Stiff Little Fingers – Forum, London – 23rd March 2018

Tonight’s gig is a great lineup – not only do we have the legendary Stiff Little Fingers, we have a great support act in the form of Ruts DC. Born out of the ashes of The Ruts, they split at the start of the 80s before reforming in 2007 and since then they’ve been touring and releasing new material.
Tonight’s set features a mix of new and old material – so some from Ruts DC and some that were originally The Ruts songs. With their reggae influenced punk sound they have a lot in common with the 2 Tone bands, and an obvious sign is the way they dress – no jeans and T-shirts here, they all wear suits (including the drummer). The newer and old songs sit comfortably together as they run through a set that’s just top quality from start to finish. A great start to the night.


Mighty Solider
West one (Shine on me)
Music must destroy
Staring at the rude boys
Jah War
In a rut
Babylon’s burning
Psychic attack

Then it was time for Stiff Little Fingers. The last time I saw them was on their 40th anniversary show last year, so I was expecting a fairly similar set with a few changes – most bands seem to have a core setlist and change a couple of songs each tour, but that’s not what Stiff Little Fingers did tonight – they really shook the setlist up, with almost half the songs played tonight being material they didn’t play on the 40th anniversary tour. Obviously there are some songs the fans would be disappointed not to hear so some fan favourites had to stay in the set, but with so many changes to the last tour then fans were treated to a great mix of songs.

It’s a measure of how dedicated their fans are that while most bands take a while to really get the crowd warmed up, there’s no such build up with Stiff Little Fingers – the fans are singing along and having a great time right from the start, and that’s how it stays for the whole show.

The band may have been going for over 40 years, but this is no band that looks past it – they sound as good as ever and still put in great performances. There aren’t many bass players who jump as much as Ali McMordie does, let alone in bands that have been going this long. They’re one of those bands that make it look easy, and that’s something that only comes with having good material and years of experience. A great set.


Wait and See
Nobody’s Hero
Gotta Gettaway
Can’t Believe in You
Roots, Radicals, Rockers & Reggae
Safe as Houses
Barbed Wire Love
Tilting At Windmills
Just Fade Away
Is That What You Fought the War For?
Doesn’t Make It Alright (The Specials cover)
(I Could Be) Happy Yesterday
Wasted Life
My Dark Places
At the Edge
Tin Soldiers
Suspect Device

Johnny Was (Bob Marley & The Wailers cover)
Alternative Ulster

About Ant May

I spend half my life at gigs or festivals and the other half writing the reviews and editing photos, and somehow find time for a full time job too. Who needs sleep - I've got coffee.