U.K. SUBS – The Last Will And Testament Of U.K. Subs

Cleopatra 2024

Immortality in action: old rebels refuse to relinquish their stranglehold on the scene.

The Last Will And Testament Of U.K. Subs

Perhaps, a club is not the best venue for recording and filming a concert performance for a live album, but could there be a better place than London’s “100 Club” to capture these veterans in their natural habitat? Preserving their September 2023 shows for posterity was important, too, what with those dates forming part of “The Final Tour” by the first-wave punk band – and it was about time to do that as well, since the collective’s previous onstage offering, “Violent State” from 2005, belonged to their original alphabet run of records which finished nine years later. More so, putting out “The Last Will And Testament” seemed vital as the English foursome are still fun to see and listen to, if only to savor the favorite tunes again and to relish the favorites again the visual contrast between the white-haired, distinguished singer Charlie Harper, the sole constant in the ensemble’s many line-ups, and their audience where the musicians’ peers mingle with the youth who sport mohawk and mascara like back in the genre’s halcyon days.

Of course, most of the group’s twenty-five-song set focuses on their early period – the lads play a great part of the band’s first two platters, “Another Kind Of Blues” and “Brand New Age” – but, alongside pieces from the ’80s, there’s a couple of unexpected cuts from the ’90s, just because the anthemic “Riot” and “Bitter & Twisted” tap into the same source of socially charged unbridled energy which hasn’t diminished an iota over the decades as the quartet demonstrate here in style. They don’t waste time on banter with the punters – those eager for words can switch from CD to DVD and check out lengthy convos with two old and two latter-day members – preferring to press on through the cherry-picked numbers of the combo’s enviable catalogue, starting with the bile-blowing “Scum Of The Earth” and leaving the vintage-defying “Teenage” for a finale. As the black-clad bassist Alvin Gibbs and deranged-looking drummer Stefan Häublein ground guitarist Steve Straughan’s riffs and licks that complement his rockabilly appearance on the likes of “Fear Of Girls” and “Tomorrow’s Girls” – although imposing any romantic theme on the ensemble should feel ironic – the blistering “Rockers” and “Fragile” trade belligerence for nuanced delivery without losing aggressive edge, while such brilliant tracks as “Limo Life” vie for celestial space with less obscure classics, including “Disease” and “Warhead” with its reggae-tinged groove and toasting the audience for call-and-response.

With two sets of encores featuring the folk-informed “Party In Paris” and the harmonica-helped, bluesy “I Couldn’t Be You” as well as the angry, heavy “I Live In A Car” and “Squat 96” that expose different aspects of existential angst, wishing for more would be greedy: establishing the veterans’ legacy, “The Last Will And Testament” is perfect as it is.


June 15, 2024

Category(s): Reviews, Video Reviews
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