Stiff Little Fingers & Point of Origin – Lemon Tree – 16/03/10
After bumping into each other at the Stiff Little Fingers show at the Lemon Tree, FnS scribes Still Burning and New York Johnny decided to meet up for a lunchtime pie and pint and to dissect the events of the previous night.
NYJ – Fit like loon? How you feeling today? My lugs are dirling and my knees are in bits.
SB – I know… gotta be done though!
NYJ – You had a wee bit of a carry on with your ticket did you?
SB – Aye, left my SLF one at hame and took last months The Undertones one instead. What a fud.
NYJ – Your words, nae mine matey. So….Point Of Origin – didn’t look like they were having much fun, did they? The bassist in particular looked like he just wanted to go home.
SB – lol, he kept fiddling with his cables and the amp. I did notice he sang a couple of lines too but he didn’t have a mic. Maybe it was a Community Service deal or something I dunno. Ach, a wee bit of confidence in himself is all he needs. One thing that was a wee bit off the norm was when Bob was doing most of the singing and he was standing waaay to one side. Shit t-shirt too. I did prefer his vocals mind. But that’s just me. Am I right?
NYJ – Well, the vocal was a 50/50 split with the guy with the Tele. I’d no real preference for the lead vocal, I thought they were both OK.
SB – I actually thought they were all right on the night, but a bit unsure of what their direction was musically, I mean, one song finished with a one line harmony thing and I was like… why? Having said that, there are no rules to these things so why not!
NYJ – I definitely have room in my life for tunes with harmonies like that but I think when you do them, you really have to nail them 100% every time otherwise it sounds shit. I thought PoO missed too many of them last night. Someone was a wee bit off key.
SB – Poppy 18, From Somerset was catchy, but I think I liked the second last track best (Radio Song). Any stick in your mind and would you go to see them again?
NYJ – I have a limited tolerance of that poppy-punky kinda sound and I did think that the songs were a wee bit samey. However, I’ve had one of them (I Found You?) going round my head all morning so they must have something. I’d go and see them again, yeah, just to see what they’re like when they’re firing on all cylinders. Like I said, it seemed a bit half hearted performance wise. Except for the (very good) drummer who seemed to be having a ball. What about you? Marks out of ten?
SB – You’ve reminded me, were the drums nae too loud to begin with? 6/10 and aye, I’d be happy to see them again. Oh piss off, I have that I Found You line in my skull now. Dammit.
NYJ – Ha ha ha. That’s what you get. I’m awa for a pish. Get the beers in min.
SB – (shouts) And think about your mark oota ten when your’re there! (licks finger and dips it in NYJ’s pint)
NYJ – Whew, that’s better. 5/10 for me. So onto the Fingers. Back in the Lemon Tree finally. Did it make a difference?
SB – In my opinion, f**king right it did. I just love being as close as you want to be when they play. Maybe we’ll get a March Lemon Tree and an October Warehouse (makes praying motions). Dinna tell me you prefer the Warehoose? Oh, and I thought the sound for SLF was spot on too.
NYJ – No no. The Warehouse gig was decent enough like and although Jake said in the interview he gave you that he thought it was a more rock n roll venue, from an audience perspective I far prefer the LT. I think because you’re right on top of the band, it makes for a better atmosphere, the sound there is definitely better plus you’re nae slipping all over the place.
SB – For once I think they got the set list in a decent order too, perhaps the only lull within the crowd being during Liars Club? I mean, how do you follow up with openers such as Wasted Life (heaven) and Strummerville?
NYJ – Aye – start as you mean to go on, eh? That was definitely a statement of intent. I was pleased that they’d made the effort to mix up the set a bit from the recent Warehouse gig. I think there were only three songs – Strummerville, Liars Club and Guitar & Drum – that weren’t from the 1980’s though.
SB – The thing with SLF gigs is that they have such a massive (MASSIVE) back catalogue but everyone just wants to hear the old favourites time and time again. Its a tough set list to sustain to please everyone. Any tracks you’d like to see aired again?
NYJ – You’re right there, and I know Jake has struggled with this in the past, wanting to push the newer stuff more. I was really pleased that they chucked in some fresh stuff that hadn’t had an outing in a while. Hits & Misses, Listen and most of all Bits Of Kids – that’s a great song and probably my favourite of the night. But I was slightly disappointed there was nothing off of Flags & Emblems cos it’s a decent album. Maybe Ali hasn’t learned the basslines yet?
