18 January 2018 (released)
18 January 2018
Before Stiff Little Fingers there was a Belfast punk band that was bigger, better and badder than their city contemporaries. That band was the Outcasts. A true band of brothers, with three siblings in the original line up, and with a bothersome reputation to boot. Their gigs in the city's infamous Harp Bar were not for the fainthearted. Intense, often dangerous but always unmissable.
Belfast in the seventies was a dangerous place. For everyone. For those with spiked hair and silly clothes that mocked the norm, every day saw a battle to avoid confrontation.
Outcasts by Choice documents the history of the band from this most troublesome of times through to today by way of band members' testimony and includes some fascinating footage of the band in the early days of punk as well as a contribution from former manger Terri Hooley who was immortalised in the 2013 movie Good Vibrations which starred Richard Dormer as the eponymous Hooley.
Supporting evidence comes by way of the sucker fish that fed off this big fish in a small musical pond and that came to be known and feared as the Locusts. This motley crew of parasitical punks is represented on film by one Mickey Cassidy whose testimony on the times is both poignant and humourous.
The film is a labour of love from long-time fan and director Paul Mc Carroll, who shot the recent band footage as he toured with The Outcasts around Europe at a time when pension is starting to mean more to them than cheap continental digs.
But it is much more than the history of a Belfast band. For although it charts musical birth and development of The Outcasts, it also measures personal development as the protagonists move from a particular and peculiar time of punk to where they find themselves today and speak of how punk sensibilities remain and influence their lives.
If there is a criticism it could be said that he included too many tunes from the band's early repertoire and not enough of their later more accomplished songwriting. But at its essence it is a film about people and the effect punk played on their lives and how it continues to influence them some 40 years later.
This documentary has been well-received at screenings across Europe and the US and is now available to rent or buy through loudandfast.com.