Stiff Little Fingers – “Best Served Loud – Live At Barrowland” 2CD/DVD/LP/Blu-ray (earMUSIC)
Formed in Belfast during the late 70s, Stiff Little Fingers – or SLF – had plenty of fire to fuel their punk, not in the least growing up during ‘the troubles’ of sectarian violence afflicting the city, the embers of which still remain to this day. Along with The Undertones from the neighboring city of Derry, whom they frequently squabbled over covering (or not) ‘the troubles’ in their songs, SLF soon enjoyed charting success, ultimately leading to a major label signing and a move to London. Ironically they would split soon after only to reform in 1987, later joined by bassist Bruce Foxton of The Jam until 2006 when original bassist Ali McMordie would return and remain to the present day line up, still led by founder guitarist / vocalist Jake Burns. Releasing “No Going Back” in 2014, the band have returned to touring and now celebrating their 25th anniversary, release this monster 20 track live release recorded at Glasgow’s Barrowlands in Scotland. Playing a melodic punk that bands like Rancid and later the Dropkick Murphys would pick up on, SLF’s sound featured ultra raw no effects guitars that rolled out punk riffs mixed at times with rock n roll, sung by Burns but always characterized by a fiery, energized passion born of the frustrations of their youth. With a raucous venue to match in the renowned Barrowlands, the set list features material from throughout their history from ‘Barbed Wire Love’ (from 1979’s “Inflammable Materials” debut) to ‘Listen’ (from “Now Then..”) and ‘Strummerville’ (from 2003’s “Guitar and Drum”). With much of the charged material rooted in political and personal (i.e. child abuse) issues on ‘Guilty As Sin’ or ‘My Dark Places’ both the band and crowd need no motivation to get into the songs, many of which are introduced by Burns emotionally. Ending pretty much as it pretty much began with ‘Suspect Device’ and ‘Alternative Ulster’, SLF’s strength in their roots, commitment to DIY, along with their honesty and credibility in their music allow them to be one of the original 70s punk bands still deserving of respect from fans old and new – this live album tells it all.