Concert Review: S.L.F at SLIM's, Oct. 15, 1997

After apologizing for being sick on the last SLF visit, Jake Burns showed San Francisco crowd that he STILL gargles broken glass every morning, and has not lost one bit of his voice. The latest incarnation of Stiff Little Fingers opened the set with the title track from Tinderbox, (just recently released on Taang! records in the U.S.) before plowing into a brilliant rendition of Alternative Ulster, their quintessential hit. This was followed by a version of Roots / Radics played at nearly double the speed as it appeared on the Go For It lp in 1981. The band continued to churn through the set, mixing their old classics with their most recent material, which gave the those in the silly-pit time to recover from killing each other every few songs.

Many things changed since the last time I saw SLF. Steve Grantley, who played drums with Jake Burns and the Big Wheel after the initial SLF split, is a near perfect replacement, handling the various styles (and his own) of all three previous SLF drummers. Bruce Foxton is now just as much part of SLF as Ali McMordie was in their early years, and new guitarist Ian McCallum livens up the show as well. He even looks a little like Henry Cluney! Jake himself has even gone through a major transition, trading in his Yamaha ("Never buy a Japanese Guitar!" for a white ESP.

When the band came out for the final encore (everyone in the front knew it would be Suspect Device) the lights were dimmed and when the noise had subsided Jake quietly announced, "This is an old Irish Folk Song," before launching into the first few chords.

All in all this was a terriffic show, and the buzzing going around now is that the band is already working yet another album. (to be followed by another US tour?)

The set included material from every SLF album. Here's as much of it as I could remember (no particular order): Tinderbox, Alternative Ulster, Roots/Radics, Love of the Common People, Barbed Wire Love, Wasted Life, Nobody's Hero, Tin Soldiers, Fly the Flag, I Could be Happy Yesterday, You Can Move Mountains, Get a Life, Harp(?), Each Dollar a Bullet, At the Edge, Suspect Device.... There were lots more; if anyone snagged the list let me know, and those lucky enough to be there for the sound check also got to hear "Doesn't Make it All Right"
(No custom picks
for us souveneir

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