Stiff Little Fingers/Foreign Legion/Eric Unseen - Ebbw Vale, Leisure Centre - 15th October 2011 Print E-mail
Written by Rob Watkins   
Wednesday, 02 November 2011 05:00




There are recording artists who are influenced by, and there are recording artists who influence; I'm here in town to waffle on about and to check out the latter, formed in 1977 in Belfast, Northern Ireland during the heights of the troubles. I am, of course, talking about none other than the infamous and revered Stiff Little Fingers.


A late change saw local up and coming indie punks Eric Unseen drop down to show openers, taking command of things in their own youthful energetic style, bounding around like a group of Angus Young clones on acid. 'Meat & Razorblades' is welcomed with open arms unsurprisingly by this old school punk crowd, a few newies thrown into this shortened, speedy set including the impressive sounding 'Missing' and a well received cover of 'White Riot', rounding things off with 'Sex In The City' leaving the stage to the kind of grand applause very rarely offered at this stage of the evening.


Judging by the movement of the punky crew converging near the stage barrier, veteran Merthyr punksters Foreign Legion have a fair few fans in the auditorium tonight. 'Phoenix From The Flames' and the Vinnie Jones inspired 'Fake Gangster' amongst the crowd pleasers on offer and, after 27 years banging it around every basement and club right across the globe, vocalist Marcus knows only too well how to control a crowd and tonight is no exception. For the second time in as many bands we have another version of 'White Riot' but who gives a fuck when you have a tune like that banging through the speakers?


"Hello, we're Stiff Little Fingers" and it's straight into 'Wasted Life', 'Just Fade Away' and 'Nobody's Hero', melodic punk played at its finest (Green Day, you're not worthy), Ebbw Vale hasn't been hit like this in quite a while. 'Silver Lining', 'Fly The Flag', 'Back To Front' headed by living legend singer/guitarist Jake Burns whose vocal delivery has improved tenfold with age.


We get a couple of back to back covers in the form of The Specials' 'Doesn't Make It Alright' and The Four Preps' (amongst others) 'Love Of The Common People' and in their own words "The Least Popular Version" of the Joe Strummer dedicated, self explanatory 'Strummerville' and a little deserved self pat on the back from Burns in response to the upcoming Northern Ireland Music Award Oh Yeah Legends 2011 Award for SLF.


The set ends to rapturous applause with 'Tin Soldiers' before returning with a genius cover of the Coop classic 'School's Out' and finishing the pogoing masses off with 'Suspect Device' and 'Alternative Ulster'.


Come back soon, fellas....there will always be a welcome in the hillsides...............


[Photos By Ashlea Matthews] 

[Ashlea Bea Photography]