Stiff Little Fingers

Eddie And The Hot Rods

Manchester Academy One

March 2019

Live Review

photos by Dod Morrison 

Of course we know we are living in loud and vibrant times.

The whole world may have gone mad and insane forces are running amok but, despite what some say, there is a soundtrack to match and fight back.

We are in the middle of the best wave of young guitar bands since well, er, punk.

Noisenik crews like IDLES, Fontaines DC, The Blinders, The Murder Capital, Shame, Slaves and Sleaford Mods are setting a new agenda.

And this is great – the young (and youngish like Sleaford Mods!) should be making their own racket but what has been really interesting is the old bands that have been staging spectacular comebacks and getting rediscovered by a huge audience like SLF.

SLF have always had good numbers in Manchester. 

In recent years they have made the 1500 capacity Manchester Ritz their sold out home.  Every year it’s been a packed to the Rafters celebration of their fiery, firebrand back catalogue and heart warming new songs.

A dead cert. 

Tonight, though, they have rammed out the 2400 capacity Academy One.

It’s packed in here. 

You can hardly breathe. 

And its full of joy and noise and flying plastic glasses and warm beer showers.

SLF are seriously big again and packing out bigger venues than when they broke through all those years ago in the punk rock wars.

It shouldn’t really happen like this. 

Usually there is no justice in rock n roll – being good at what you do doesn’t mean anyone ever likes it but here we have yet another full house and a visibly emotional Jake Burns is thanking the audience for their brilliant reaction.

SLF have been delivering this sermon for years now. They always pour out a tight and thrilling show peppered with enough classics that are embedded deep in the consciousness of a generation like Alternative Ulster, Suspect Device, Tin Soldiers, Wasted Life and Nobody’s Hero and many others which are sung back at the band with full terrace anthem power. 

The old songs are played by the band with the dynamic stop/start tension and spittle flecked emotion of their teenage yore. These were songs written on a genuine frontline and full of the claustrophobia and smouldering anger of the times that somehow still make sense to this day with their tension and release rushes that capture the schizoid 21st century UK and all its modern tension and releases. 

The new songs like ’16 Shots’ are embraced and the band, with the added energy and charismatic presence of original bassist Ali McMordie – who returned to the mothership in 2006,  deliver the perfect old school punk rock set. This is all huge anthems, big tunes and a genuine human warmth. In America Springsteen fills stadiums with the same kind of stuff and the fine balance between the obvious sensitivity of Jake Burns – that heart on the sleeve thing that was part of the Clash and Joe – who gets a nod with ‘Strummerville’ and even the Pistols and was hidden within the fire and emotion of  punk itself is the key. Jake, like Joe, is a man who cares too much and has a voice that can cut glass and hit the back wall of the venue.



There is a poetry in motion with Jake and a sharp eye for the real world and real life and it’s all entwined in these songs that have a genuine meaning and genuine depth.

Annoyingly we miss Eddie And The Hot Rods – the band were one of the great precursors of punk and ‘Do Anything You Wanna Do’ is still glorious anthem that still makes me shiver with a weird nostalgic glow for a moment in time back to hot and heady summer of 1977. The band still deliver live as well and despite rumoured retirement they keep on keeping on so hope to catch up with them soon.

No longer a big cult band SLF seem to be on the verge of a big break through – where next we ask, Manchester Apollo the 3500 capacity venue where the Stranglers play next week? Why not? We need this.

The punk family are all on the up and getting their desired lap of honour – this music was built for the mainstream – just an alternative mainstream where the noise had a meaning and the fantastic pop songs these bands were writing were finally embraced by the real world.

Who’s next for this fast track to the golden highway? We demand Theatre Of Hate get this treatment! 

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Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.


  1. Having seen them several times in the 70’s and 80’s I have to say , I’m underwhelmed by the prospect of them playing at Primavera Sound Barcelona when I’m there in May. Maybe you’ve helped mt reappraise?

  2. Terrific gig. I’ve seen them quite a few times in Manchester and this was the best yet. Really enjoyed Eddie and the Hotrods too.

  3. my FIRST Fingers gig. only took 40 years to round to seeing them. Totally blown away by that show. Hope they go on for years more now, i NEED to catch them again!.

  4. They did two brilliant gigs in Glasgow for the st Patrick’s weekend. Fantastic and the new song is just as good

  5. They were class at the toon as always, never let me down ,or the other 1500,plus after seeing slf for now 41 years the band just get better ,keep the good work p lads ,HANX

  6. Two truly brilliant concerts in Inverness & Aberdeen. Tin Soldier created such camaraderie in the venues. Jake was really engaging & his band members have so much energy. EAHR were brill with strong voices. So glad they made Scotland in these two intimate venues.

  7. Blackburn august 2019;brilliant gig,loud energetic with good mix of songs jake really engages the crowd,whole band amazing,the power of guitar and drum is amazing,Eddie And Thr were superb also ,,thoroughly recommend,you won’t be disappointed


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