The face of punk rock has undoubtedly changed over the last three decades. From its inception in the late 70s, the anarchic message and full throttle delivery of the genre not only shook the music industry but the entire nation to its very core. That was then. In 2014 things are a little different.
The oxymoron genre of ‘punk pop’ is thriving, Johnny Rotten is doing butter adverts and One Direction stole the opening chords of ‘Should I Stay or Should I Go’ to little protest. But it’s not all bad, in fact the punk spirit is still alive and well showcased in bands outside the mainstream consciousness, a few of which I listed here.
Not only are the new breed coming through, but the old hand are still doing what they do best. Stiff Little Fingers (SLF) have just released their 10th studio album entitled No Going Back and brought this fresh set of songs as well their impressive back catalogue to The Cresset in Peterborough.
Forming in Belfast at the height of the troubles, SLF have never skirted round the difficult issues, debut album Inflammable Material featured songs entitled Suspect Device as well as the smash single Alternative Ulster which gets an airing tonight, and receives an almighty cheer from the audience.
The new tracks showcased are more mature and reflective with My Dark Places the highlight of the bunch, a song which chronicles frontman Jake Burns fight with depression. It’s the older material which lights the venue up tonight however, Doesn’t Make it Alright, a song the band admit is lifted from The Specials shifts from reggae groove to breakneck punk in an instant and Barbed Wire Love mixes doo wap backing vocals with power chord riffing.
A strong set, a strong band and a strong message to those unsure if punk still has role to play in modern music culture. Of course Stiff Little Fingers couldn’t care either way, they’ll keep doing what they do no matter what people think and you don’t get much more punk rock than that.