REVIEW: Stiff Little Fingers Bring 40th anniversary celebration to Brighton

Stiff Little Fingers and Theatre Of Hate, Concorde 2, Brighton, March 9

Thursday, 23rd March 2017, 12:02 pm
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 3:34 am
Stiff Little Fingers

Stiff Little Fingers wisely chose the excellent Concorde 2 as the opening night of their 16-date 40th anniversary UK tour.

These four boys (frontman Jake, bassist Ali, guitarist Ian and drummer Steve) hail from Belfast and have over the years penned a fine collection of political and personal punk ditties.

In fact, they were the first ever act to gain a Top 20 album while still signed to an independent record label.

Stiff Little Fingers

I can fondly remember back in the day listening to John Peel playing their early ‘Suspect Device’ and ‘Alternative Ulster’ singles, both of which had an enthusiastic outing in Brighton.

This gig felt like a double-bill as Stiff Little Fingers were supported by the timeless post-punk Theatre Of Hate.

Kirk Brandon’s tribal five-piece Theatre Of Hate have really stood the test of time in my eyes. Their music has a wonderful off-kilter sound and their Brighton gig reflected this. They sound exactly as good as they were back in 1980.

On stage, mesmerising frontman Kirk held the fort and was more than adequately backed-up by accomplished bassist Stan Stammers and drummer Danny Ferrani. They performed an all-too-short set that included ‘63’, ‘Original Sin’, ‘Do You Believe In The Westworld’, ‘Propaganda’ and (arguably the highlights) ‘Legion’ and ‘Conquistador’.

Theatre Of Hate

Stiff Little Fingers followed with an enthusiastic 90-minute set. The full capacity crowd (including punk-royalty Jordan) were certainly madly moshing at the front.

I personally found their set a mixed blessing with some tracks I just couldn’t get into, whereas others like ‘Barbed Wire Love’, ‘Straw Dogs’, ‘Roots, Radicals, Rockers and Reggae’ were great. Highlights for me were ‘Johnny Was’ and best of all ‘Tin Soldiers’.

I have to congratulate the brave singer Jake Burns on discussing his bouts of depression with the crowd and telling them the best advice is to talk to someone about it. Sound advice indeed!

In conclusion, this year is panning out very nicely as the 40th anniversary of punk. Who’d a thought it, eh?

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