Stiff Little Fingers + GFP at El Rey Theater in Los Angeles
Two things I really, really love: punk rock and being Irish. When those two come together, I feel like I finally "belong". This wee little lass was an introverted, camera-toting art dork all throughout high school, so when I feel like I connect with a large crowd, that's saying a lot.
This was a few night of firsts for me. It was my first time shooting the El Rey, actually my first time even being there, my first time seeing Stiff Little Fingers, and my first time being too prepared for a show. Yes, there is such a thing sometimes. The El Rey, among other historic well-known venues in LA, is notoriously known for not usually having a photo pit for photographers. I came armed with a big guy (70-200mm), preparing to have to stand on the side somewhere behind a bunch of people but then discovered there was a photo pit after all. I thought I wouldn't be able to get anything decent because I'd be too close to the action with no ability to really zoom out, but it actually all worked out just fine.
Stiff Little Fingers had one, yet fulfilling, opener. General Fucking Principle started off the show with a bang. For anyone not in the know (shame on you, you oughta be!), this is a punk/hardcore super group consisting of Tom Paul Davis, Tony Alva, Joey Castillo, and Greg Hetson. Need I say more? Didn't think so. All legends in their own right. They tore right through their set; Tom Paul Davis literally flying through the air and bouncing around, giving gravity a run for it's money. They dedicated "Bad Influence" to the late and dearly departed Jay Adams.
The house became twice as packed by the time Stiff Little Fingers went on. A mix of slightly younger and older folk, some with Irish accents, some without, poured in toward the stage. Surly yet hearty roars erupted in unison as frontman Jake Burns walked out and tore their set apart. Their undeniable fast punchy riffs and vocals sent everyone in the front rows and mosh pit into a frenzy. Having never seen them before, I was pleasantly surprised at the performance and energy of these professional Irish punk rockers who've been doing this same thing for 40 years and haven't lost their touch...or should I say punch? I can honestly say the fire never stops burning in the Irish blood!