at The City Hall, Newcastle, U.K., March 18, 2022

STIFF LITTLE FINGERS (Live at The City Hall, Newcastle, U.K., March 18, 2022)
Photo: Mick Burgess

It’s been two long years since Stiff Little Fingers were due to play their 20/20 Vision tour but at last, they finally made it while no doubt leaving a few fans frantically scrabbling around in the bottom of their drawers trying to find their tickets at the last minute.

First up though was former The Adverts frontman TV Smith delivering a biting acoustic set of protest and dissent while tapping into the recent pandemic with “Lockdown Holiday” and of course Top 20 classic “Gary Gilmore’s Eyes” elicited an exuberant response.

With a pretty quick turnaround, it was no time before The Professionals were launching into “Easily Lead”. Featuring Sex Pistols legend, Paul Cook on the drums and Tom Spencer, former guitarist with The Lurkers, on lead vocals, this was one rip roaring ride of spirited, energetic Punk including “123” and “Kick Down The Door” from their 1980 self-titled debut and “Spike Me Baby” from the recently released SNAFU opus with a barnstorming take on the Pistols “Silly Thing” thrown in to really stir it up.

It may have been St. Patrick’s Day the previous day, but the whole atmosphere and buzz carried forward into the rather packed City Hall who were chomping at the bit to catch Belfast’s finest, Stiff Little Fingers make their first appearance in the venue in almost 40 years.

They simply couldn’t fail on a Friday night in Newcastle and opening up with the swift upper-cut of “Suspect Device” and hit single “At The Edge” set the pace that they never let up on.

For the next hour and a half, they delivered exactly what the increasingly lively crowd wanted from “Wasted Life” to “Fly The Flag”, “Just Fade Away” and “Nobody’s Hero” from their early classic albums.

“Safe As Houses” was played for Phil Lynott, in tribute to the Thin Lizzy star’s influence on frontman Jake Burns who then dedicated the war themed love song, “Barbed Wire Love” to the people of the Ukraine.

The crowd throughout were so up for a good time. Ageing Punks bustled with fans who weren’t even born when SLF first hit their heights but they were joined together by a mutual love of classic Punk Rock and when the riff to “Alternative Ulster” kicked in, the stalls exploded into a swirling moshpit with crowd surfers cascading overhead. Quite a sight and testament to a rollicking good night.

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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