… and the phenomenon is getting bigger all the time. On the subject of ‘star’ alienation Burnel’s sole comment is that “this, (a four star hotel room) – isn’t exactly on street level.” He sounds almost maudlin about his present state, but it’s a dilemma all rebels face when the product starts moving.

Later he informs me that the band are “honourable” and that their “attitudes are still punk”, still the same.

Still the same as the attitudes which pervaded a band called Johnny Sox who were the pre-cursor of The Stranglers. During the pub rock boom of 1973 Johnny Sox, a band comprising of Cornwell, two Swedes and two American draft dodgers , came to London to seek their fortune.

Unfortunately, it was not to be. The two Swedes split back to the land of their fathers, leaving the remnants of a band. Cornwell incited off-license owner Jet Black to become drummer. Then, coincidence of coincidences, Burnel, on returning frm karate in Kingston-on-Thames, gave a lift to Gerth, one of the dodgers.

When the two Yanks fled to the complete safety of Sweden, Burnel took up bass and presented the other two with his first song – an autobiographical slice of rock ‘n’ roll which he had written as a 15 year old called ‘Go Buddy Go’. Then they discovered Dave Greenfield, a refugee of the sixties Hamburg scene through an ad. The rest, as they say, is history.

After nearly four years, what Burnel describes as once being “a bunch of freaks” (trivia collectors might like to note that Jet Black once has cropped peroxide locks) have become the biggest band to hit Britain since la belle Roxy Music. And with the release of ‘Black And White’ they’ll undoubtedly sustain their momentum.

The record, which will be out late March/early April, will attract the Stranglophiles as well as those who can’t take the formula. It should contain the aforementioned ‘Sleazy’, ‘Toiler Of The Seas’, ‘Sweden (All Quiet On The Eatern Front), a song about the sterility of so-called Swedish socialism, ‘Tank’, ‘Confused’. ‘Choirboys’, which has an almost Byrds-like intro, two songs entitled ‘Do You Wanna?’ and ‘Death And Night And Blood’ which flow into each other.

The former is another Greenfield sung acid anthem, and the latter bears a resemblance to a classical composer who is for the moment forgotten. It has a hymn-like countenance, hardly surprising then when one learns later that the title comes from one of Yukio Mishima’s last speeches.

Also in line for inclusion are a couple more barracuda bass numbers, and a song called ‘Hey’ which features ex-X Ray Spec Laura Logic on saxophone. Looks like being an album of extremes which will live up to the title. Lurking amongst the newer songs will be two or three oldies.

Those of you who have a desire to hear The Stranglers’ rendering of Burt Bacharach’s ‘Walk On By’ which was the last cover version they ever played, and a song called ‘Tits’ (which was a song they played to bottling audiences in the good old days and is “the ultimate insult” to a lousy crowd) should rush round to the dealers and place an order for the album right away.

Jean-Jacques Burnel: “Tonight we were working on two levels. We played in front of 20 million on Top Of The Pops, and at the same time we played to a couple of hundred in Falkirk… I just hope it can last.”

It will Jean, it will.

Friday 19 May 2023

Siouxsie Sioux Paradiso Club Amsterdam 4th May 2023


So here then is Siouxsie performing at the legendary Paradiso Club in Amsterdam. Many thanks to Chatts for sharing this recording!

I do recall an interview with Siouxsie on some long forgotten late night London culture show in which she gave vent against the so-called shoe gazing bands that were all the rage in the early 1990's. She berated them for making no effort to bring any kind of spectacle to fee paying audiences. I get that and from what I have seen of the visuals of this, her current tour, from Youtube clips, I think it is fair to say that she has upheld her side of the bargain... irrespective of her chosen footwear!



Siouxsie Takes To The Stage Once More


A much vaunted musical event happened this month, the Ice Queen of punk made a return to live performance after an absence of ten years. 

I have to say that I was a bit shocked at some of the comments that have been directed at her from members of Banshees related fansites no less on Facebook. For some it seemed nothing was right, the voice, the dress even her choice of footwear was the subject of much ‘critical debate’ Really?

Sioux for many including myself is a punk icon. She had a look and style that appealed to the band’s male and female fans in equal measure…. Girls aspired to achieve her look and boys aspired to dating the girls that achieved the look!

Now, I am not a follower of fashion by any stretch of the imagination but Siouxsie has a great sense of style that she has carried off over the course of five decades. She is touring at the age of 65. Who in their right mind would expect her or want her for that matter to take to the stage in similar gear that her 30 year old self wore!

