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Stiff Little Fingers - Falmouth 15/8/08

By Steve Grenfell

Now, I don�t want to overstate this. There are loads of things that depress me
more.  Monday mornings for a start,  and the governments 2% pay limit � they
really do get me down. But one of the other things that leaves me with a nasty,
empty feeling is that bit on Never Mind the Buzzcocks where they reveal the
mystery guest from years ago and say Yes, its number 4, after 30 years he�s
still touring (with none of the original line-up) knocking out the same half a dozen
songs throughout  Eastern Europe and small provincial towns in the UK.

So, I�ve got to say that it was with a bit of a heavy heart that I went to see SLF
playing in a 500 capacity venue in Falmouth. Did I really want to see something that
was going to do no good to my memories of a very important era to anyone who was a
teenager in 1979? Jake Burns� first words, didn�t help -�Christ, you�re in a fucking out of the way corner down here!� True, I thought, but you should be used to that by now. Here we go, we�re in for a
grudging 45 minutes of them going through the motions and forcing us to listen to a
pile of recent songs. I couldn�t have been more wrong.

If you had to nominate your favourite all time sentence to open a gig, I�ll bet
that right up there would be something close to Jake Burns� �We�re not here to
sell you anything, so we�re just going to play all our old stuff and have a good
time.� They did and the crowd fed off it. Fat balding 40 somethings, students, and
spotty young punks. We were all treated to everything we wanted to hear, from Tin
Soldiers and Barbed Wire Love through to the encore of Johnny Was and, of course,
ending with a fantastic rendition of Alternative Ulster. The line up of Burns and
Ali McMordie (from SLF�s heyday) together with Steve Grantley and Ian McCallum
banged out every number (through a crap system) with bags of enthusiasm and energy.
They�ve got to be sick of this set by now, but you really get the impression that
they�re still loving it and want the crowd to have a great time.

The way Burns talks you also believe that he�s still genuinely fond
of these songs after all these years.  If you were around in the late 70s, or if you�ve discovered punk since, or if you just want a dose of energy to get you through the next depressing Monday morning,
you�ve got to look up SLF the next time they�re anywhere near you.








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