U.K. Subs

Saturday, October 23; Creepy Crawl

Is there a punk club, squat, youth center, public toilet or Dumpster in the free world that the U.K. Subs haven't played? Granted, the band has included more transient performers in its 28 years than Saturday Night Live. And OK, so the Subs tour with different lineups for the U.K. and for the rest of the world, totaling ten different musicians for this nominal quartet. And maybe all that relentless touring has diminished the sense of occasion when the indefatigable Subs pull into town yet again.

But the band that shows up at the Creepy Crawl will include three-fourths of the lineup that recorded late-'70s trash classics like "Stranglehold" and "Teenage." Stalwart singer Charlie Harper was joined by original guitarist Nicky Garratt and original bassist Alvin Gibbs a few years back, restoring some legitimacy to the punk minstrel show the band had become. Harper (who has to be approaching 60) may have kept the b(r)and name alive, but Garratt's crack guitar and poppy songs propelled the early Subs records to glory.

With the 2002 release of Universal, the Subs reached "U" in their alphabetically titled oeuvre, but anything after, say, 1982's Endangered Species need not concern the contemporary listening public. The kids pay up to hear the classics, show off their studs 'n' bristles and party like it's 1979. In his three decades treading the boards, old Charlie Harper has learned to give the kids what they want.

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