Review: Stiff Little Fingers – Best Served Loud (Live at Barrowland)

Due to all things Wildfire, I’m slowly crawling through a “to do” list that’s piled up rather mercilessly. Teetering near the top of this mountain is the latest release from Stiff Little Fingers, celebrating their 40th anniversary as a band and the 25th year in a row of playing Glasgow’s famous Barrowland Ballroom.

A live album is often a good way to get a feel for a band. They’re usually a “best of” collection and, if the band are good enough, the live show can add a whole extra dimension to the original studio recordings. This is very much the case on Best Served Loud. It’s well performed, well recorded and really makes you wish you were there. Of course, you could be as they’re touring through June, July and August… though no Glasgow date is on the schedule!

The twenty tracks on offer show off SLF’s trademark punky bounce and ever present singer Jake Burns does sound a little out of breath at points. Hardly surprising given the energetic tones of the likes of “Just Fade Away” and “Roots, Radicals, Rockers and Reggae” – and those are just tracks two and three. The latter of these two tracks features a great bass backline from Ali McMordie which you can actually hear, definitely a shining testament to the production of the album.

The first major cheer of the album erupts at the start of “Guitar & Drum”, but is far from the last. I’m sure there will have been some chat with the crowd by this point, but as with many CD versions this has been cropped out so that all the songs fit onto the disc. There is a DVD release of the album which I’m sure will be unabridged, but unfortunately due to the aforementioned delays our review link to it expired. The thing is, I’m loving the audio-only version so much that I really want to see the video! That’s how good it is.

Later on in the show we have “Fly the Flag”, “Tin Soldiers” and belting show-ender “Alternative Ulster”. Any of these is enough to have you bouncing in your seat, but they’re just part of a 20-strong collection of old and new classics.

I’ll pop the track listing below, so I’m not going to go through the whole thing song by song but there is a wealth of highlights… and this from someone who’s not hugely familiar with the band. As I said, sometimes the best way to discover a new artist is to get out there and see them. Or failing that, pick up a live recording. Or meet in the middle and get the DVD. This is as good an example of a live album as you’re going to get, from a band who really come to the fore on the stage.

Stiff Little Fingers: official | facebook | twitter | flickr | pinterest

Track listing:

  1. Go For It/Wasted Life
  2. Just Fade Away
  3. Roots, Radicals, Rockers And Reggae
  4. Guitar & Drum
  5. Nobody’s Hero
  6. Back To Front
  7. Barbed Wire Love
  8. Listen
  9. Doesn’t Make It Alright
  10. Silver Lining
  11. Guilty As Sin
  12. At The Edge
  13. Strummerville
  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

Current upcoming UK/IRE dates:

  • Thu 29th June 2017 – Wakefield, Warehouse 23
  • Fri 30th June 2017 – Chesterfield, The Avenue
  • Sat 1st July 2017 – London, British Summer Time Festival
  • Fri 18th August 2017 – Escot Park, Nr Fairmile, Devon, Beautiful Days Festival
  • Sat 19th August 2017 – Blackburn, Windsor Suite, King George’s Hall
  • Sun 20th August 2017 – Chester, Live Rooms
  • Tue 22nd August 2017 – Edinburgh, Liquid Room
  • Thu 24th August 2017 – Cork, City Hall
  • Fri 25th August 2017 – Dublin, The Academy
  • Sat 26th August 2017 – Belfast, Custom House Square
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments