Stiff Little Fingers, Pegboy, Dummy | Metro | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Stiff Little Fingers, Pegboy, Dummy 18+ Early Warnings (Music) Recommended Soundboard Image

When: Fri., July 17, 7:30 p.m. 2015

One of the best quirks about Stiff Little Fingers’ 1978 anthem “Suspect Device” is that at the track’s iconic beginning, front man Jake Burns nearly falls off rhythm with his vocals as he digs them deep into his filthy, brawny guitar riff. He guts through it, of course, and then the drums kick in, and then Ali McMordie’s bass walks its way up to that upper octave, and then Burns’s gruff voice sounds like its being blowtorched right onto the reel-to-reel tape. It’s hooky punk rock at its most feral—as is “Wasted Life,” another example—with more of a street-brawler mentality than, say, the Clash, who were easy comparisons to make to the Belfast foursome (though the band can certainly hammer out their own danceable, less-abrasive pub-rock bangers when they feel the impulse). Save a short disbandment in the mid-80s, Burns and his ever-rotating cast of characters have forged on, and just last year they released their tenth full-length studio album, No Going Back (Pledge Music). There’s a heavy poppy gloss to it, and the drums don’t sound enough like they’re being recorded with one mike here and the other one there—and a hokey track title like “Full Steam Backwards” can be pretty tough to swallow—but Burns still writes guitar-riff-loaded punk-rock songs, and occasionally he’ll even reach back to try and summon some of that old-school piss and vinegar. —Kevin Warwick

Price: $23, $20 in advance

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