live review

Stiff Little Fingers

Stiff Little Fingers

Reviewed by Marcus
29th March 2010

It’s good to be a lad In Christchurch!

On a Thursday night!! No really…. Especially on the night of a Stiff Little Fingers gig.

To be standing on a deserted South Brighton beach with the sound of the waves and reflection of the moon 15 minutes after the final encore of one of punks most seminal, (whatever that means) bands, makes up for the fact that we only get such seminal bands once a year, if we’re lucky. There has to be some reasons why we choose to live in Christchurch. Only passing one security car and cop the whole way home makes for a quick journey home! But the gig, the one that people had traveled the length of the island to see. I’d say it was worth a trip from Invercargill, although you’d want to have the Friday off and make a long weekend of it.

These gigs where the band that you idolized back in the 80s have somehow miraculously come to your home town, 25 years after they were your favourite band can either be the best fucking thing you have heard in ages, or as is just as probable, be the most tragic. I can say now, if you liked SLF way back, don’t miss seeing them, if for the memories alone. It was impossible not to get up and shove total strangers around a sweaty dance floor. Only at a good punk gig can you be excused and get away with elbowing someone in the chin. It isn’t often that men well into middle age have the perfect excuse to “be who we are”, the catch cry of the night. The over 30s were given a bit of breathing space by being thrown to the more civilised back of the crowd, feeling like a heart attack was imminent- it sounded better back there anyhow. This was all about having a good bloody night out, at a gig that I never thought I would see. Stiff Little Fingers main man Jake Burns has been fronting the band for 30 years, in one form or another. And they sounded as good, if not better than they would have when the anthems, and I don’t use that lightly, were first played, due mostly to better tech- the Soundpeople’s PA sounded as good as you get for a guitar band in the Civic. The venues acoustics are usually shoddy, and as for the false fire evacuation, they still haven’t sorted all that out- yeah, straight after Suspect Device, one of SLFs “hits”, there were cops on stage, giving the impression they were there to close it all down. There’s always at least one fucking idiot that has to be “to punk” and flick the fire alarm. In hind sight giving the police woman who foolishly stood on stage the big boos was rather childish but hey it was a punk gig and it was almost as if it was part of the show- all the best gigs get closed down by the pigs don’t they?

So 700 drunk has been punks out on Manchester Street is just asking for a riot you’d think. Maybe it was too cold for such rash behaviour. Then the wait, were they going to come back on, or were we going to be left with Suspect Device as the last, adept song. Thankfully they came back on and finished in style with a better version of Johnny Was than Bob Marley- though I unfortunately have to admit I’ve never saw Bob Marley play it live. Finishing it all off was Alternative Ulster, a classic tune for a classic band on a classic night. And here’s the message, if you love music, and your yesteryear favourite band plays near you, go and relive your youf.

The other message tonight was be who you are! The crowd were embracing it, sweat on the dance floor, and a few friendly scuffles- hey it was a punk gig right?

It made me feel it’s a good thing to be a lad on the Thursday night in Christchurch, especially if you’re at a Stiff Little Fingers gig!

Reviewed by Marcus

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