STIFF LITTLE FINGERS Thursday 26th March 2015 at the Forum, London
I arrived late at the Forum after the support acts had finished but still in time to catch Stiff Little Fingers’s famous warm up tune before they came out blinking into the bright lights and the simple stage set of North London’s Forum venue. They weren’t messing around either, launching directly into a crowd pleasing ‘Nobody’s Heroes’ followed up by another couple of early classics. More recent songs are heralded with the arrival of the menacing ‘Full Steam Backwards’ from the bands recent No Going Back album. It’s a brilliant song about how life can all fall apart when during the financial crisis others flitted in and out of your life, took your money and left you “out on your fucking ear”. That line is delivered with such unexpected venom it takes you aback a little. Also aired from the new album is ‘My Dark Places’, a searingly honest and personal look at singer Jake Burn’s long battle with depression. Setting the scene prior to starting the song he extolled the crowd to talk to people, to get help if they ever found themselves in a similar situation. It was heartening to see a warm reception for his words, maybe it struck a chord with many in the admittedly predominantly early fifty something audience. Also getting a decent reception was ‘Bits oF Kids’. Burns first talked about the ‘Now Then’ album that spawned it as dividing opinion with a mixture of great and not very good songs. He jokingly happily took credit for the good ones but claims he wasn’t there for the others!
Of course there were a great deal of classic SLF songs to run through too, a quite frankly thunderous start to ‘Tin Soldiers’ and a very lively ‘Suspect Device’ gets the crowd jumping up and down at the front while a mellower cover of the Specials “Doesn’t Make It Alright’ gives everyone a breather. Jake’s voice is on fine form, a great deal less raspy than it was on those early singles but now carrying the lyrics effortlessly. ‘Wasted Life’ sounds superb, building up from its opening plea into a raging tirade. Coming back for one last time at the end ‘Alternative Ulster’ sends the crowd home happy on a high and gets me spending the next day spinning all those old essential 7″‘s. So many great songs to choose from, all delivered with that SLF grit that has been there right from the start and that still persists to this day.
Jake Burns – on fine form at the Forum
SLF at the Forum
SLF at the Forum
Stiff Little Fingers at the Forum, London