Live Review: Stiff Little Fingers - Rock City, Nottingham 21/03/2017
When your career spans over 40 years, it’s clear you’re doing something right. last month saw Nottingham’s Rock City host Belfast punks Stiff Little Fingers, who are still clear contenders in their scene, with 10 studio albums under their belt, and a consistent fan base upholding their prestigious legacy.
Opening the evening, Theatre of Hate. With Rock City’s main hall having already filled out in anticipation, it was clear I was in for a treat. Much like SLF, the band have stuck around for decades, with new material proclaiming their revival last year. From the off, frontman Kirk Brandon seemed to be instilling life into the band’s old repertoire, bouncing around frantically with clenched fists. As well as the dated hits, newer material such as Ukraine Girl went down a treat, with the crowd seeming more than enthusiastic to sample their new catalogue. Bassist Stan Stammers was the stand out for me, with vivacious bassline pulsating through the venue whilst showcasing hits like Legion and Propaganda. Ending on classic single Do You Believe in the Westworld went down a treat, bringing each melodic element together in perfect harmony.
With these guys being a prominent asset to my childhood soundtrack, it was hard not to be excited to hear some of their biggest hits in front of such an irrefutably enthusiastic crowd. Opening with the infamous Go for It signified a rowdy crowd from the off, with the whole venue chanting in unison. Opener Breakout kept spirits high, with front man Jake Burns proclaiming his thanks shortly after.
The 40th anniversary meant SLF’s back catalogue would be dusted off, with old hits having the opportunity to resurface. Comprising of twenty tracks, the set consisted of an inarguable amount of material, from Barbed Wire Love (from their first studio album) to My Dark Places from most recent release, No Going Back. Personal favourite Roaring Boys hadn’t been played live in over a decade, and was an incredible asset to their already impressive set. Burns took the time to discuss important matters between hits, proclaiming how protest hit Each Dollar a Bullet’s message is still sadly as relevant today as before; his passion signified roars throughout the venue.
Fan favourites Suspect Device, Gotta Getaway and encore hit Alternative Ulster signified moshing from front to back, proclaiming a restoration of the 1970’s for the evening. When a band can still create such a significant atmosphere after 40 years, it is truly incredible to witness. Sounding better than handfuls of bands who come through Rock City, it’s no surprise they can still draw in the masses. With drummer Steve Grantley still sounding as tight as ever, combined with the riffs of Ian McCallum and the bassline of Ali McMordie, it’s certain SLF will maintain their legacy for years to come.
Words by Cait Briggs and Photography by Ryan Winstanley