Legendary Northern Ireland punk rockers Stiff Little Fingers will play their largest ever Belfast headline show at Custom House Square to celebrate their 40th anniversary.
The all star line-up on Saturday, August 26, presented by Belsonic, also features The Stranglers, The Ruts DC, The Outcasts and Terri Hooley.
Stiff Little Fingers were formed in 1977 in Belfast and along with the likes of The Clash, Sex Pistols, The Jam, Buzzcocks, Undertones, Sham 69 and The Stranglers, they were at the forefront of the punk movement.
They wrote initially about their own lives, growing up at the height of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, in songs like ‘Suspect Device’ and ‘Wasted Life’.
In November 1977, they released those two songs on their own Rigid Digits label, and sent a copy to BBC Radio One DJ John Peel, who started playing it every night.
These were the first of what became SLF’s signature style: lyrics that meld the personal and political, music that combines the energy of punk with infectious hooks, and delivery that rings of honesty and commitment.
In 1979 they became the first band ever to hit the UK top 20 album charts on an independent label with their debut Inflammable Material. The album chronicles the band’s anger and frustration at the Troubles in Northern Ireland, and calls on youth to create their own reality.
Over the years, their live shows continued to be special events of energy and power.
Their studio albums demonstrate their passion and anger, each in its own way.
In 1994 they released the Get a Life LP. The album helped renew interest in SLF just as newer bands that cited them as a major influence, such as Bad Religion, Sugar, Rancid and Therapy?, were coming to prominence.
After many studio albums and countless tours, Stiff Little Fingers find themselves more in demand than ever. Their most recent studio album ‘No Going Back’ reached number one on the Official BBC Rock Album Chart. Though focused on their new material, they always play the old favorites at gigs.
Jake said: “You have to strike a balance. The difficulty with a band like ourselves is to try not make it sound like a cabaret band.
“Obviously, it’d be very easy to go, ‘Hey, here’s another old one you may remember.’ A lot of the old songs the audience greet like old friends. I suppose it’s the same as any band that’s been around for any length of time.
“And yes, there are nights that we don’t particularly want to play ‘Alternative Ulster’ or ‘Suspect Device’ because we’ve heard them ‘til they’re coming out our ears. But there’s always the possibility that somebody out there has never seen the band before, never heard them.”
The support acts playing in Custom House Square have history of their own.
The Stranglers are one of the longest-surviving bands to come out of the UK punk scene, achieving mainstream success with ‘Golden Brown’ in 1982 while The Ruts DC had a top ten hit in 1979 with ‘Babylon’s Burning’.
Northern’s Ireland’s own punk legends The Outcasts complete the line-up along with Ulster punk godfather Terri Hooley, whose story was told in the film Good Vibrations.
Tickets, priced £25 plus booking fee, are on sale this Friday at 9am from Ticketmaster outlets nationwide.