Critic's Choice

U.K. Subs

Who'd have thought that a band like the Clash would ever make it to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? True, Joe Strummer and company did flirt with the mainstream a bit, but even in today's climate of punk patronization, it seems creepy to lump the group that wrote "Complete Control" in with Steely Dan and the Eagles. Luckily, you won't ever have to worry about seeing English punk stalwarts U.K. Subs jamming alongside Sting or Rod Stewart at any glitzy induction ceremonies. The Subs, formed in 1976 by singer (and only constant member) Charlie Harper, made a string of albums between '79 and '82 that solidified the band's brash, tuneful, shout-along style. And even though it was one of the most successful punk acts on the British charts at the time, its sound kind of fell through the cracks between the original, pop-oriented punk of Sham 69 and the more skin-peeling assault of subsequent hardcore outfits like GBH. Dark, passionate and anthemic, the Subs' indelible music carried the band through dozens of lineup and label changes over the years. And although associated with some bigger names in the past -- Guns N' Roses covered their "Down on the Farm" on The Spaghetti Incident; Lars Frederiksen of Rancid was a full-time member; even Flea once laid down bass for them in the studio -- U.K. Subs have slugged it out in small bars and clubs across the world for over a quarter of a century now. The group put out a respectable, if slightly winded, album last year called Universal, but its newest release is a split single with Denver's own alchemists of noise, the Eight Bucks Experiment. Catch Harper and company at the Lion's Lair on Thursday, October 9, with Toxic Narcotic and Self Service; and see a sweaty, down-to-earth legend that's never going to have to worry about fucking around with all that acclaim and recognition -- that is, until someone founds the Punk Rock Hall of Fame.

 
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