There's life in the old punks yet
STIFF LITTLE FINGERS THE JUNCTION CAMBRIDGE
Friday 05 March 1999
After the bell-ringing jangle of "Fly the Flag", cries of "Ulster" began to rise up from the 700-strong Cambridge horde, but Jake wasn't going to be rushed into anything. "I don't need to tell you I come from Belfast" he said. "So here's the first optimistic song I've everwritten about it." The loping dub-style "Last Train from the Wasteland" offered a sense of hope in the darkness, and along with the emphatic new rocker "Hope St" showed the way forward for Stiff Little Fingers.
Bruce Foxton provided his distinctive Jam bass sound and shared the vocal chores, while Steve Grantley (drums) and Ian McCallum (guitar) completed the outfit. Another frantic head-nodder "Barbed Wire Love" (their only love song according to Burns) paved the way for more "whoah-oh-ohing". The hard-core mob greatly appreciated "Wasted life", "Roots Radics", and "Nobody's Hero", but persisted with their yells of "Ulster" as each tune crashed to its breakneck ending. Then at last they stood in awe while Jake played the hallowed, plaintive opening notes of "Alternative Ulster". Rarely does a song express such melancholy and such hope both at the same time, but that is the achievement of this 1978 punk throwaway.
Three minutes later it was all over, and SLF left the stage looking a little drained. Quickly encouraged back, they tore off again with a version of Bob Marley's "Johnny Was", Jake Burns' voice now thoroughly in gear for the frenzied plea of the chorus. Nothing was spared for "Long Way to Paradise" and "Straw Dogs" before the faithful disciples bid them a fond farewell. Anyone who got home and discovered that all their SLF singles had been nicked will be glad to know they can get them again on a new double album called And best of all... Hope St.
This is a band that still seem to enjoy what they do best, namely performing live. Move mountains to catch them at Glasgow. Otherwise, put your record player on repeat, and play "Alternative Ulster" again and again and again.
BBC Trust agrees to axe channel from TV in favour of digital moveTV
Final Top Gear reviewTV
FestivalsFive ways to avoid the portable toilets
Jurassic WorldThe results are completely brilliant
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 iPhone 7 (or iPhone 6S) leaked pictures show similarities to older model — but Apple is fixing the biggest issue of all
- 2 David Cameron refers to 83-year-old Labour MP Dennis Skinner as 'Jurassic Park'
- 3 Alton Towers Air breaks down: 80 people stuck on broken down Monorail during heatwave
- 4 'Help me I'm trapped in a factory' messages keep being found on bottles of vitamin water
- 5 German ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by Government
Game of Thrones season 6: Daenerys actress Emilia Clarke says '50/50 chance' Jon Snow is alive
Jessie Cave interview: Harry Potter's Lavender Brown has published a collection of feminist cartoons
Amy, film review: Beautiful film reveals ugly truth behind singer's downward spiral
'Dukes of Hazzard' pulled from screens by CBS as outcry over Confederate flag grows
London Has Fallen trailer release branded 'extremely insensitive' ahead of 10th anniversary of 7/7 bombings
The moment a Queen's Guard soldier lost it and drew his gun at annoying tourist
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert