It is eerily quiet inside the Wulfrun; quiet and close to empty. Yes, people milling are around in the bar but there seems to be no buzz about the place; something that would surprise anyone who goes there regularly. Then The Godfathers (★★★★) hit the stage and it all begins to change.
The crowd, although a little thin on the ground, laps up The Godfathers’ set of fast-paced punk. Their sound is unique; but it’s easy to hear hints of the Ramones, New York Dolls, Iggy & The Stooges, a little Faith No More and Primal Scream on Let Your Hair Hang Down.
Peter Coyne’s vocal is distinctive, deep and low; the vocal harmonies provided by Chris, Del and Grant are excellent. The highlight of the set comes in This Damn Nation which is a veritable wall of sound. It doesn’t matter that the floor isn’t rammed because every single person is engrossed.
The floodgates soon open to chants of “Fingers” and you can barely move for Stiff Little Fingers (★★★★★) fans. The crowd is predominately 40 and over, but it’s great to see the younger fans too; many coming along for the ride with their punk-rocking parents, which is testament to the Stiffs – there’s something here for everyone.
When We Were Young is incredible. Ian McCallum’s vocals soar on Throwing It All Away and possibly the biggest highlight of the night is My Dark Places – a very personal song for Jake Burns, telling us how he suffered with depression. Doesn’t Make It Alright (which is as much ska as it is punk), hits the crowd like a ton of bricks and they hit it, full force, right back. The crowd go mental as Barbed Wire Love fills the hall.
After a small break, the band comes back on for their first encore, Johnny Was, closely followed by At the Edge and ultimate crowd pleaser, Alternative Ulster. The Stiffs display an energy and drive that defies their age and they could easily teach any punk band, young or old, how it’s really done.