As to the voice, come on… The Banshees material would I imagine be pretty tough to sing. Siouxsie is blessed with a very distinctive voice and a distinctive voice means much more to me than a voice that is pure and pitch perfect (Joe Strummer?). Debbie Harry has suffered similar criticism since Blondie reformed, but at the end of the day, it is Debbie singing Blondie material! There will be people out there for whom this tour will be the first opportunity that they have had to see Siouxsie and for them I am glad and I am sure that they can live with the odd misplaced note.

I have listened to a couple of the European gigs and to my Burnel battered ears it all sounded pretty good. So good luck to the old girl!

Thursday 18 May 2023

Kick Out! - The Story Of The Newtown Neurotics


Well, better late than never as we British are wont to say. Has it been three years already. Well never mind, the date is now rescheduled and the long anticipated Neurotics film 'Kick Out!' will get its premier at last at that London 'punk Mecca', the 100 Club (who needs Cannes?).

Ticket options, '£20 seated/£15 standing (Limited availability)'. That last bit on any ticket website never fails to induce in me a mild sense of panic. And what to do? What's the right option, to sit? It's a long evening with a film, a Q&A and a live performance. But to sit at a gig is an anathema to me. In the end I plumped for a standing ticket, reasoning that if I were seated my 54 year old bladder will let me down and I will disturb other seated punters on several occasions in the course of the evening's entertainment. Whatever, I am in.

The Newtown Neurotics/Neurotics have occupied a big place in my heart for 40 years now. I have stated on numerous occasions on these pages that my political awakening was down to two main things, The Miner's Strike and Spitting Image. For 12 long months over 1984-1985 Britain witnessed its harshest industrial dispute, a vicious fight between the trade unions and the government of the day. In that time invariably the evening news would lead with the latest in the strike. As the weeks went by the level of violence escalated and pitch bloody battles became common between police and miners. At this time, bands did there bit, all around the country benefit gigs were played and records released. The Neurotics were very much part of this. The track 'The Mind Of Valerie' from the 1985 album 'Repercussions' which concerns the impact of the strike on miners and their families who endured the strike, takes me straight back to that time.

With their uncompromising left wing and antifascist stance it is far to say that they drew in a fair elements intent on breaking up gigs (The Richmond in Brighton being a nasty one!). Thankfully, live I missed most of that and there were some great gigs indeed, particularly the farewell gig at the Fulham Greyhound in 1988. 

Seven years later, I got a job in Harlow (home town of the band) and moved to Bishops Stortford next door. That brought me closer to the band even though they were at that time no more. Steve Drewett would often be in The Square (surely one of the greatest and most lamented venues in the south) when I was there for gigs. It was interest in the Stortbeat label (a late '70's independent label that hosted bands from the Harlow and Bishop Stortford area) that culminated in a brilliant 2005 compilation, that brought the Newtown Neurotics back.

Since that time they have played regularly including prestigious gigs such as Rebellion. And last year they released a new album 'Cognitive Dissidents', their first new material since 1988.

It should be a great night, especially since there battle cry of 'Kick Out The Tories' is perhaps closer to realisation than is has been for many years.

Monday 15 May 2023

Fifty Years In Black

It really is some achievement, 50 continuous years in one of the maddest professions there is. It is strange to think just a few weeks ago, when marking the Rattus anniversary the review hook line from Melody Makers' review of the album cropped up that simply stated 'The music on the album confirms that the Stranglers have little or nothing to offer'. No Nostradamus that hack!

When the Stones advertised their '50 and Counting' tour back in 2012 I think that I rolled my eyes (but then again I have never been a fan of the band!) and now my chosen band have reached (nearly) the same milestone and it makes me feel quite odd, not to say old!

For the nay-sayers, and they are out there, the arguments against the continuation of the band falter somewhat when considered in light of the 'Dark Matters' album. The darkly reflective and in parts damn melancholy (for good reason of course) nature of the album is becoming for a band marking such a monumental birthday.

Who would have thought eh?

Thursday 11 May 2023

Culzean Castle South Ayrshire 12th August 2005


Thanks to malcolm769 for sharing this gig that took place in the fantastic setting of Culzean Castle that overlooks the Firth of Clyde in South Ayrshire. At this point in time Paul was coming close to the end of his tenure as a Strangler. By my counting as the reverberations of 'No More Heroes' faded away into the summer air on this night, he would play only nine further dates with the band. 



01. Intro
02. Norfolk Coast
03. Skin Deep
04. Big Thing Coming
05. Peaches
06. All Day And All Of The Night
07. Always The Sun
08. Long Black Veil
09. Golden Brown
10. Summat Outanowt
11. Walk On By
12. Duchess
13. Lost Control
14. I've Been Wild
15.  (Get a) Grip (on Yourself)
16. Tank
17. No More Heroes
18. Stage Announcement

Tuesday 9 May 2023

Ruts DC Almost Acoustic Spanish Hall Blackpool 5th August 2022


Tomorrow marks the start of the new Ruts DC tour, the so called 'Faces In The Sky/Counter Culture On Tour - Part 2' dates. This tour culminates with a couple of intermate gigs that will launch the new acoustic album 'ElectrAcoustiC' Volume 2 (they do like more than one volume of their albums!)

