Stiff Little Fingers @ The Empire, Middlesbrough 25/10/11

Don’t believe them, Don’t believe them, Don’t be bitten twice, you gotta suss, suss, suss, suss, suss out, Suss suspect device. (Suspect Device. Stiff Little Fingers 1978)

This morning I woke up with this tune buzzing in my head. What a great song. But had I been to a great gig?
Maybe I wasn’t old enough, maybe I had too much of my own hair, maybe I didn’t have enough tatoos, maybe I just never liked them that much……… maybe bands should just pack in before they get too old…… maybe “punk” bands shouldn’t do covers of Alice Cooper!!!! Maybe I should just shut up and let people get on with what they enjoy!!!!!
So, Stiff Little Fingers at the Empire in sunny Middlesbrough. Were they any good? Well, I’d say the packed out venue was testament to the fact people still want to see these boys live. They’ve been strutting their stuff since 1977!!! And by the sweaty pogoing and smiles on faces I would say most had a great time. My confession is that I was never that big a fan. If I was this wouldn’t have been my first time seeing them. I would own more than four singles. I would know more than the words to the five songs I recognise. I would be part of this experience but I dont and I’m not. Actually I quite enjoyed the songs I knew; Fly the Flag, Alternative Ulster, Suspect Device, At the Edge and Tin Soldiers. But the rest kind of washed over me. The lads I went with are die-hard fans and they loved it. People had come from near and far and they all seemed to be having a great time.
With the announcement that The Stone Roses are to reform, the debate about bands getting back together or carrying on well past their sell by date is very topical. Should bands who started in 1977 still be playing in 2011? Should bands who haven’t released a decent album since 1989 be selling out arenas in minutes 22 years later?? Who cares is probably the right answer. If people want to see SLF and The Stone Roses live and SLF and The Stone Roses still want to play live then its up to them and their fans. No one is forcing anyone to go or take part. My only thought would be what the young Jake Burns would have said to a band in 1977 who had formed in 1943 but were still playing. Would he have been all “punk rock” and told them that it was quite sad that their four best numbers were written between 1943 and 1945. Would he have laughed at their choice of cover version? Schools Out for Summer written by Alice Cooper in 1938 by this warped scenario!!! Anyway who am I to talk? In the last year or so I have seen Echo & the Bunnymen, The Wedding Present, Roddy Frame and Martin Stephenson. In a few weeks I am off to see Billy Bragg. If tickets get cheap enough I will go to see The Stone Roses. So let people get on with it. Did people enjoy last nights gig? Yes. Did I? Parts were good, and overall I had a good night. Would I go and see them again? No.

A big thank-you to Ash at the Empire. Loads of great gigs coming up at this splendid venue. (see link below)

LINKS:

THE EMPIRE: http://www.theempire.co.uk/home.html

STIFF LITTLE FINGERS: http://www.slf.com/homebase.cfm

By peter on October 26, 2011


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