Friday night an eclectic crowd of pimply faced, decked punks, skinheads, middle-aged men with thick Irish brogues and your average concert patron all attended the Trocadero to see the Stiff Little Fingers. If you are unaware of the Stiff Little Fingers perhaps a musical genealogy will help: If the Who are the godfathers of punk and the Clash is the first punk band, then SLF would be akin to something like a little brother.
They formed in 1977 after seeing the Clash play in their hometown of Belfast. They drew from many of the influences as their brethren and created their own brand of raw melody and modern rock with punk attitude and sensibilities. Their lyrics ranged from songs about political strife in Ireland to songs of love and loss.
That heartfelt sincerity and social consciousness is exactly what they bought to the stage Friday as singer/guitarist Jake Burns (clad in an official SLF soccer jersey along with the rest of the band) belted out a lot of new material, as well as the old favorites.
Much to their chagrin, the underage crowd were corralled upstairs into the balcony while the over 21 crowd was given free reign of the downstairs. A rare treat if you go to the Trocadero often. This allowed for a great void on the floor prior to the show seeing as how everyone was at the bar.
However, it was soon filled when the band took the stage and opened with the raucous classic “Roots, Radical, Reggae and Rockers” in which Burns bellows with gut-wrenching conviction: “Throw away the guns and the wars are gone.”
Though most of the crowd was there to hear them play the punk anthems “Alternative Ulster,” “Tin Solider” and “Suspect Device,” they strung the crowd along playing some of their more melodic pop tunes. However, they didn’t leave without satiating the fans, playing two encores and leaving an indelible mark on everyone’s concert going experience.