Review – Ruts DC/UK Feds – The Bullingdon Oxford – Laurel and Hardy – Vue Fulham – 25-10-15.

Gig Review – Ruts DC/UK Feds – The Bullingdon Oxford – 25-10-15.

Laurel and Hardy Revival – Vue Fulham Broadway.

Having primed the Sugar Tongs for Oxford, Diddie in Black and Blue (DiBaB) and yours truly (EiTC) set off to Way Out West departing as we were from The South…

The South of What Sir?

The South of London…

Apologies to Mr Broad but somehow along the way we ended up having fun in South West Six…

The year was 1937 and Laurel and Hardy were playing at the Vue cinema in Fulham Broadway. Where (apres subtle yogic activity of an inverted nature…) we enjoyed the delightful pairing of Way Out West and Towed in a Hole on the Silver Screen. Much Mirth, Merriment and Tittering followed (Guaranteed, naturally!) setting up a kind of theme for the day…

Laurel and Hardy

After having caught up with Stan and Ollie we set the controls for the Car Park known as the A40 and gently rolled in the general direction of Oxford…

Getting near we ventured to turn on The Sat Nav which said left a bit, left a bit more and fire…

Duly arrived we ventured forth in search of nourishment, stopping off en route for a quick hello and how do with a Rut and a UK Fed, we eventually found ourselves sampling the contemporary Indian Cuisine at the delightful Malikas. Fed and watered to a most satisfactory standard we ventured back towards The Bullingdon, the venue for tonight’s gig. Firstly stopping off at the café bar section, before heading in to the venue proper to catch the show, where we caught up with none other than Shazzer and Mr T…

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Up first the UK Feds did their stuff ever more convincingly, appearing at ease and in control throughout. The crowd showed them appreciation as they cranked out the Punkish/Rocky/Ska-ish tones of their set, which came across really well, both sonically and visually in this cool venue. Before we knew it, it was all over and they were giving the audience and Ruts DC their sincere appreciation and gratitude, a nice touch (and the first underlining of the end of tour feeling in the air for tonight’s gig).

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In a thrice, it was time for the main event as Ruts DC took to the stage and kicked off with Surprise. Having heard this toward the beginning of the tour in Guildford, then again in London, there was a familiarity about it now. At the same time there was also a sense of progression as it sounded and felt somewhat tighter and more polished (as Mr Miller alluded to in his South Coast Special – can’t wait for the new album).

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The awesome Mighty Soldier next as the set began to follow a similar pattern from previous gigs in the tour. (The sound was spot on in The Bullingdon tonight, a venue which seemed to have something of the old Marquee in Wardour St about it in a good way, leading DiBaB to reminisce about seeing them there in 78/79 etc Etc EiTC…)

Ruffy Segs

The end of tour feeling came in to its own now with the Ruffy and Segs stand-up double act ensuring there was a good level of humorous between song shenanigans and goings on, which added nicely to the already comedic feel of the day started in London 78 years previously!

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The set began to take a few twists and turns as It Was Cold was omitted to reappear later in the set. We were treated to a superb Different View, always a welcome addition. Dangerous Minds was on another level tonight with its slower tempo adding to the atmosphere of the song while Leigh’s guitar work excelled. On which note Leigh seemed to have thoroughly bedded in his new rig since its first outing in London two weeks ago, as the sound was spot on and he played out of his skin.

Leigh and Dino

The largely friendly crowd danced and grooved for most of the set, only at one point did they get a bit too lively (leaving one poor soul wounded) and Ruffy had stern words with them to rein them in, backed up in full by Segs, which thankfully did the trick!

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The subtle reggae groove of Love in Vain was easily one of the (many) highlights of the evening with its seamless segue into Police and Thieves, pure class!

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Once again a fine mix of Ruts/Ruts DC classics in with the recent and the brand new. (On which note, as previously stated re. Surprise – newer numbers Second Hand Child and Psychic Attack, really are shaping up well and fitting glove like alongside and amongst the older/established material!)

