Studio 124, Stockholm
28 January 2014
Formed in 1976 and led by vocalist Charlie Harper, UK Subs were one of the original punk bands. All these years later and the band are still on the road, playing a date in Sweden last week in front of what sounds like every punk in Sweden. Louder Than War’s Doug Ahlgren was there for us. Also included is a photo gallery, all photos of which © MIA STRÖMBERG.
The UK Subs played last Tuesday night at a ‘black’ DIY club, Studio 124, in Rågsved, a suburb of Stockholm. Klubb Adolescent, the promoter, took a chance on a weeknight at an unknown club located far away from central Stockholm. I was skeptical that the gig would be a success but UK Subs proved to be a solid booking as the place was over three quarters full in a 400 max capacity venue.
Topper was first on stage putting on a very Clash-y set, easy on the ears but still packing a punch. They were the perfect band to open up the night and wet the appetites of the concert goers. For a change of pace, a lanky older gentleman with some wacky pants, TV Smith (see pic right), stepped on stage to put on his one man show, armed with only an acoustic guitar and microphone. He played a folk-y Billy Bragg type of music and with a similar message. I thought it was brilliant. An ideal companion to the marijuana stench in the air and it took the edge off the crowd.
Then the headliners UK Subs got on stage. Charlie Harper led a raucous set with his band. He was enthusiastic with a smile on his face throughout the gig as the rowdier punks chanted along with the choruses. The UK Subs are a tight, no-nonsense band and this setting was spot on for them. There was no barrier between the stage and crowd, but it didn’t matter. The positive, relaxed attitude of the UK Subs during their set helped the night go smoothly.
Everybody who worked for Klubb Adolescent was there as a volunteer. Stockholm is a small city and the punk scene here is miniature so I recognized the faces of about half the people at the gig. I think everybody did and that gave the night an intimate and united feeling. It seemed as if the crowd wanted the gig to be a success just as much as the promoters. They knew what was at stake.
When the passionate but respectful punks come out in droves for the big gigs, it keeps the local scene alive and encourages the promoters to put on more gigs and take chances with bookings.
All words by Doug Ahlgren. This is Doug’s first writing for Louder Than War. All pics below © MIA STRÖMBERG.