SOME bands go on for ever and ever, churning out albums, holding comeback tour after comeback tour, spawning tribute acts....others vanish in the mists of time.

But their music and appeal never dies, as was quickly evident last night in Bristol when Tom Robinson took to the stage with his band - sadly not the original line-up - to play a storming set which ran through his iconic debut album Power In The Darkness from the first note to triumphant final chord.

The songs were first performed 40 years ago in Victoria Park, London in front of 80,000 people at Rock Against Racism's Carnival Against The Nazis, alongside Steel Pulse, The Clash and X-Ray Spex.

As Tom wryly said at the start, some of the lyrics of the powerful punk-inspired politics with humour polemics have dated rather - but it was amazing how some hadn't, and the power and passion behind them is still very relevant to the youth of today.

Alongside the 50 and 60-somethings raising Power salutes and belting out the chorus' was a fair sprinkling of the younger generation, and it was soon clear they found the music as inspiring as their parents.

For the majority, however, this was a trip back in time to when certainties were much clearer and we believed we could make a difference.

Playing the whole of this album really showed how good these songs are, with many, from opening number Up Against the Wall through Ain't Gonna Take It, the now-ironically titled Winter of '79 and the title track, clearly singles quality.

It was also great to hear a live version of Man You Never Saw, omitted from TRB's sets back in the day because, as Tom admitted, 'We couldn't play it well enough live".

Current guitarist Adam Phillips, who did a great job in reproducing some of the hefty solos which Danny Kustow delighted with in the 70s, Faithless drummer Andy Treacey and Jim Simmons on keyboard, rose to the task manfully, and as for Tom's bass, well as he joked, he's had 40 years to practice.

TRB fans will remember that the unusual thing about the album was that it did not include the band's first and biggest hit, 2-4-6-8 Motorway, or Glad to be Gay, the song which made Tom Robinson's reputation.

That meant they, together with crowd-pleaser Martin, formed the encore.

There's no doubt Glad to be Gay changed views, attitudes to homosexuality and, later, LGBT politics and life for thousands of people.

It's a brilliant example of how music can spread a message through a simple tune, biting lyrics and at the same time a gloriously happy refrain. If you want an example of how punk made a difference, look no further and be proud.

This tour follows what was supposed to be a one-off set of shows in London last year, and continues tonight (Thursday) at The Globe in Cardiff, on Friday at the Bullingdon, Oxford, drawing to what will surely be a triumphant close on Saturday at the O2 Shepherds Bush Empire.

Support on all shows is Mancunian soul singer Lee Forsyth Griffiths, and tickets should be still available.

Alison Phillips