My last gig before getting married to Rachel turned into one of my stag events; that is, Rach said, "I don't want to go see that horrible punk band again, so go with your mates!"
So on that pretext, I talked old punks Rich and Peej, curious party Ady and obligated best man Tim into coming along, and we headed off in Ady's new big bad jeep, eventually finding our circuitous way to the venue, situated behind a large car park, at 8. The venue itself was an old Corn Exchange/ Market Hall type of place, elegantly run-down - just like ourselves... and tonight's headliners!
Support 4 Ft. Fingers were loud, disjointed and crap, and largely ignored by this crowd of old punks, young punks and punk families! I remarked, "I'd rather be picking fluff out of my bellybutton than be watching this shower... if I had a bellybutton!", a quote which made it into Tim's Best Man speech!
We wandered to a vantage point near the front, stage left, for the Fingers at 9.45, coming on as usual to the "Guitar And Drum" intro, setting the buoyant scene. The band bounded onstage, old punks still angry and still with something to say, and ripped straight into opener "Tin Soldiers", a venomous yet tuneful anti-Army rant. "Roots Rockers" and "Nobody's Hero" followed in quick succession; this lot were in a hurry tonight, and the crowd, only half-full in this large hall, nevertheless were straight into the mood. "First time we've been to Frome - a bit out of the way, isn't it?" asked Jake, echoing our sentiments on the way down. The set was the usual collection of older numbers and newer, more politically-specific songs - an early "Silver lining" ("our attempt at a Motown song," quoth Jake) and "Just Fade Away",a couple of their later original songs, were both surprisingly good, and the band deviated from the usual beaten track to play some less familiar newies.
"Barbed Wire Love" however prompted a really cool moment as we all linked arms and swayed along to the 50's pastiche mid-section. A lot of fun! This, of course, was the key to this gig. Ragged around the edges their performance may have been, and Jake may have slipped up on the lyrics of a couple of numbers, but this was a whole chunk of fun. Even the newer stuff such as "Strummerville" is becoming increasingly familiar, and the anthemic, sing-along material fitted the mood and occasion. A superb "Fly The Flag", with Jake's usual "Rule Britannia" wanker sign, was a late highlight, before the inevitable "Wasted Life" and "Suspect Device" set closers. A surprising "Johnny Was" encore, lengthy and convoluted, was nevertheless splendid, and "Alternative Ulster", venomous as ever, capped an excellent evening which we all enjoyed, even the more press-ganged among us. Stiff Little Fingers - the perfect punk rock stag evening band!