Concert Review: Stiff Little Fingers, September 14, Lee’s Palace


A funny thing happened at Sunday night’s Stiff Little Fingers show that kind of took me by surprise – a couple songs in to their set a small mosh pit broke out. I know how absurb that sounds – it’s a punk show so why wouldn’t there be moshing? But as I surveyed the crowd beforehand, I noticed many more instances of grey hair and male pattern baldness than I did mohawks, so I figured this was an old man punk rock show and nothing too crazy would come to pass. It was a Sunday night after all. Yet as it turns out, the Belfast punks still have the ability to work a crowd into a frenzy, proving themselves to be still vital after all these years.

While their set was full of classics from the heyday of their career, Stiff Little Fingers are not content to simply coast on their past success. The band was touring behind their most recent record, the crowdfunded No Going Back. As singer Jake Burns announced, the album had entered the charts, something the band hadn’t accomplished since 1982. And while Burns quipped that “it went straight out again,” he was surprised to find that it had made it to #1 on the rock charts in the UK. This is something another well known Irish band might want to take note of since Stiff Little Fingers were able to accomplish that feat without forcing themselves uninvited onto everyone’s iTunes. It’s well deserved too, as the new album is quite good – far better than we tend to expect from bands who have been around for 37 years. That said, they did only play 3 songs off of it since they’ve got a few others that people might want to hear too. They’re very considerate like that.

Of the new songs, the standout was “My Dark Places,” introduced by Burns as being a song about depression.  He took an opportunity at that point to take a shot at KISS bassist Gene Simmons’ recent controversial comments on the subject, adding, “Don’t listen to Gene Simmons. He’s a dickhead.”  Other highlights included their cover of The Specials’ “Doesn’t Make It Alright”( which Burns admitted they “stole” from The Specials, going so far as to try and release their version first) and “Silver Lining,” a song about trickle down economics, which Burns explained didn’t work because “all it meant was those who were already rich pissed on our heads.”  Of course they ended their set off with some stone cold classics, “Suspect Device” and “Alternative Ulster” and everybody went home happy.

Posted on by Paul in Concerts

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