Every classic punk fan worth their salt should be familiar with Northern Irish punk rock pioneers Stiff Little Fingers. Since forming in Belfast in 1977, the group has continuously released genre-defining tracks that expertly blend politically-charged lyrics with hard-driving drums and swinging hooks — all at that beloved breakneck punk tempo.
Over the past 40 years, Stiff Little Fingers have used their music as a platform to address a variety of contentious issues — from the political turmoil and violence they witnessed first-hand growing up in Northern Ireland during “The Troubles”, notably in tracks “Suspect Device” and “Alternative Ulster”; to the abuse of power committed by leaders of the Catholic Church in “Guilty As Sin”; to singer Jake Burns’ own personal struggle with depression in the song “My Dark Places” off of the group’s 2014 album release No Going Back.
What truly sets Stiff Little Fingers apart from imitator groups is the raw emotion and sincerity that is prevalent in all of their songs. It is their personal commitment to their music and the honesty with which their songs are crafted and performed that has allowed for the group to build such a strong, and equally as committed, cult-like fan base over the last four decades.
Whether you’re already a devoted SLF fan, or brand new to the punk rock scene (welcome!) Best Served Loud: Live At Barrowland is a quintessential album of 2017. The live album celebrates the group’s 25th anniversary of their annual St. Patrick’s Day gig at the Barrowland Ballroom in Glasgow, Scotland and highlights everything to love about Stiff Little Fingers: the music, the banter, the showmanship, and –most of all — the abounding energy.
The most notable track specific to this live album is the punk rock cover of The Specials’ 1979 ska hit “Doesn’t Make It Alright”; which showcases Burns’ powerful belting vocals with an extended note hold around the 3:20 mark guaranteed to raise the hair on the back of your arms, while also capturing the incredible spirit and crowd camaraderie that SLF shows are known for.
Other notable tracks include “Nobody’s Hero”, “Tin Soldiers”, and “Gotta Getaway”– all top Stiff Little Fingers tunes, but this time infused with the roars and chants of the Ballroom crowd that will make you feel like you’re in Glasgow slamming along with them.
To really immerse yourself in the SLF concert experience (which I can personally attest to truly being something special) you’re best to start at Track 01, crank your speakers to 11, and get ready to rock out for the next hour.
Best Served Loud – Live At Barrowland Track Listing:
01. Go For It/Wasted Life
02. Just Fade Away
03. Roots, Radicals, Rockers And Reggae
04. Guitar & Drum
05. Nobody’s Hero
06. Back To Front
07. Barbed Wire Love
09. Doesn’t Make It Alright
10. Silver Lining
11. Guilty As Sin
12. At The Edge
14. My Dark Places
15. Fly The Flag
16. When We Were Young
17. Tin Soldiers
18. Suspect Device
19. Gotta Getaway
20. Alternative Ulster
Run Time: 1:15:34
Release Date: June 30, 2017
Check out the band performing “Nobody’s Hero”