Encore time saw the band remaining on stage while they joked about their age and not being bothered with going off and coming back on again…

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Then there were Five or maybe there were six… As Jon and Mikey from the UK Feds bolstered their numbers for a proper treatment of In A Rut and they were joined by an inflatable dinosaur.

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A couple more numbers rounded out the encore finishing the night with a sterling Society, which may have seen DiBaB and EiTC dancing with the aforementioned dinosaur.

First class entertainment from a first class band who just seem to go from strength to strength…

And a couple of welcome glasses followed at the bar chatting with Lewis and Sara.

Top Band, Top Night, Top Venue etc Etc EiTC…

Over…

Words: EiTC.

UK Feds, UK Feds/Ruts DC and First 3 Ruts DC Photos: Sharon Williams.

Remaining Ruts DC Photos: Mark Taylor.

Bonus:

Shazzer:

Foxtrot Oscar Leigh Segs Leigh Leigh2 Matt Di Di No Saur Dino up high

Mr T:

Dave BW Dino Matt Di

Guest Review – Ruts DC – Psychic attack on the South Coast – Brighton/Southsea 21-22 Oct 2015

Ruts DC – Psychic attack on the South Coast…

Andy Miller brings us this from Brighton and Southsea…

Well, as many people who know me will testify, I do like my live music and a band that are very special to me are Ruts DC! Firstly because one of my best and oldest friends Leigh is the guitarist in this band but also because they are one of the best bands out there! I have seen this band on many occasions over these past few years and can honestly say they are an exceptional group who just get better and better. For my sins I never got to see The Ruts live which is something that I have always regretted. And apart from them being the local band along with the Lurkers my only contact back in the day (1979) was bumping into Malcolm Owen in Uxbridge town just after I had purchased Babylon’s Burning on 7 inch single and getting him to scribble his moniker on the picture cover (sadly I had this stolen along with a lot of my records at a party many years ago and although at the time I was probably fairly nonplussed about it – now it really eats at me and would be a prized possession if I still had it).

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Move forward a few years to the mid to late eighties and through Leigh I got to know Paul Fox who played in various bands like Choir Militia, Big Boys and the Dirty Strangers, so I had a sort of loose connection again and got to see Foxy play live quite a bit over the oncoming years. As Paul’s health deteriorated, Leigh, with Paul’s blessing, stepped into dep on gigs when the man himself couldn’t play. Sadly Foxy passed away a few years back and when Segs Jennings and Dave Ruffy were approached about doing a couple of gigs as Ruts DC, Leigh got the call and as they say the rest is history.

Brighton – Komedia 21st Oct:

Fast forward to Wednesday evening and the Komedia in Brighton for the second of Three South coast gigs on their Psychic Attack Tour. This is a first time at this venue for me and I was very impressed! Prior to the gig went I for a pint with Leigh in a Brighton boozer and we were joined by Simon from the Neurotics and Rupert from the Jim Jones Revue, where the conversation was obviously all about music. Then it was into the venue to catch the final few numbers from the UK Feds who are the support on this tour and a nice bunch of lads who play real music and hopefully will go far. It was good to catch up with quite a few familiar faces as always and a decent crowd was in situ as Segs, Dave and Leigh took to the stage at 9pm…

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The opening song of the set was a new song Surprise which is a great taster for the new album to be recorded when the band return from their Australia/New Zealand Tour next month. Next up Mighty Soldier from Rhythm Collision 2. Then the first visit to the Ruts back catalogue with Backbiter closely followed by It was Cold/Mirror Smashed with a stunning guitar solo from Leigh full of power and angst.

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The set as always is well balanced and back to back songs from Animal now – Dangerous Minds and No time to kill are up next , Second Hand Child is a powerful new song about abuse, this song just gets better and better and Seg’s vocal delivery on this is exceptional – he really spits out the lyrics. Love in vain is also an emotive song but on a different level and is dedicated to Malcolm ,Paul , and anybody that has lost somebody.

