UK Subs play the Barfly in Cardiff, Wales

Line up: Charlie Harper - vocals, Jamie Oliver - drums, Jet - guitar, Alvin Gibbs - bass

The following review appeared on the R*E*P*E*A*T online fanzine website by BONES

- Cardiff Barly -
- 27 November 2008-

There is little that can be said about Charlie Harper that has not already been highlighted countless times over the 30 plus years that the UK Subversives have been in existence. Even if they are musically not your cup of tea, I defy anyone not to be respectful of a 64 year old man who continues to perform night after night in the most far-flung spots of not only the UK but the globe. So it was tonight that a largely middle aged audience gathered to pay homage to the "Godfather of Punk" in his second visit to the Cardiff Barfly within the last 6 months.

As previously, the support was by Guns on the Roof, a band that did not overly impress me last time, mainly as I thought (incorrectly) that they were a Clash tribute band. However being under no such illusions this time I could give them my full attention, and they actually turned out to be half decent outfit. Dressed pretty much all in black they had a suitable air of menace, and you can't knock their levels of energy and enthusiasm as they knocked out several slabs of street punk to the expectant crowd. In truth whilst they offer nothing that hasn't been done countless times before that does decry from their efforts, and also they seemed like genuinely nice blokes when they later circled the audience trying to flog their latest CD.

The Subs line up was the same as earlier this year - which in itself must be a record given their revolving door policy with band members - so Charlie's "Angels" for tonight were Alvin Gibbs on bass, Jet on guitar and Jamie Oliver (yes really) on drums. Now lets be honest here, everyone knows exactly what they are going to get at a UK Subs gig. So if you like trad-jazz, hip-hop, garage, drum & base (really anything that isn't 100% in your face punk rock) then perhaps it would be best that you stayed at home tonight and washed your hair.

Pic Dr Karanka

They open up with a blistering "CID", and then quickly followed it up with early classics "I Live in a Car", "I Couldn't Be You" and "New York State Police". As per normal the set list is predominantly made up of tracks from the early years, although it was good to hear some relatively recent songs in "Bitter & Twisted" and "Squat 96". However quickly it was back to the tried and tested oldies-but- goodies with "Emotional Blackmail", "Left for Dead" "Tomorrows Girls" and "Teenage" coming in quick succession. The band is tight and battled hardened after years of constant touring, and Charlie sure knows how to work a crowd getting everybody to sing an acapella chorus in the anthemic "Warhead". Resplendent in his Rancid T-shirt he has the audience eating out of his hand and has as much energy as a man half his age.

They finish the set with "Riot" and "Stranglehold" but return for a rather apt encore, as in the week that Guns 'n' Roses finally release their "Chinese Democracy" album the Subs finish with "Down on the Farm" a number Axl Rose chose to cover on their last offering "The Spaghetti Incident". Oh and how many front men would then stay around and sell you a t-shirt from the merchandising stall. Charles Harper a punk legend !!!


Support from Guns on the Roof, My Little Murder. Thanks to Rob Jones for the info, he has also supplied the set list info:

Cardiff Barfly 27/11/2008:
Couldn't Be You
NY State Police
Bitter & Twisted
Squat 96
Emotional Blackmail
Left For Dead
Limo Life
Tomorrows Girls
Down on the Farm
Party in Paris



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