Saturday, 30 January 2010

610 STIFF LITTLE FINGERS, plus support, Oxford Zodiac, Tuesday 7 October 2003

After returning from Boston, it didn't take long to get back into UK gigging! I spotted this one on, and roped in fellow old punk The Big Man, who joined me instead of a reluctant Rachel. He drove and we hit the half-full venue at 7.30 to find we were amongst the youngest punters there! Stayed in the bar during the terrible young support acts' set. The black beret-clad, boggly eyed singer was a total dick!

Rich and I then bagged a spot, stage left, and took in the vintage punk rock PA soundtrack (UK Subs, Slaughter and the Dogs, Johnny Thunders) whilst reflecting on the fact of those around us - and ourselves of course - growing old disgracefully! SLF joined us onstage at 9.45, via their familiar, anthemic intro music, which got the punks down the front jumping. Clad in matching bright blue shirts, with Jakes' shirt sporting the word "Elvis", and bassist Bruce Foxton's bearing a print of Joe Strummer's face, they then launched into a new number, "Strummerville", a strident and entirely appropriate tribute to the late Clash vocalist. A mixture of old and new followed, the early numbers notable for a folky "Each Dollar A Bullet" about the IRA's US funding, and a jagged "Roots Rockers".

However, after "Bits Of Kids", which Jake introduced as a "nearly hit", the band noticeably upped their commitment and passion level, and ripped through the final half-dozen numbers, all oldies, with heightened punk rock venom. A breathless "Tin Soldiers" was my highlight, but it was all good stuff, matching anything I've seen so far this year for power, commitment and dynamism, The clarion call to arms of "Alternative Ulster", still as true today as ever, ended the first encore, and the final "Suspect Device" was almost incidental after that. Nevertheless, Stiff Little Fingers once again proved that old punk rockers don't fade away, they still burn as fiercely as ever!

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