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Then the final salvo of the main set is launched with the anthemic West One followed by the new song and title track of the pending new album Psychic attack, two of the shortest songs in the set bar Society but boy do they hit the spot and nearly took the roof of the Komedia! We then get in quick succession Staring at the Rude boys, Jah War, Babylon’s Burning and a jaw dropping In a Rut to close the main set.

They left the stage to great applause but were soon back for a three song encore kicking off with a cover Brand new Cadillac, then Something That I Said and the shortest song in the whole of the Ruts/Ruts DC catalogue – Society to end what had been one of the best gigs I had seen this year along with their gig back at the 100 Club in January…

Southsea – The Wedgewood Rooms 22nd Oct:

Fast forward 24 Hours and I am now at another new venue for me – The Wedgewood Rooms in Southsea. With the same format of visiting a pub with Leigh and friends for a couple of pints then into the venue for a few numbers from the support band before Ruts DC took the stage at the later time of 10pm.

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There was a decent crowd in who were well up for the gig and the band (which I didn’t think was possible) took it to a higher level than the previous night. It was exactly the same set as the night before which, if I had to choose, although very hard – the stand out tracks would be Mirror smashed, Love in Vain , Rude boys and an even more blistering version of In a Rut than the previous night (aided by Segs skipping over and flicking all Leigh’s switches etc to maximum).

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A brief exit and return back to stage for an extended encore to the previous night with, as Segs introduced it, the b side of our first single (and a storming) H-Eyes – a song which up until two weeks ago I had never seen played live and have now seen twice after hearing it at Boileroom in Guildford). This was followed by Brand New Cadillac, Something That I Said and a rip-roaring Society to round off a fantastic gig and the final song on the South Coast leg… What a gig! And if possible it did top the Brighton gig but only just and as back to back gigs go these two will take some beating in my eyes.

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As an overall summary of the past two gigs it is so refreshing to see a band who have such a revered legacy and could go out and play the Crack with singles and b-sides every night but this is not what this band is about – they want to move forward. New songs, ideas, plans etc and I applaud them for this. And long may they continue to do so and not rest on their laurels. I would like to thank Seg’s ,Dave and Leigh for these great gigs and end with this -Bring on the Psychic attack album HURRAH!

Over…

Words and Photos: Andy Miller.

Bonus Brighton:

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Bonus Southsea:

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Gig Review – Ruts DC – Jazz Café Camden – 13-Oct-15.

Gig Review – Ruts DC – Jazz Café Camden – 13-Oct-15.

Did I mention how great Ruts DC were in Guildford?

That’s one of the drawbacks of Time Travel…

…Amnesia that is!

…Along with Time-lag a kind of temporal (or time-based) dysphasia if you will…

Anyway, I ramble…

They were so great that there I was just a few days later (of a Tuesday) doing it all again!

A quick detour meant stopping off for some wonderful sustenance at Diwana in Drummond St, Euston. Then back on track and off to the bright lights of Camden Town…

Arriving ticketless tonight, something I rarely do, I bought one from the box office and paid a premium of several quid above face value, mental note when attending this venue – get ticket beforehand to avoid this extra levy! Whilst I wouldn’t object if this money were to go the band, somehow I think this may not be the case! (happy to be proven otherwise of course…) Also, it was a rather risky venture given how well filled the venue was for the main act tonight… But I again ramble…

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Support act UK Feds, did their stuff once more and warmed up the crowd who had made it in time to catch their impressive act, earning the audiences appreciation which was visually apparent from the ever increasing foot tapping, approving nods and applause.

At around Nine, the place had filled out nicely, which was handy, as Ruts DC arrived on stage to kick off with tonight’s proceedings…

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Opening once more with the cool drum intro to new song Surprise, “we’re in for another vintage evening for sure…”

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But wait, what’s this? Someone has fed and watered the tech gremlins as Leigh struggles to tame his shiny new guitar rig and Mr Ruffy’s kit is determined to go walk about… It’s a minor setback as they shrug it off and get on with the job in hand…

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And the place was soon rocking to the rafters through Mighty Soldier, Back Biter and It Was Cold. Then to a tasty Trio from Animal Now – in the shape of Mirror Smashed, No Time To Kill and Dangerous Minds…

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Back up to date with new number Second Hand Child followed by Ruts Classics Sus and West One, the crowd were right behind it the whole way. Then the band Ramped up another notch with another new number the frenetic Psychic Attack. From where they took it straight back down again with a sublime Love In Vain replete with Police and Thieves medley, perfection!

