STIFF LITTLE FINGERS RETURN TO THE BARRAS FOR ST PATRICK'S DAY SHOW
Irish punk veterans Stiff Little Fingers brought their annual St Patrick's Day show back to Glasgow. The band were supported this year by London old guard The Ruts DC, who included the classic tracks 'Babylon's Burning' and 'Staring At The Rude Boys' in their 45 minute warm up set.
Time for SLF to enter the famous Barrowlands Ballroom. Bands and artists all over the world champion this venue for the atmosphere and acoustics and combined with the Glasgow audience, it’s a concert venue hard to beat. Jake Burns, lead singer with SLF is one totally in this camp, and why the Irish band continuously bring their St Patrick's Day show to Glasgow. ‘It’s the best f*cking audience in the world’ he is quoted as saying. Who are we to argue?
Joining Burns on stage are original bass player Ali McMordie, guitarist Ian McCallum who joined in 1993, and drummer Stephen Grantley who took over the sticks in 1996. This lineup is as good as the band has ever been with Burns and McCallum on guitar reading each other’s minds, complimented by the thumping bass of McMordie and tremendous percussion of Grantley.
Entering the stage to instrumental 'Go For It' - from the 1981 album of the same name - SLF were like boxers ready to do battle. This always gets the crowd revved up and ready to rock. 'Wait & See', 'Nobody’s Hero' and 'Gotta Getaway' all from the 1980 album Nobody’s Heroes kick off the evening as the band get into their groove, and sound as fresh now as they did 38 years ago. The years may be accumulating but Stiff Little Fingers show no sign of slowing down, some of the songs played at a speed that bands half their age would do well to match.
They continue to plough thru their setlist, dipping tonight into the extensive back catalogue from 1979 debut album Inflammable Material thru to 1997’s Tinderbox. Jake Burns announces the songs and the stories behind them, always an interesting listen to how the music came about and the inspiration behind the songs. One such inspiration was drawn from Coventry’s The Specials, SLF paying homage to them with a fabulous cover of 'Doesn’t Make It Alright', a regular in the band's set for a number of years. The classics kept coming though: 'Wasted Life', 'At The Edge', 'Tin Soldiers' were among those that followed, with SLF closing their set with the anthem 'Alternative Ulster' from Inflammable Material.
Another St Patrick's show comes to an end; and another crowd leaves hot, sweaty and weary legged into the now snowy Glasgow night already looking forward to next year’s gig. SLF at The Barras is a night which never disappoints, and tonight was no exception. A tremendous gig, turning back the years as if it was 1978 at the famous Glasgow Apollo all over again. If you get the chance to catch the band before the tour ends, only advice is… GO FOR IT!!!
STIFF LITTLE FINGERS SETLIST: BARROWLANDS, GLASGOW - 17th March 2018
- Wait and See
- Nobody's Hero
- Gotta Getaway
- Can't Believe in You
- Roots, Radicals, Rockers & Reggae
- Safe as Houses
- Barbed Wire Love
- Tilting At Windmills
- Just Fade Away
- Is That What You Fought the War For?
- Doesn't Make it Alright (The Specials cover)
- (I Could Be) Happy Yesterday
- Wasted Life
- My Dark Places
- At the Edge
- Tin Soldiers
- Suspect Devices
- Johnny Was (Bob Marley & The Wailers cover)
- Alternative Ulster