Former Stiff Little Fingers man heading to The Lab with XSLF

The Lab.The Lab.
The Lab.

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Cluney: “I’m just proud of making a band that meant so much to other people.”

Stiff Little Fingers founder member Henry Cluney is bringing his band XSLF to The Lab this weekend as part of a 16-date UK tour.

Veteran punks Stiff Little Fingers (SLF) formed in Belfast in the late 1970s and their debut album Inflammable Material is regarded as one of the genre’s classics and one which also highlighted the wider Troubles in Northern Ireland to a global audience.

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Cluney featured on all the band’s classic early releases and formed XSLF in 2013 after re-connecting with former SLF drummer Jim Reilly.

Cluney said: “XSLF started in 2013 when I met Jim again after years of not seeing him.

“I had been doing solo shows for a few years prior and Jim put the idea forward to form a band.

“We only wanted to play music we were actually involved in and that meant the first three albums - anything else would have made us a very strange tribute act.

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“Since then, we have been writing and recording original music which is being well received.”

While Cluney and Reilly put together XSLF, Reilly has since had to stand down for health reasons.

Cluney is joined in XSFL by bassist Ave Tsarion and drummer Glenn Kingsmore – the latter from legendary Belfast band The Defects.

Along with the likes of The Clash, Sex Pistols, The Damned, Buzzcocks and Sham 69, Stiff Little Fingers were there at the start of the punk rock movement in the 1970s.

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In their early years, they were based around the trio of Cluney, Jake Burns and Ali McMordie with a series of different drummers including Reilly.

After splitting in the early 1980s, the band reformed later in the decade with Cluney departing in the early 1990s.

As a teenager Cluney grew up listening to T.Rex and David Bowie before getting into metal.

It was former SLF member Burns who inspired him to pick up a guitar.

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Talking about Stiff Little Fingers’ early days in Belfast and the impact punk had on the music scene, Cluney said: “It was huge, getting together with people we would never have met because of the religious divide. It was more than music.

“I think punk meant I didn’t have to worry about how bad a guitar player I was and that's still my excuse.”

Reflecting on his tenure in SLF, he added: “I’m just proud of making a band that meant so much to other people.

“Yes, the awards and TV were great, but they are nothing without fans.”

XSLF headline The Furious Thursday on Saturday, December 3.

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Support is by Cardiff’s Dropping Like Flies, Corby instrumental duo Family Of Noise, Northampton’s Tankesque and hosts Julie’s Dead.

Venus Fly Trap’s Alex Novak will also be DJ-ing between acts.

Doors at the Charles Street venue open at 7.30pm.

Tickets cost £10 in advance before fees via or £15 on the door.

For more information, visit

Additional reporting by Pete Dennis.

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