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The boys were once again on fine form tonight and the earlier sound bugs were soon ironed out. Segs and Ruffy were in good spirits, the banter was to their usual high standard as they took time to reminisce about previous visits to The Jazz Café for example, on one such occasion to see the legendary Sly and Robbie. Leigh too was totally on top of his game giving us an energetic inspired performance, and remaining firmly on his toes while coaxing the juju from his new gear.

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Up next Jah Wars which saw guest Toaster Supa4 (of The Trojan Sound System, among others… referred to by Dave Ruffy as one of The Brixton Generals) deliver the goods with class and style much to the delight of the crowd, who duly danced/skanked and chanted along…

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Staring At The Rude Boys followed by Babylon’s Burning rounded out the main set in an energetic flourish which the audience duly lapped up.

Segs then informed us that they couldn’t be bothered to go off and come back on again so they would just get on with the encore!

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They were joined by another guest, guitarist Rupert Orton (formerly of the Jim Jones Revue), who ably assisted in the delivery of In A Rut, complete with medley middle section including Shakin’ All Over and Public Image in addition to some fine trading of solos from the guitarists (also, with a bit of Human Punk in there somewhere, if I remember correctly?…).

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Rupert was just about to leave when Segs asked him to stay for another number and they delivered Brand New Cadillac. Then he made his exit and the band finished off with Something That I Said…

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Or did they? (while we’re on the subject, I’m sure we got Society in the encore somewhere too but my head was spinning with the awe of it all by this time, so some of the detail is a little hazy) The crowd were pleading for more and the band were eager to deliver but the Tour Manager was looking at his watch and signalled ‘two minutes’. Segs concluded that it would have to be a fast one, as they delivered a barnstorming H-eyes!

Verdict: A first class/top night out in Camden Town with Ruts DC, perfect Tuesday!

Over…

Words and Photos: EiTC

Bonus:

segs 3 Ruffy 1 Leigh Leigh gurn crowd 2 rdc rdc smile Segs

Gig Review Ruts DC Boileroom Guildford 10th October 2015.

Gig Review Ruts DC Boileroom Guildford 10th October 2015.

As Mrs Bloggs quite rightly pointed out-it’s Rutting season, or if you believe the voice recognition software on a certain fruity brand of phone it’s writing thing in… (Shouts!) writing writing!!! (Screams) writing season!!!… (Oh bother after getting rather concerned glances and being given a refreshingly wide berth on the 8.06 cattle-class into the big smoke, I decide it’s much easier to just type it in! Rutting… wf)…

Anyhow, what better way to take advantage of this fact, than take a leisurely drive out of town on the M4, swing by sunny old Stanwell (Sir John Gibson indeed!) to collect SiB and head for a spin through the leafy Surrey countryside to the charmed hamlet of Guildford? Where we rendezvous with fellow Rutters: Guildford Lil, Lefty and a mystery woman…

There were three pigeons, while Pigeon himself was nowhere to be seen, so we headed out, guided by the expert hand of G-Lil, to India for pre-Rutting sustenance at The Rose Valley where a warm welcome was given and several delicious Thali’s served. Hunger sated, we made our way to the venue for tonight’s gig, The Boileroom…

Inside what appeared to have been a big old pub at some time, we caught up with Straightenout and several other friendly familiar faces.

UK Feds

Before long support act the UK Feds made an appearance and charmed us with their mix of punkish, rocky, well-crafted tunes, which fit quite nicely into a support slot forThe Ruts DC. Later I found out that this was actually the third time I’d seen them! A fact which had hitherto eluded me due their chameleon like ability to shape-shift visually, sonically and nominally! Good Stuff!