SB – Mentioning Ali, he’s such a visual bugger isn’t he? I mean, compared to Ian on the other side of the stage we’re talking chess board colours here aren’t we?
NYJ – Aye, I love the fact Ali is back in the band. The thing is his stage moves are so nae-cool but he pulls it off cos he’s got that daft grin on his face the whole time. He’s having a ball up there.
SB – I liked Bruce as a bassist, but Ali generates the power bass that perhaps suits SLF just that wee bit more.
NYJ – At the end of Doesn’t Make It Alright, Jake did that tremendous snarl of old but it seemed out of place. Why do it there and then sing stuff like Roots Radicals or Suspect Device in a “normal” voice?
SB – I think it must be hard to have the (Belfast) street anger of old, even within a live song, and then remind himself that he can still actually sing these songs as well, even hundreds of times (and years!) later.
NYJ – Jake’s had a few pies since the Warehouse gig don’t you think? I say this every gig but I wish they’d stop the daft stage “uniform” thing.
SB – I wouldn’t embarass the man by agreeing but I didn’t actually see Steve until the encore (huge guffaws). Ach, leave the man wi’ the flamed shirts be min, they’ll flog the designs to the WWF (or whatever it is American wrestling calls itself these days) folk in time.
NYJ – Ha ha ha. Very good. Right, enough of the moaning – Back to the gig……….So what hit the spot for you and what missed completely?
SB – Wasted Life. Its as simple as that. The message, the anger, the utter fucking `we’re SLF, we’ve been playing this for thirty years and we can STILL rock the fucking house`. Yes, they maybe can’t jump about (sorry Jake) like they used to but if a band can play with the fire like they do after such a long time then well, they’ll err be some band I tell thee! Actually thinking back, Barbed Wire Love, Tin Soldiers, Suspect Device, Fly The Flag. Fk me…thats a set innit?! Ian looked a bit quiet on the night but then, its a minor detail. Makes me wish I was at the Barras today. Cards on the table. I think its one of the best shows they’ve had up here for a few years. What do you think fella? Want some crisps?
NYJ – Nah, I hate Salt ‘n’ Vinegar. I have to agree. It was a good show, a notch up from the Warehouse I think. A better set, a better sound and a better venue really. So nae downpoints fae you at all then then?
SB – Nah, not that I remember anyway. Maybe the red Harrington being a bit steep at 54 quid thats all.
NYJ – I must admit, I didna bother looking at the merch stand this time out. Living in Skint City, me.
SB – Fade awaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay! Sorry pal, had a flashback.
NYJ – Fuck me, your singing’s as bad as Ian McCallums hahaha. At least you seem to have shifted that Point Of Origin song from yer heed.
SB – I have an issue though. And I’d like an answer to it as well.
NYJ – What’s that then matey?
SB – You’ll know that if I ever attempt a review I get almost suicidal if I mention any of the songs in the wrong order aye? So… one improvises… I now try to get a copy of the set list at the end of the gig. Standards and a’ that. Right, so far so good. I gets Ally’s one fae the roadie bloke and stuffs it into my Lee Coopers. Still, all is well. Until this morning, I separate the amazing roadie duct tape and then I see it before my very eyes. It hurt man.
NYJ – Come on then. Spill the beans min.
SB -Johnny Was… err… wasn’t. The first song on the encore according to the list, and Johnny Was wasnae played. And not for the first time either. Apparently they ditched it last time too. Why the f**k not? Was it a time issue? Couldn’t be arsed… or what?
NYJ – Aye. SkaDude told me that last night. That’s the second time in a row. Only one encore as well which I thought was a bit cheap. The crowd was certainly up for more, but they were probably saving themselves for the Barras tonight.
SB – Bams!
NYJ – Ach, it’s one song min. Look at what we did get rather than what we didn’t.
SB – A worthwhile night oot then?
NYJ – Definitely. I’d give it an 8/10. You?
SB – Oh a well deserved 9 fae me.
NYJ – Well, it’s the Turning 13 EP launch next for me, then the Twilight Sad. Fit about you SB? Anything else on the horizon?
SB – The Beat and then The Trade on Friday night. I’d best dae the dishes the night eh?
NYJ – Oh well, we’ll nae doubt be hearing all about it up on FnS. Better run the now or I’ll be late back to ma work. Catch ye later!
SB – Jeezus, is that the time? See ya NYJ!