Review / 'Stiff Little Fingers' reflective, political stance is what punk rock is all about'


By Abel Cisterna, Msc Education - Leadership and Policy

Stiff Little Fingers 'delivered a repertoir that perfectly balanced the different stages of the band', Abel Cisterna reviews.

For long I've had the hypothesis that music emerging from the 80s onwards is to some extent influenced by punk. And every once in a while there are some facts that prove my point. One that recently came to my mind was when I found out that the famous Massive Attack logo, which also appears on the cover of their first album was inspired by the flame icon that appears on the cover of Stiff Little Fingers' debut album, Inflammable Material, which turns 40 this year. Coincidentally, the former just played two sold out homecoming shows the first days of March and the latter played a packed O2 Academy just a week after on Sunday night.

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A post shared by Robert Del Naja (@robert3delnaja) on

Inflammable Material artwork, uploaded by Massive Attack's Robert del Naja.

The band led by Jake Burns is currently on a tour throughout the UK to celebrate the 40th anniversary of this seminal record, which proves passing the test of time as one of the best testimonies of punk in its rawest form, before the appearance of any of the derivative genres that followed from the eighties onwards and continue expanding.

Eddie and the Hot Rods, one of the bands that fall in the category of 'punk before punk', were in charge of opening and started warming up the environment for the people that slowly were filling up the venue. Their seventies' rock n' roll underground anthems were followed by a shy crowd while the band was giving it all on stage. The kick drum's head had " We've done everything we wanna do" written, depicting the place the band are in their career and paraphrasing the title for their most well known song, used to finish their set and waking the audience for a singalong.

Forty five minutes after, Stiff Little Fingers get on stage. Contrary to what I expected, instead of playing Inflammable Material front to back, they delivered a repertoir that perfectly balanced the different stages of the band, which moved from the simple but aggressive formula of their first records, with the more melodic rock n' roll they embraced from the nineties onwards. Jake Burns took some time between songs to make statements against police violence, to praise women's role in love relationships, and to ask people to talk about depression and be aware of it, because of the recent death of The Prodigy's Keith Flint. After all, a political stance and reflecting about what happens around us is an important part of what punk rock is about.

In the end, a carefully crafted setlist that engaged the audience, allowing people for an hour and a half to forget that the following day was the start of another week and consequently the routine. Inflammable Material was both the perfect excuse to make a celebration and its icing on the cake. It seems the album's legacy will continue easily for another forty years.

Featured Image: Stiff Little Fingers/ Rough Trade Records

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