A little later (well actually it may have been ages, tempus fugit etc Etc EiTC) it was time for the main event…

Review:

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Ruts DC took the stage and kicked off with a spanking new number, in the shape of the rather excellent Surprise! Barely had we recovered from this sonic marvel as they hit us with a reggae one two consisting of the delicious Whatever We Do and the marvellous Mighty Soldier. Then it was back to the early Punk era with another one two consisting of the brilliant Back Biter and the super atmosphere of It Was Cold. Barely time to recover as the next one two came in the shape of two Ruts DC classics No Time To Kill and Dangerous Minds…

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Back to the new with the serious business of anti-abuse number Second Hand Child. Then back to the past with the pairing of a sizzling Sus and a wonderful West One. Before coming bang up to date with another new number the super Psychic Attack!

A more sombre note as Love In Vain is dedicated to the memory of Malcolm Owen and Paul Fox (along with name checks from Segs for many other tragic early departures from the world of music) which then segued brilliantly in to Police and Thieves before seguing back again..

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Up a notch for a mighty Jah War and then it went off the scale for a finale of Staring At The Rude Boys and Babylon’s Burning.

Encore time:

Encore

After doing a disappearing act Tommy Cooper would’ve been proud of the boys returned with “the best song we ever wrote!” In A Rut, which meandered; morphing, twisting and turning, paying tribute to their musical roots along the way with nods to Johnny Kidd and Johnny Lydon among others.

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We could have gone home happy there but they kept on keeping on with a sublime Something That I Said. After which their tour manager popped his head around the curtain signalling they only had time for one more, so Segs put it to the audience, the loudest voice being heard requesting H-eyes which they duly delivered with aplomb (despite protestations they hadn’t rehearsed it)!

Conclusion:

The Ruts/Ruts DC are Punk Rock Survivors their legacy is second to none. They have always been a cut above the rest musically and the greatness of their song writing means their older material is just as relevant today as it was originally. Fast forward 36 plus years and tonight we have witnessed the delivery of a trio of new songs which sound just as fresh, finely crafted and relevant as their back catalogue.

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Master drummer Dave Ruffy as ever makes it all look deceptively easy with his effortless style and calm friendly demeanour, while delivering a master class of subtlety and unique style.

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Front man Segs is equally masterful with his bass delivery putting all the notes in the right places with deftness and skill, as he balances his lead singer duty on top of this, barely breaking a sweat and all the while delivering the between song banter with a balance of good humoured repartee, telling the story and getting the message across.

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Guitarist Leigh Hegarty already has a proven track record but he appears to go from strength to strength. As witnessed tonight. With his searing guitar work, always respectful to the legacy of Paul Fox, while proving himself ever more worthy of succeeding the great man. More so with the stretching of his musical legs on the new material providing licks and riffs worthy of The Ruts/Ruts DC canon.

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And last but by no means least a nod to the venue, As Dave Ruffy mentioned after the show, it’s like playing in your living room, and indeed it was up close and personal, which is a good thing. Also the odd architecture, with the stage enclosed at the back and sides meant that the sound was directed forward at the crowd, which made the sound tight and focussed from my vantage point. It really was first class.

Verdict:

A top show from Ruts DC, providing the goods yet again at a fab venue!

Over…

Words: EiTC.
Black and White Photos: Andy Miller.
Video: Andy Miller.
Colour and Sepia Photos: EiTC.

Bonus:

Segs Segs 2 Ruts DC Ruffy Leigh Leigh sing Leigh Segs 2 Leigh Ruff In A RutLeigh Segs SepiaLeigh Segs Sepia 2green trio 2Dave int sepiabluesegs 2this guys taking a lot of pics

Gig Review – Ruts DC, Evil Blizzard, The Duel…

Ruts DC, Evil Blizzard, The Duel – The Garage Islington – 25th October 2014.

