The Mancunion

Britain's biggest student newspaper

Live: Stiff Little Fingers

Stiff Little Fingers bring back the glory days of the guitar and drum with a punk masterclass at The Ritz


14th March 2013

HMV Ritz Manchester



The weeks surrounding St.Patrick’s day are often testing times for lager/alcho-pop drinking Englishmen, doing their best to stomach the symbolic Irish Stout. But amidst the celebrations there was another famous Irish export in town, this was by no means for the feint hearted.

Stiff Little Fingers are punk royalty; drawing inspiration from The Clash, and going on to inspire future greats like Green Day, SLF were, and still are iconic players on the punk scene. Despite such a heritage the fingers faithful are predominantly of the ‘middle-aged’ variety, but don’t let that fool you – these guys mean business. Kicking off proceedings with sing-a-long classic ‘Go for it’ the crowd took Mr.Burns rather literally; I believe the technical term is going ‘ape shit’.

Treating the crowd to three new tunes from the much anticipated new album, Jake Burns reflects on his years of depression with songs like ‘My dark places’ telling the struggle of getting off your arse and back on your feet. We’re also treated a classic cover in the form of The Specials ‘It doesn’t make it alright’ which is turned into a typical up-tempo fingers driving anthem (note: ‘driving’, ‘anthem’ not ‘driving anthem’ ala Meatloaf).

SLF have always been fantastic musicians, creating interesting melodic punk whilst also being able to parody themselves with punk/barber shop staple ‘Barbed wire love’. Jake Burns continues to hit those soaring highs, ensuring the music loses none of its urgency or potency. The 22 song set list is laden with some of the finest punk songs ever written, and the night is of course topped off with the jagged juggernaut that is ‘Alternative Ulster’ – sending The Ritz into a state of pandemonium.

It’s SLF’s ability to remain angry, involved and relevant that separates this tour from other shambolic 60-somethings parading around on stage.