Music » Livewire

UK Subs

with Anti-Flag, Allergic to Whores, and Hit Squad. Friday, October 20, at the Blind Lemon.


Punk rock has, over the years, been adopted by countless bands with diverse sounds, all of whom have redefined the format to fit their own sensibilities. But, if punk were to be assessed stylistically, its defining moment would have to be that of England circa 1977. With the Sex Pistols in the lead, bands popped up like unruly weeds all over England. Rockers, skiffle singers, and R&B bands alike knew a good thing when they heard it and quickly dropped their previous sounds in favor of playing three chords and taking on the social ill of choice. The UK Subs came from this historic trajectory. Lead singer Charlie Harper had fronted an R&B outfit that dissolved rapidly, when punk exploded, into the UK Subs. Adding guitarist Nicky Garrat a few months later, the Subs were set for what has become a quarter-century of ambitiously carrying the punk rock flag. Always anchored by the duo of Harper and Garrat, the UK Subs went through a host of bassists and drummers over the years, yet always remained completely true to '77 punk in their musical approach. The band separated in the mid-'80s, and now, after a decade's worth of downtime, they've reunited and released a pair of records. The recent Subs music is astonishingly pure punk and remains focused on actually delivering a bit of social commentary. Charged, fast-paced, high-energy punk rock that keeps things relatively simple and often carries a lyrical social conscience is still the Subs' specialty -- proof that old punks neither die nor fade away; they just keep playing, whether or not anyone listens.

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