Another Space/Time anomaly type thingy caused SiB and Myself to randomly appear in North London on a Saturday afternoon (Islington to be precise). We bumped into Straightenout who along with Leigh from The Ruts was searching for a place to eat. A little later we saw Segs and Ruffy perambulating along Essex Road taking in the restorative scenery and air. And I could’ve sworn we saw Jet from UK Subs leaving the Garage.

Ravenette and FdN apparently took a right turn and found India to be closed for refurbishment. Eventually we congregated in Wetherspoons for Chips and drinks while the rift in time healed itself. Fed and watered we made our way to The Garage early so as not to miss any of the acts tonight…

Occasionally you attend a gig that becomes a moment crystallised in time. A classic! Well tonight was one of those occasions; a moment that will become firmly embedded in the Amber of Rock History! A bold statement? Maybe! But I’ll tell you something. Nights like this don’t come along too often!

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The Duel benefitted from the decent (new) sound system in the Garage tonight. The sound was clear with a good balance giving all elements of their finely crafted Punky Pop a decent representation.

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This was all nicely knitted together by some nifty drum work. The band were buoyant and Tara worked the stage well, keeping the audience engaged. Great stuff!

Next up… Evil Blizzard, wow!

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The bastard child of Hawkwind and early Devo! Freaky masked lunatics, it was said that all that was missing were the chainsaws… Scratch that! This lot don’t need chainsaws. They look like a bad dream consisting of Slasher Movie/70’s Dr Who Baddies (think animated mannequins meet Jason, for a rough idea). So they’ve got the image thing in spades…

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But that’s not to detract from the sound. I’m as fond of the low frequencies as the next music lover, including dual bass sound but quadruple shouldn’t work, should it? With EB it does and how…

The sound is layered slowly building to a hypnotic compelling groove. Each bass having a slightly different tonal texture which somehow helps distinguish it in the mix. With the lead bassist (I’ll call him that even though they were sharing taking lead occasionally) clearly having lighter strings on the top to give a credible lead style cut with the applied wah/phase/delay type effects! Not forgetting (equally importantly!) the Drummer/Lead vocalist.

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What can you say, four Bassists and a singing drummer, then a guest musician at the end being another Bassist making for a grand total of five, inspired! Then there was The Mop Guy! Surreal! It’s a freak show! It’s pure genius! It’s theatre! Very entertaining!

This band don’t hand out sweets at the end of the set they hand out basses. One came my way but the chap standing behind me insisted that it was his… who am I to argue?…

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Subsequently (after, literally coming down from the ceiling) the lead bassist then handed me his instrument which was hooked up to a plethora of psychedelic effects and before I knew it there I was playing the closing solo with said bassist back on stage operating the pedals. Surreal! And EiTC’s only appearance of the year so far (not including The Meditation Sessions, Weddings and other social functions!)… Blink (or go for a pee break) and you would’ve missed it (although I’m sure someone has captured it on video)!

In a flash we were at the Main Event – Enter stage Left – Ruts DC.

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Kicking off with Mighty Soldier sounding crisp and clear. Naturally, it goes without saying that the band are on form but tonight it seems like they’ve taken things up a gear.

Leigh is in the zone from the off (and well he should be, surely it’s to be expected given he’s playing with the rock solid/super tight Rhythm Section provided by Segs and Ruffy – who, in my book, are the Sly and Robbie of Punk). After a blistering Solo in Mirror Smashed from the Animal Now album, Segs jokes to Leigh about him being careful not to peak too soon! No chance, he’s on it all night!

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Up next Backbiter, followed by It Was Cold; all top stuff, sounding great even if the bass is  a tiny bit low in the mix.

Back to Animal Now for No Time To Kill, then disaster strikes on the opening bars of Sus when Segs loses output from his bass…

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The irony of following a band with 5 basses was not lost on them…

But like the consummate pro’s they are, it was all water off a ducks back as they just got on with it and improvised (including what, according to Ruffy was the bands first drum solo!) until the bass was back. And boy was the bass back. It sounded great before it melted down but now it was stonking at least a 7 on the Richter scale!

