Sunday, June 5, 2011

Stiff Little Fingers - Edie Sedgwick -- Black Cat - June 2 2011

Edie Sedgwick - Hard to believe that this is my first time seeing this long running DC band. Edie is now comprised of three females on drums, bass and backing vocals. Fronting it all is a guy who did not dress like Edie as has been the case in the past, but looked more splendid in white like James Chance. In fact, musically I was reminded of Chance and his various bands such as the Contortions. Unfortunately, the music was more rhythmically plodding than that of the Contortions, so I was not getting into this much. Vocally, things were good and ultimately they played a few catchy songs, just not enough to really get people to stand up and take notice. I thought the crowd was a little flat, although appreciative. And I always appreciate a band that is not a cliche, so kudos to this band for doing it their way. They did one good song that laid down a good groove and ripped off the Paint it Black riff toward the end. Fair enough.

Stiff Little Fingers - One of the more important punk bands is still playing, touring, and recording. The have always been as or even more relevant than their more famous brother bands in the early punk scene. Coming from Northern Ireland has much to do with that, but it ultimately comes down to the quality and conviction Jake Burns and his band mates have always had. This is the third time I have seen them at the Black Cat and the third band version I have seen. Jake Burns is the key behind it all, but he has had original bassist Ali McMordie back with them for some time. McMordie brings a tough energy to the music and still does fine with the dub parts as well. Steve Grantley has been on drums for a while, but I could not recognize the guitarist. Apparently Ian McCallum was seriously ill (coma for a few full days even), so they needed a sub. They found a ringer in John Haggerty of Naked Raygun, Pegboy and Terminal Beach (more on them later). He no doubt was having a ball playing the classics and even learning some of the newer material. The songs rocked and swung as SLF has always employed lots of rhythm and structural shifts in their material. They even had a subtle swing feel in "Tin Soldier" tonight which was really fun. I really can't be too objective as the band was so important to us in Dayton. I think this band influenced the band I worked with (Toxic Reasons) as much as anyone did. So if Jake's voice was a bit strained (he fought through it well) or if the guitar sound was a little too thick and ringing at times, no matter. I will eat these songs up every time out. And the crowd was quite into this as well tonight.

Set List: Roots, Radicals, Rockers & Reggae/At the Edge/Just Fade Away/Oath to...(new song)/Straw Dogs/Just Fade Away/Listen/Doesn't Make it Alright/Barbed Wire Love/Strummerville/Fly the Flag/Wasted Life/Tin Soldiers/Suspect Device  Encores: I Fought the Law/Alternative Ulster

Moment of the Night: Seeing John Haggerty was a nice nostalgic moment. He was a part of the great Chicago punk scene that we Daytonians were quite friendly with. John was definitely one of the nice guys of that scene. I actually booked an early band of his that was started by Strike Under's Steve Bjorklund (another guy I liked who never quite "made it"). The band was Terminal Beach and played only a few shows in all. They came to Dayton to play a hall show that we put on which was a lot of fun (and really hard work). I saw John a bit later at a party in Chicago. He said he had just joined Naked Raygun. Oh that's nice, I said, as I was thinking of this band with some mediocre cuts on a Chicago compilation LP and an only slightly better EP. Well, after he joined, they became quite brilliant as most people know. It is nice to see John looking well, playing well and no doubt having a lot of fun playing with a band that was as influential to him as they were to the rest of us midwest punk rockers.

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