This acoustic show was played back in August 2022 at Rebellion. I had been asked to hold back on posting this show, which I duly did, since it features new material that has since been released. It was a great little set played to about 500-600 people that were crowded into Spanish Hall. Many thanks to Chatts for the share.



St AndrewsHall Detroit 24th April 1987


Satisfying a request here for some more Dreamtime era shows. This then from the US leg in April 1987.


01. No More Heroes
02. Was It You?
03. Down In The Sewer
04. Nice In Nice
05. Punch And Judy
06. Souls
07. Always The Sun
08. North Winds
09. Big In America
10. Nice ‘N’ Sleazy
11. Who Wants The World?
12. Bring On The Nubiles
13. Shakin’ Like A Leaf
14. Uptown
15. Tank
16. Toiler On The Sea
17. Spain
18. Duchess
19. London Lady

Monday 8 May 2023

Siouxsie And The Banshees The Roundhouse London 11th December 1977


Siouxsie is very much in the news at the moment thanks to her return to the stage last week after an absence of no less than ten years. Here are the Banshees from way back when providing support to Buzzcocks. Many thanks to malcolm769 for the original Dime upload.

Also included is a UK review of the gig which was rather dismissive of the Banshees contribution to the evening.


01. Intro
02. Helter Skelter
03. Mirage
04. Make Up To Break Up
05. Metal Postcard (Mittageisen)
06. Carcass
07. 20th Century Boy
08. Suburban Relapse
09. Love In A Void
10. The Lord's Prayer
11. Bad Shape

This review of the gig appeared in the UK music press just before Christmas 1977 (24th December 1977).

'Already two years ahead of the competition

The Buzzcocks, Siouxsie And The Banshees

'Another music in a different kitchen' the badges say: quite right, it's something else.

The evening builds from the flat, drab monotones of The Worst to the sparkling crescendo of The Buzzcocks at a new creative peak.

The Worst are colourless, humourless, relentless. Pounding monotony for its own sake, each song a plodding excursion into mediocrity. A fair reflection of the world, maybe, and probably intended as such; it frightens some people, fascinates some. It bores me.

Penetration are faster, more accessible with a hard edge to their sound. Straight punk, but with some enthusiasm and aptitude. Pauline sings, leaning out into the audience, then snaps back and skips back and forth across the stage, eyes blank. They get an encore.

The first time I've seen Siouxsie And The Banshees and I realise quickly the similarity, possibly coincidental, between Pauline and Siouxsie's stage manoeuvers. The music is cold again, the mood is cold, a section of the audience bounce frantically to the harsh soundtrack.

The words are mostly inaudible. The songs seem directionless, disjointed. The music is too close to repetitive hard rock for me to enjoy.  

Siouxsie, The Worst and the other bands in that particular kitchen tend too often to create rather than illustrate tedium. The message may be valid, the questions they pose may be important, but they seem to have no answers.

The Buzzcocks no play a set which for variety, courage, intelligence and unaffected musical polish leaves any other group about two years behind.

More significantly, on this evening, their songs, whilst acknowledging the problems, questions and realities of 1977 wasteland, are an affirmation of hope.

Like The Clash, The Buzzcocks are a positive force. "Boedom", "Break Down", "Time's Up" and "What Do I Get" are classic songs of 1977. 

They capture frustration, anxiety and apathybut with their energy and exuberance seek to lift the audience rather than just let them wallow.

Pete Shelley is as perfect as always, communicating with a huge crowd, producing quite unique vocal and guitar stylings. 

The musical polish of The Buzzcocks lies not in indulgent showmanship but in the way they use their simple proficiency.

On an opening instrumental, on the more adventurous epics, "Sixteen", "Pulsebeat" and "Fiction Romance", Shelley and drummer John Maher shine. 

Steve Diggle is beginning to share vocal and guitar work more equally with Shelley. He staggers loosely around the left of the stage while the new bassist kicks and twists stage right.

They flank the motionless, diminutive figure who has put The Buzzcocks on a plane above the new wave mass without compromising the original objectives of the movement. 

New music for new people.