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This is a band deserving of all the clichés I can throw their way – Firing on all cylinders, a well-oiled machine. Etc etc EiTC…

Another from AN up next the superb Dangerous Minds as relevant now as it was 30 years ago, the pace is a little slower on this one tonight which really suits the song allowing the dynamics and atmosphere to really come across.

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Then it’s down a notch in a Rub-a-dub Style, with the poignant Love In Vain followed up by Jah Wars. Faultless! Superb!

A surprise airing of Different View sounds fresh and fantastic and goes down well. Let’s face it; Animal Now was a great album which despite coming at a difficult time for the band, still managed to harness their abundant creative potential.

Back up a notch and we are treated to the classics; Staring At The Rude Boys, West One and Babylon’s Burning (complete with extended faux intro a ’la improv reggae jam/New Rose).

In keeping with the earlier sighting – Jet from the Subs joined the band on stage for an extended/inspired In a Rut. Brilliant!

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The awesome Something That I Said and the superb Society get another well-deserved airing and then it’s all over.

What?

The earlier temporal anomaly gave one last twitch culminating in an extra hour’s kip which was most welcome after such a great gig! Thanks to Ruts DC and everyone involved for a top night of entertainment.

Over.

 

Gig Review – Polyfest 4th/5th October 2014.

Polyfest 4th/5th October 2014. Half Moon Putney.

Charity Concerts for Teenage Cancer Trust – Honouring the memory of Poly Styrene.

Investigation into Reports of Paranormal Activity in Putney: CLASSIFIED.

Part 1 – Sat 4th Oct. After reports of recent Paranormal Activity in Putney, operatives were deployed in the region of Upper Richmond Road. The epicentre was quickly identified to be a local hostelry known as The Half Moon.

Agent EiTC Reports that:

“Although I arrived in good time it would appear that it may have been later than imagined. Amongst other phenomena, time itself was proving to be fluid and unpredictable. Upon arrival at precisely a smidge after 8pm a combo known as The Shakespearos were already well into their set producing a selection of musical archaeological artefacts from the early to mid Punkaceous period. (The Shakespearos would appear again numerous times tonight culminating in a stellar rendition of Turning Japanese!)

Enquiries with a young lady in the area of the bar yielded the information that proceedings had begun early and this was the 17th such act! To which was quickly added that she was just kidding and that not much had been missed although it had in fact all begun around 7.15…

It was difficult to remain grounded in the here and now. Those who were here were not and those who weren’t here were… Indeed this was a trend that would continue through the weekend!

Adam Masterson then made an appearance in the format of one man and his guitar. Which included some X-ray Spex covers interspersed with some original material and a Clash cover…”

Levitation was then witnessed and appeared to emanate from the vicinity of the stage whilst occupied by Judy Tzuke. Who, along with her guitar accompanist delivered a trio of songs culminating in the beautiful Stay With Me ‘Til Dawn. Indeed a mixture of sweet vocal harmony and dextrous complimentary guitar picking raised the roof by several feet where it hovered for some time thereafter.

Bizarrely the appearance of none other than Anita Harris on stage with Sham 69 was startling evidence of these phenomena. However, the very trans-dimensional nature of this aside, it was a spectacle to behold and indeed one of (if not the) highlight(s) of the whole weekend! Anita’s performance of the Poly song I Live Off You was most aurally soothing and probably represented the most sensitive and effective tribute to Poly to be witnessed. Which feels as surreal for me to type as it is for you to hear/read!

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Saffron Sprackling then took to the stage with The Shakespearos much to the delight of the gathered mass delivering more Poly-penned joy.

Rounding out of the evening’s proceedings and bringing Space Vessel Poly into dock was the responsibility of Doctor & The Medics who handled this task admirably while the crowd lapped up their set including a cover of You Spin Me Round. Apologies were made for lack of preparation/rehearsal prior to the execution of Germ Free Adolescents (although they were necessary! It did not deter the enjoyment…) Before the final number a poet friend of Poly (whose name unfortunately escapes me) gave a recital of a wonderful poem about Poly, which ended and now she is with The Spirit In The Sky, seguing neatly into the concluding number for the evening. Once more Anita Harris graced the stage with her presence (and particularly impressive necklace twirling dance moves)…

…then as quickly as we were there we were not!”

