At the O2 Academy, Newcastle, U.K., March 16, 2018

STIFF LITTLE FINGERS (Live at the O2 Academy, Newcastle, U.K., March 16, 2018)
Photo: Mick Burgess

There’s something quite heartening about a band, over four decades into their career, who tours hard, every single year, yet still manages to sell out their shows. For Belfast Punk legends, Stiff Little Fingers, this boils down to two things. Firstly, they always take care to bring along a top quality special guest out on the road with them and this time Ruts DC with their forceful Dub Reggae Punk were hugely impressive with the classics In A Rut, Staring At The Rude Boys and Babylon’s Burning all going down a storm alongside the more recent Kill The Pain and Music Must Destroy showing that there’s still plenty of fire in the tanks.

Secondly and most importantly, the fans keep coming back year after year in such large numbers because SLF are such an exciting live band that consistently delivers. A band of this age really shouldn’t have so much musical energy but right from the opening Go For It, it was non-stop pure Punk power with original bassist Ali McMordie never still for as much as a second.

Over the next hour and a half, they raided their illustrious back catalogue to deliver a slew of classics from Nobody’s Hero, Wasted Life, Tin Soldiers and their big hit single, At The Edge all sounding far punchier than their studio counterparts with the vocals of frontman and one-time Newcastle resident, Jake Burns sounding particularly strong.

With Roots, Radicals, Rockers and Reggae bringing a lively Reggae vibe to the show and Barbwire Love offsetting the political content of many of their songs, SLF mixed things up nicely.

It’s been four years since their last studio album, No Going Back, so a run through a previously unheard Tilting At Windmills with its drum driven backbeat was a good pointer to their forthcoming new release.

It’s always difficult for new songs to sit within a set of long established classics but My Dark Places from their last album has quickly achieved classic status in its own right taking its place next to the gold plated Punk classics Alternative Ulster and Suspect Device, the opening chords of both which managed to spark a mini riot from the crowd who clearly had the time of their lives.

Review and Photos By Mick Burgess


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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