Kim Davis

Tuesday 2 May 2023

Darkadelic The Damned Brilliant Return to Form


The Damned have returned with a brand new album, the much anticipated 'Darkadelic'. As the Damned closed 2022 with a final (probably) Stooge-esque roar of the 1976 incarnation of the band they enter into 2023, their 47th year as a band, with the best album they have produced since 2001's 'Grave Disorder'. Back in the day, The Damned did chaos magnificently and yet by 1980 they were in a position whereby they were finally allowed to acknowledge their individual influences on the material that featured on the 'Black Album'. Forget the pomposity of goth, the original Paul Gray line up produced brilliant psychedelia tinged with darkness. With 'Darkadelic' they have revisited that vibe, one that is for many a Damned fan the essence of the band's sound.

Familiar themes are here, the timeless early science fiction of the 'Invisible Man', the opening track that demands the listener's full and immediate attention. Sensible then takes control with 'Bad Weather Girl' which makes excellent use of Church bells to usher in Captain's guitar solo.

A stand out track for me is 'Beware of the Clown' a reference to Boris Johnson and the kind of hapless politician that have (dis)graced the corridors of power in this country for the last 13 years or so. When I hear this I can almost smell strawberries! Think along the lines of 'Generals'.

'The circus is coming, it's coming to town
A tent full of misfits
To mess you around.'

'Beware of the Clown' by The Damned.

'Western Promise' is another great track, slower and subtle with great choral like backing vocals. Songs like this really showcase Dave Vanian's strengths as a vocalist. 'Wake The Dead' is another belter, with great vocals from Dave again and perfect harmonies to boot. This is a BIG song with all the drama of 'Eloise'!

I have already mentioned the trashing of the Government, but other current early-2020's phenomena are addressed, not least the bizarre existence of so-called influencers, in 'Follow Me'.

'Leader of the Pack' looks at the sad fall from grace of Gary Glitter. I say sad as I used to like him, to the extent that I saw the Gangshow a few times several pre-offence years ago. I remember a few years back too that Captain played a Christmas gig with the Glitter band and rued the fact that because of the terrible behaviour of Gary Glitter we have been robbed of some great songs that will never get airplay again. 

The last track on the album is brilliant, 'Roderick' drips with the melancholy of classic gothic horror. The song is a good companion for 'Beauty Of The Beast'. I am assuming that the Roderick of the song is Roderick Usher, a main character in Edgar Allan Poe's 'The Fall Of The House Of Usher' but here I could be wrong.

It's funny, years ago The Beach Boys and The Beatles were in competition of an artistic kind. When the former released 'Pet Sounds' in 1966, The Beatles responded with 'Sergeant Pepper...' the following year. In like manner when The Stranglers produced 'Dark Matters' to critical acclaim not witnessed for many years, The Damned have responded with their best work for over 20 years. What a brilliant way to draw a lifetime in music to a close (whenever in the not too distant future that may be)!

If you only buy one album this year, make sure it is this one!

20 From '81 (11) Kraftwerk Captain Video Paris 6th July 1981


Back once again to 1981, a great year for music. One band that were at the top of their game were Kraftwerk, then still with the classic line up for a few years yet. Never a prolific touring outfit until Florian left the ranks, they played dates in 1976 and then not again until 1981! In that interval they recorded what most consider to be quintessential Kraftwerk in the form of 'Trans Europe Express' (1977), 'The Man Machine' (1978) and 'Computer World' (1981). As such the world tour that they embarked on in 1981 is the definitive Kraftwerk tour.

Certainly, the shows since have become ever more sophisticated as technology has enabled the band to take their audiences on an immersive musical journey aided by elaborate backing films and 3D technology. Were any other band to use such technology it could be thought of as gimmickry but you kind of expect such measures from Kraftwerk.

But now I am talking about Kraftwerk in the present day, a time when we are far more conversant with all matters technological.... even my Mum has heard of AI! Back in 1981, Kraftwerk were predicting a world where the computer ran the show, whilst for most of us the pinnacle of electronic wizardry was Simon Says!

Unfortunately a couple of tracks on this recent remaster are cut, but the quality is great. Many thanks to  finkployd49 (the original Dime seeder) and to Viv for the remaster.



01. Intro / Numbers
02. Computer World
03. Home Computer
04. Computer Love
05. The Model
06. Neon Lights
07. Radioactivity
08. Stimme Der Energie
09. Ohm Sweet Ohm

01. Autobahn
02. Hall Of Mirrors
03. Les Mannequins
04. Trans Europe Express
05. Le Mini Calculateur
06. The Robots
07. It's More Fun To Compute

Impossible Four - Wixerman


I was contacted a couple of weeks ago by someone who records music under the guise of Wixerman. This is a a track that pays respect to The Stranglers or in his words, 'The Impossible Four'. In his own words, 'I make some of my own music, I am shamelessly plugging a track I wrote and recorded about The Stranglers, in their early style, it does poke a little bit of fun at my childhood heroes.'