Stiff Little Fingers / Spear of Destiny
Warrington Parr Hall
9 November 2012
The queue of punters was still snaking down away from the Parr Hall box office when Spear of Destiny struck up the familiar bars of âOutlandsâ.
The fact that it was pissing with rain did little to improve things for those still waiting for the administrative issues to be rectified but these were hardened veterans of the gig scene and the lure of SLF ensured spirits remained high.
When we finally got into the venue, it was clear that the ageless Kirk Brandon was on top form as he launched this joint tour with a mix of older classics and newer material. The atmosphere built as the crowd built to witness a classic climax of âRainmakerâ, âMickeyâ and âLiberatorâ which got the venue well and truly rocking and saw Brandon leave the stage to a great ovation.
The stage was now prepared for the entrance of the band that after 35 years still inspires devotion amongst their large and ferociously loyal following. This was evidenced as early as the lights going down and the intro track âGo For Itâ ringing out as what seemed like the whole venue sang along to this timeless instrumental.
Bounding on stage, SLF opened with âWasted Lifeâ followed by âJust Fade Awayâ and âAt the Edgeâ which ensured the mosh pit had plenty to get their teeth into early doors. Jake Burns said that it was always a pleasure to come and play for this crowd and itâs just a shame that the sound quality didnât match the efforts put in by both band and audience.
Any SLF set-list will be packed with sing-along classics and this was no exception with the likes âNobodyâs Heroâ, âRoots, Radicals, Rockers and Reggaeâ, âBarbed Wire Loveâ, â Silver Liningâ and âStraw Dogsâ being played to a crowd that was word-perfect in mass backing vocals. Itâs also worth noting how relevant these songs remain to this day and how much they clearly still mean to the packed crowd in Warrington and everywhere SLF play. Itâs also a classic SLF âV-signâ to the publicly funded thought police at BBC Radio 1.
Maybe you canât dictate what music is âinâ or âoutâ and a mixed-age audience at Warrington (as at many gigs by more experienced bands) proved that people are quite capable of deciding for themselves what they enjoy thank you very much. SLF emphasised as much by playing âGuitar and Drumâ and Burnsâ homage to his inspiration in âStrummervilleâ.
To whet our appetite for the new album which hopefully should arrive next year, the first in 10 years, two new tracks were played, âTrail of Tearsâ and âMy Dark Placesâ before âTin Soldier â and âSuspect Deviceâ closed the main set. Encores of âJohnny Wasâ, âAlternative Ulsterâ and âGotta Getawayâ sent the hordes back into the rain rejoicing.
Catch this tour if you can, itâs lifeâaffirming!
All words by Dave Jennings. You can read more from Dave on LTW here.