It was bittersweet when I learned it was the second-to-last show the House of Blues Sunset would host before closing its doors for good. I knew the fate of the venue, soon-to-be demolished and turned into another shopping mall / condo outfit, a place where the highfalutin clerks will ignore my threadbare sensibilities while I stare at the condos I can only dream of someday being able to afford; but I just didn’t realise it was so soon.
The Stiff Little Fingers brought their Irish punk to the masses on July 31st and I had the pleasure of getting to attend the show. Ricky Warwick opened up, playing a rockabilly-gone-acoustic set and later, LA punk band, The Briggs took to the stage to get everyone pumped up.
Finally SLF came on. It was my first time seeing them live. Being a fan of their early albums, the show itself was a bit less adrenaline packed than I expected it to be. The crowd looked on and cheered, but it didn’t get much more wild than that.
Stiff Little Fingers frontman, Jake Burns, kicked things off with “Nobody’s Hero”. Throughout the night Jake introduced songs and gave backstories on where he was in life when they were written. Song “Dark Places” was preceded by Jake’s opinion that medical professionals don’t really understand depression, suggesting “the first step is to talk about it”, rather than just blindly prescribing medication to patients. The audience hollered in agreement.
Later it was “Stummerville” a song he wrote and dedicated to Joe Strummer. “Guilty As Sin” was a song written in response to the abuse accusations of the Catholic church, and “When We Were Young” was written in dedication to Thin Lizzy frontman Phil Lynott.
By the time Stiff Little Fingers played “Fly the Flag”, the crowd had finally started getting real loose. Encore “Wasted Life” killed and “Alternative Ulster” closed out the night.
While the night lacked that young punk energy that I’ve only known from listening to the SLF’s early outputs, they still put on a worthy show. Maybe I expected to get shoved around a bit more, but how much angst can a West Hollywood crowd have?
Farewell House of Blues Sunset. Thanks for letting me rock out inside you one last time, and to Stiff Little Fingers, catch you on your next LA visit.