28 March 2014 (gig)
30 March 2014
The truth is there isn’t that much new to say about Stiff Little Fingers. They’ve ploughed their furrow for nigh on 40 years and had highs and lows as all bands of their vintage tend to have. While their recorded output has been patchy it’s on stage where this band are most comfortable. While the new material is ok, it’s their formidable back catalogue that this most sociable (and surprisingly diverse in age and gender) of audiences come to hear, time after time.
First up we had Love Zombies whose singer jumped around a lot and sounded like Klaus Nomi; energetic punk but not much else. The Godfathers should have been all conquering but hampered by poor sound they didn’t really manage to grab the audience like they usually do. Nevertheless, the band plugged on with Peter Coyne in fine voice, stalking the stage like mugger on a mission.
And so to Stiff Little Fingers who also had a muddy sound to contend with and a new album – the first for ten years – to play. It gets a good airing, with the likes of My Dark Places and When We Were Young sitting pretty well with the evergreen Silver Linings. The band were was as tight as you’d expect with Jake Burns, and occasionally Ian McCallum, in good voice though Burns pre-song banter was for the most part unintelligible. While they are at the poppier end of the punk sound, they’re can mix it up with The Specials, Doesn’t Make it Alright followed by Roots, Radicals Rockers and Reggae.
This is all familiar territory to the seasoned SLF crowd and as much fun as the aforementioned were, it was the classics and closing act of Barb Wire Love, Tin Soldier and a manic Suspect Device that got the audience really moving and singing. Encoring with a moving Johnny Was, and the blistering one-two of At The Edge and Alternative Ulster, no one could really have asked for anymore from the band.