Wednesday, 13 January 2010

645 STIFF LITTLE FINGERS, Oxford Zodiac, Thursday 7 October 2004

Dragged Rachel kicking and screaming along to this, a night of vintage punk rock from one of the true originals, as the Big Man was following his current loves Bowling For Soup (for us, that's tomorrow!). So we headed down a little late, parking up at 1/4 to 9 and getting into the venue just as the support (whoever they were) were finishing off their set. Got the drinks in and took a spot stage left, just to the left of a yawning moshpit of old punks and fat skinheads. Just like the old days!

SLF kept us waiting until 9.40 - nearly 20 minutes after their scheduled entrance time - before the "Guitar And Drum" entrance music heralded their arrival to an anticipating crowd. The old boys burst into "At The Edge", setting the tone for a frantic, exciting and energetic set (belying the band's advanced years) of classy, classic punk rock, drawn mainly from the 70's-early 80's SLF incarnation. Vocalist Jake Burns was his usual fulsome, passionate and convicted self, introducing old and new numbers alike with tirades against Bush, the government, the military, and oppression/ discrimination generally against Irish and working class folk. Given the current political climate, these songs and statements seem more relevant now than ever; a shame the crowd of old punkers seemed to be there mainly to drink and pogo, rather than listen.

No matter; SLF showed once again age is no barrier to greatness, with a fine, hard rocking sweaty performance. Highlights for me were the sing-along protest of "Each Dollar A Bullet", the skank of "Doesn't Make It All Right" and the brilliant, tense "Tin Soldiers". "Alternative Ulster" - which Rach likened to the "Fraggle Rock" theme tune! - rounded things off as usual, for a set which didn't do it for Rach, I'm afraid, but which still worked for this old punk rocker!

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