In Aid of the Hillsborough Justice Campaign
Justice Tonight - Featuring Mick Jones, Primal Scream and More

As the Justice Tonight tour rolls into the smoke for its London leg, now seemingly a bandwagon which has grown rapidly from a one-off Liverpool gig to a fully fledged UK run of dates, the concerts have seen headline grabbing guests a plenty so far but later into this assignment in the capital they come so thick and fast that it becomes nigh impossible to keep up with it.

A good humoured but noticeably well weathered crowd have amassed at Scala for a concert centred around the tour mainstays Mick Jones, Pete Wylie and The Farm who originally came together for the first event in September. When the assembled collective enjoyed that show nearly as much as the audience, Justice came out of the blocks as a nationwide tour and took the starting point of the Don’t Buy The Sun and Justice For The ‘96 Campaigns. By adding classic protest rock and roll into the mix they created a politically focused music format that proves difficult for anyone to resist, especially when it includes The Clash’s back catalogue.

The gig is three bands and DJ Terry Farley down by the time most of the crowd arrive just after eight, this shows how many people are jostling to get onto the bill. The first batch of political content is assiduously despatched with a double hander between a Wapping strike veteran and Steve Rotherham, MP for Walton East, then The Farm take to the stage. Their souped-up, four-track set of versions of their major hits deploys their top-line anthem ‘All Together Now’ early on as Mick Jones and Pete Wylie take to the stage for their seamless changeover.

With Wylie at centre-stage for his segment, he seems to revel in his Scouse ringmaster role, bantering with the band and the audience with his trademark warmth and self deprecating humour, mocking his Johnny Cash shirt while unleashing the classics ‘Story of the Blues’ and ‘Sinful’ alongside his now notorious polemic to ‘The Death of Margaret Thatcher’. As Peter polishes up with ‘Heart as Big at Liverpool’, he delivers a typical Wylie anecdote: “The record company said you can’t release that, no-one outside Liverpool will buy it. Thing was, they were wrong, no-one in Liverpool bought it either.”

With a great sense of bonhomie amongst the band and the tour party as a whole, the show is surprisingly taut, well plotted and structured which suggest that beyond these concerts, there should be possibilities for Justice events or festival appearances in 2012. A blistering, almost bewildering pace develops throughout the two and half hour main set and as the much anticipated concluding Clash set sees Jones and Simonon again share the stage, the night becomes a rolling series of highlight upon highlight. Knocking straight through ‘Train In Vain’, ‘Stay Free’ and ‘Bankrobber’, the latter with Paul Cook’s daughter Holly on vocals. Hard-Fi’s Richard Archer turns up on ‘Clampdown’. When Simonon, and the Primal Scream triumvirate of Innes, Gillespie, and Little Barrie arrive to nail down ‘Rocks’, ‘White Man In Hammersmith Palais’ and ‘Brand New Cadillac’, the show goes up yet another gear. No mean feat given the moments that tonight’s event and the Justice tour as a whole have already given.

When ‘Guns of Brixton’ and ‘London’s Calling’ close out the main set, the crowd are fast becoming a spent force, but the group manage to return to run through ‘Janie Jones’, Big Audio Dynamite’s ‘Rush’ and a seemingly obligatory reprise of ‘All Together Now’.

Overall, the Scala gig marks an exhilarating and hugely impassioned evening, neatly balanced with (but not overpowered by) politics. After tonight, this tour and the energy which it has roused, it has to be hoped that Justice Tonight will look to continuing these events and spreading their word into 2012.

Words by James Masters
Photos by Al de Perez

For a photo gallery of the event, click For a review of the performance, click HERE.

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