SHAM 69 / STIFF LITTLE FINGERS

sham69 jimmy

SHAM 69
29/10/11
London Brixton The Electric

This is the opening night at the newly refurbished … Electric in Brixton (The old Fridge ) the first that hits you is the smell of fresh paint, as expecting the Queen to come.
Well tonight it is the King’s of Uk Punk, the Original (except the Drummer) line up of Sham 69 for a "one -off" show ….

The Skets were the 1st band on and reminded me of The Blaggers ITA with punk duel singers … with subliminal ska – punk tunes – something Beastie Boy esqe about them too.

Control (ex Beerzone / Intensive Care, Scottish group) were next up, delivering a Passionate blast of Punk Rock, not breaking out of the mould , yet the Real Deal!

This much anticipated reunion Sham gig, part of a mini Punk weekend / SLF playing the following night (that’s another story!) has brought all the old Punx , Skins and Herbets out of the woodwork to a sold out venue.

When Sham come on to a whole String of old song’s ….the crowd take a while to gear up, more in awe that Jimmy is back on stage; thankfully with his Ballet period, well behind.
From the first song in, "What have we Got" to the more better know "Angel with Dirty Faces" where Jimmy misses the timing and passes it off, professionally. The band themselves look all relatively good for over 35 years of "Rock n Roll" (albeit with a short hiatus thrown in.)

Sham really did come from the place they were singing about…. and formed way back in 1976, the original working class .. so when Jimmy has a costume change, and treat the crowd to "Hersham Boys" ..the crowd chant a long to the classic lines "Hersham Boys …laced up boots and corduroys’" a feeling of unity is already forming in the crowd.

Along side "Tell us the Truth" and "questions and Answers" this ending up quite a spectacular night; when they begin the unmistakable power chords to my personal Favourite "Borstal Breakout" the whole crowd pogo, until puffed out….. 3 and half minutes later .

Sham 69 …go off and knowing they would be lynched if they didn’t play their All time Anthem, come back on and blast, "If the kids are United" …really Jimmy’s lyrics are nothing less than genius and such a simple message for all Ears the world over …covered by many bands, including Rancid.

This was an early show, with the usual "crap" club after …so as much as Sham were welcomed back by their loyal fans… the light went on…so unfortunately, no "Sunday Morning Nightmare" – never mind …lets just pray that this is not going to be a "one-off" and the original band can carry on … for "012 and beyond"

Indeed the Cockney Kids are innocent"

Nicola Hull

STIFF LITTLE FINGERS
Tues 18th Oct.,
Southend

Stiff Little Fingers, formed way back in 1978, and were and Still are The Best Punk Rock Band in the world ….. tonight they play Southend as about 300 eager Fan’s pack Chinnery’s out!
SLF are just back from a USA tour, where I heard ; the powerhouse of a drummer, Steve Grantly was not too well yet still managed, somehow, to do the whole Tour, proving how much of a true Warrior he is….

They take the stage to the usual instrumental "Go For It" and it’s a "1234" straight into "Wasted Life," the B side to their very first single (D.I.Y. Rigid Digits label)
First 3 songs all hammered out, like rapid machine gun fire – only slowing down so, the audience can have a little breather to the Motown inspired.." Silver Lining" albeit the opportunity to have a dance too.

An unrecorded "Liar’s Club" is a taster of what’s to come from a New forthcoming Album, in the pipeline. There is some really nice Surprise songs in this "All of The Best" set list tonight, enough to put a grin on the most avid fans face. One such tune is the amazing "Back to Front " an Anti Racist track with the very apt line’s … "Buckets and spades to make your day with …he’s not like us he must be done." Another classic single from ..back in the day, enter "Straw Dogs" the bands first 7" single for Chrysalis (The contract they almost wrote themselves) this is a real gruff, punky number; with Jakes voice still holding the Passion of 1000 street protesters. As if this is not enough for the ardent fan’s, they then treat us to another old tune called "Wait and See," dedicated to their prestigious life time achievement award from the City of Belfast. I personally have not heard this tune live for at least 20 years.

Now this in all fairness, may just be the most biased live review ever … as this is my all time Favourite band, when I heard "Johnny Was" coming from my Big brothers bedroom; aged 6, my lifelong affair started there. First seeing them live in 1983 (Last ever show, Sun 6th Feb) then when they reformed in 1987, I hitched – hiked too see them at every single show in the Uk, losing count at roughly 200 times, give or take!

So when I say this is one of the best time’s I have ever seen them, I really do mean it. There is 3 cover versions thrown into this mix, including "The Specials -Doesn’t make it Alright," a version that Roddy Radiation prefers to his own bands original. Another two reggae tune’s called "Love of the Common people" and "Roots Radicals and Rockers," proving the band ‘s love of Jamaican music and giving the very happy audience a chance to Skank along.

A newly revamped expression of "Tin Soldiers" is soaked up with the real life story of a young and naive, Scottish Soldier who indeed "Swapped boy scout hat for army cap, he thought he’d be prepared". Then the band have a minute respite, before a (silly) Encore, "Schools out for Summer" Alice Cooper, which seems to go over a lot of the young one’s heads…. mostly son’s and daughters of first timers.

The cherry on the cake comes with, the bands two most revered classic’s played back to back, "Suspect Device" and "Alternative Ulster" (This really could be an National Anthem !!)

Well what a night, an amazing set by an amazing bandand the truly amazing thing is next year will be SLF’s 35th year and they are still Burning…… glad I will be seeing them in London the following week. If for any reason you do not know this great band, this please go and check them on their next Tour dates… April / March in 2012 – for a "Punky, Reggae party, one you will never forget. Hanx !

Nicola Hull

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