U.K. Subs play The Fleece, Bristol, England
(vocals & harmonica)
Jet – guitar
Alvin Gibbs – bass
Jamie Oliver – drums
- Above: "Charlie's little fridge at The Fleece" photo by Yuko! Click to enlarge
All line-up photographs courtesy of Jez Keefe.
No copying of Jez's work without permission.
← Click the logo to visit
Jez's photography website.
Photos of this gig by Peter Noble CLICK HERE
The SetBacks, who supported the Subs at their 21st May Bristol gig, kindly donated the money they made from any sales of their CD, their stickers and badges to the Japanese earthquake relief fund!
The band and Yuko would like to acknowledge this wonderful gesture.
Yuko has a 'Japanese earthquake relief fund' donation receptical at her merchandise stall at every Subs gig. Please continue to support the fund with any donation you can - however big or small.
The news on the aftermath of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster may have been sidelined by the British media, but please don't forget that the effects will be felt by those who suffered it for years to come.
Time & Matter website will be donating all profits from the sale of a forthcoming U.K. Subs 7" single they are releasing to help a family in Japan - more news of which soon...
Thanks also to everyone so far who has popped some money into the fund-box on Yuko's merch stall.
- Below: Pictures of this gig by Patrick Kerrane. Click to enlarge
Cheers again Paddy!
Below: QRO magazine review
|Written by Andy Pryor|
|Friday, 03 June 2011|
The U.K. Subs have to be one of the hardest working bands in the history of rock music. Their display at The Fleece and Firkin in Bristol on Saturday, 21st May was a timely reminder of how they have stood the test of time, and why they retain such a loyal and affectionate following: a raucous and blistering high-tempo set delivered with all the exuberance of a band on their debut tour. A crowd that spanned the generations was testament to a music that is still appealing to new layers of punk fans.
What the uninitiated need to know is that frontman Charlie Harper has belted out his blues-tinged punk anthems with passion and commitment with the Subs since the late ‘70s. On this evidence he has lost none of his intensity. He was backed by the relatively youthful and energetic Jamie Oliver on drums, the faultless and fluid Jet on guitar and the accomplished experience of the charismatic Alvin Gibbs, who first played bass with the Subs as far back as 1980. It's a strong line-up that emanates a hard working professionalism and warm chemistry.
Those who have known and enjoyed the Subs in the past need to get reacquainted. Wearing "U.K. Subs on Tour Forever" shirt with pride to this gig, still believing in their immortality, but asking whether one would get many more opportunities to see them in action. Harper reported to the audience a light-hearted comment he'd had to deal with before going on stage: "Hey Charlie, aren't you too old for this?" He'd responded with, "Course I am, but who fucking cares?!" The fact is, despite his years, he never seems too old and remains a top performer.
Even if you'd seen the U.K. Subs more than any other band over the years, their performance at The Croft in Bristol just before Christmas last year ranked as one of the best. This latest Bristol gig at the famous Fleece and Firkin, a venue rapidly gaining a reputation for putting punk firmly back on the agenda, was just as impressive.
So tonight the audience were treated, as expected, to a range of classics including "Warhead" which is often regarded as their signature tune, "Kicks", "Tomorrow's Girls", "Left For Dead", and "Stranglehold". With an extensive back catalogue of old favourites (if they haven't yet achieved their ambition of releasing an album for every letter of the alphabet, then they can't be far off it) they could afford to leave out "CID", "I Live In a Car", "Telephone Numbers", "Lady Esquire", etc. In fact the only song from their acclaimed album Diminished Responsibility was an impromptu rendition of "You Don't Belong" in response to shouted requests from the crowd.
For many, Charlie and his band embody the real spirit of British punk. A couple of years ago a BBC Radio show held a Punk World Cup competition in which the great British punk bands were pitted against each other. Music journalists and industry stalwarts weighed in with their perspectives and anecdotes before passing judgment on which bands should progress to the next round. The Subs were crowned world champions having knocked out The Clash, Sham 69, The Sex Pistols, and Stiff Little Fingers along the way. The Subs have never gone away because they have always remained committed to their music and rooted to their audience. While Joe Strummer has rightly received accolades for influencing the political direction of punk, Charlie Harper's contribution should not be overlooked. While not always overtly political, Harper's lyrics are laced with references to the harshness of working class life, to struggle, to the need for solidarity and mutuality, to the absurdity of and the threats posed by excessive power.
Jet's guitar playing is fluent and effortless. Whether it's the machine-gun quick chords of "Born a Rocker, Die a Rocker" or the bluesy solos to songs like "Emotional Blackmail", his instrument seems to play by itself while he steers, points and rides it like a surfer. With Gibbs' agile and angular delivery on bass and the punchy and incisive percussion of Oliver, Harper has the perfect backdrop for his penetrating slogans.
The older songs still resonate more than 30 years later and, placed alongside the relatively more recent "Squat 86" and "Riot", and the much newer "This Chaos", the crowd was reminded of that sharp anger and the political perspective that is never far away in Harper's lyrics.
These sentiments have even more weight when placed alongside the humility and integrity that was, again, much in evidence tonight. Although a punk icon, Harper, together with his band, are regarded with great affection because they have always mixed openly with fans, ready to greet, joke and chat. They did the same this evening at The Fleece and gave us a generous performance: tight, energised, slick, committed and good humoured.
One fan from Derby had travelled down to Bristol after seeing the band play a couple of nights before. It was fitting that he was able to walk away with the set list (QRO photo) as a memento, holding it up as a hard won trophy as he walked away from the stage. Even if you'd previously struggled to tap into the mentality of those who follow their idols up and down the country, for once, you understood.
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