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STIFF LITTLE FINGERS 20/20 VISION @ THE ROUNDHOUSE

It’s a show that’s been a long time coming for many of the crowd tonight, with most holding on to their precious tickets for over two years, but finally, Stiff Little Fingers arrive at the Camden Roundhouse.

Stiff Little Fingers - The Roundhouse 26th March 2022 - Credit - Cris Watkins
Stiff Little Fingers - The Roundhouse 26th March 2022 - Credit - Cris Watkins

STIFF LITTLE FINGERS + NEVILLE STAPLE BAND + THE PROFESSIONALS + TV SMITH @ THE ROUNDHOUSE, LONDON 26TH MARCH 2022

It’s a show that’s been a long time coming for many of the crowd tonight, with most holding on to their precious tickets for over two years, but finally, Stiff Little Fingers arrive at the Camden Roundhouse.

Stiff Little Fingers - The Roundhouse 26th March 2022 - Credit - Cris Watkins
Stiff Little Fingers – The Roundhouse 26th March 2022 – Credit – Cris Watkins

TV Smith

SLF haven’t come alone, and before most of the crowd is even through the venue doors, TV Smith is already on stage, acoustic guitar in hand, proceeding to entertain those that got in early.

TV Smith - The Roundhouse 26th March 2022 - Credit - Cris Watkins
TV Smith – The Roundhouse 26th March 2022 – Credit – Cris Watkins

So we get ‘No Time to Be 21‘, ‘Lockdown Holiday‘, ‘Gary Gilmore’s Eyes‘ and an excellent rendition of ‘One Chord Wonders‘. It’s a fun set, but I can’t wait to see him as TV Smith and The Bored Teenagers at this year’s Rebellion Festival, where he’ll be playing a full Adverts set.

TV SMITH

The Professionals

Next up, The Professionals lay claim to the stage with a ten-song set with a mix from their two latest albums.

The Professionals - The Roundhouse 26th March 2022 - Credit - Cris Watkins
The Professionals – The Roundhouse 26th March 2022 – Credit – Cris Watkins

Easily Led‘, ‘Going Going Gone‘, ‘Rewind‘ and ‘Spike Me Baby‘ are all catchy tracks that deliver the right energy to the early crowd to get those bodies moving. The Pistols ‘Silly Thing’, ‘1,2,3’ and ‘(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone’ finish the set on a high.

THE PROFESSIONALS

The Neville Staple Band

I was a little uneasy about the addition of an extra act on this date of the tour, thinking it would bring the energy down, but how wrong was I?

Neville Staple - The Roundhouse 26th March 2022 - Credit - Cris Watkins
Neville Staple – The Roundhouse 26th March 2022 – Credit – Cris Watkins

Ska’s not my usual thing, but you can’t help getting carried away by The Neville Staple Band. They run through a set of absolute classics from The Specials and beyond with ‘Pressure Drop‘, ‘A Message to You, Rudy‘ and ‘Concrete Jungle‘, all getting the crowd skankin’. Still, the highlight for me was the superb ‘Ghost Town‘ with the ten-piece going to town on the track. They’re the perfect party band, and Neville Staple is the ultimate host.

THE NEVILLE STAPLE BAND

Stiff Little Fingers

After bombarding the crowd with some well-loved 70s TV theme tunes, and yes, I found myself singing along to the Minder one, the intro of ‘Go For It‘ emanates from the venue speakers, and already the crowd are clearly up for it.

Stiff Little Fingers - The Roundhouse 26th March 2022 - Credit - Cris Watkins
Stiff Little Fingers – The Roundhouse 26th March 2022 – Credit – Cris Watkins

The band enters from stage right, and the classic guitar intro of ‘Suspect Device‘ rings around the venue and I’m sent back nearly 40 years in time to when I first heard the song. The band may have changed over the years, but Jake Burns’s vocals are still as powerful and recognisable as ever, and the sound here in the iconic Roundhouse is pretty impressive.

Stiff Little Fingers - The Roundhouse 26th March 2022 - Credit - Cris Watkins
Stiff Little Fingers – The Roundhouse 26th March 2022 – Credit – Cris Watkins

At The Edge‘ follows, and again, the crowd receives it with open arms, singing along to every word the band then blast through a career-defining nineteen song set. ‘Just Fade Away‘, ‘Nobody’s Hero‘, Bunny Wailer’s ‘Roots, Radics, Rockers, Reggae‘ are all present and correct, so too the skankin ‘Safe As Houses‘ and the rockin’ ‘Barbed Wire Love‘ what more could the fans ask for? More, always more.

Stiff Little Fingers - The Roundhouse 26th March 2022 - Credit - Cris Watkins
Stiff Little Fingers – The Roundhouse 26th March 2022 – Credit – Cris Watkins

They finish the main set with a wild and sweaty trip through ‘Gotta Gettaway‘ and then hit it with both barrels for an encore of ‘Tin Soldiers‘ and the punk rock anthem ‘Alternative Ulster‘, which wrings out every last drop of energy from the ecstatic fans and they push out back onto the Camden street still singing. Stiff Little Fingers in 2022 will still give any punk band out there a run for their money.

STIFF LITTLE FINGERS

©Cris Watkins Photography

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