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Part 2 – Sun 5th Oct. Following yesterday’s initial investigation, EiTC recruited SiB to assist in another fact finding mission…

“Once more disruption to space, time and gravity (possibly not helped by trying to fit an infinite amount of Sunday dinner into a finite space!), seemingly caused confusion as to when was now and how was then… Thusly missing the first hour or so, we settled down to make sense of what remained.

Coventry’s Pretty Rascals made a well-crafted pop sound that belied their seemingly tender years (including a tribute to Poly).

The Homosexuals delivered a set of high quality punky quirkiness with frontman Bruno being suitably attired with a Day-Glo top while celebrating Poly Styrene.

JC Carroll of The Members gave an acoustic rendition of some punk songs including Sound of The Suburbs and was joined onstage by his Daughter Irma for Germ Free Adolescents.

Then Jerico put in an impressive unannounced performance which included singer Mark Shaw auctioning off his shirt for the charity.

There was a fine vocal rendition of The Day The World Turned Day-Glo (from Sarah Dee?) which the backing track didn’t quite live up to.

The Duel deftly delivered a short set of their trademark brand of Punk/Pop which also included a medley of X-ray Spex favourites.

John Ottway treated the audience to his hit Cor Baby That’s Really Free plus two more. Most entertaining!

Neville Staple lifted the roof a couple of inches further with a rousing Monkey Man (backed up by The Carnabys).

Angie Brown who turned up too late for her scheduled spot the previous night was (thankfully) sandwiched in to tonight’s bill where she mesmerized all present with a stunning display of vocal prowess. When it was discovered that her backing track was not functioning Angie shrugged it off like a true professional and delivered a staggering A Capella performance.

Headline act Ruts DC took the stage and the place erupted… Kicking off with the more recent Mighty Soldier they proceeded to deliver a short sweet set which included Staring at The Rude Boys, No Time to Kill and Sus. Ruffy announced that they wouldn’t bother with all that encore malarkey and would just stay onstage and play out the songs… A reggaefied jam led into the intro to New Rose which was a setup for a blistering Babylon’s Burning. This was backed up with a superb rendition of In A Rut with the middle section neatly interspersed with a Rock ‘n’ Roll medley including Shakin’ All Over and nods to others before coming back to a rousing ending. Ruts DC once more proving what a tight unit they are. A magnificent finale!

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Then it was all over, with thousands raised for charity. The roof eventually rejoined the main building and the surveyors could find no evidence of any lasting effects.

A Misty Moon and Shooting Stars were later seen overhead which may have been evidence of spaceship Poly heading back out into the Cosmos.”

In summary a great weekends entertainment with a friendly vibe at a fantastic venue. Apologies for errors and omissions.

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Click here for Polyfest  review

Ruts DC – Live at the 12 Bar Club, London 10th Feb 2014

It’s all about time…

As regular readers of this journal will be aware, we have been encountering much disturbance to the fabric of time of late. All of which takes its toll on both man and machine. So it’s around this year of time when the old Time Machine is due for its 10000 light year service and MoT (Ministry of Time!). And after recent troubles with the Sugar Tongs (a key component of the Random Probability Drive) we decided to nurse her to late Mediaeval London in search of a Blacksmith capable of forging a new pair. Landing in 1635 at the old Forge in an area of London now known as Tin Pan Alley; a suitably skilled craftsman was employed and set to work on our requirement. Meanwhile Sibling in Black, Flores De Negro and yours truly sought sustenance from the Indian sub-continent.

After a quick tune up and the installation of the replacement tongs (and some new sub aqua fittings, as you can never tell where Terra Firma begins and ends in these apocalyptic times!), she was as good as new… It was time to take her for a spin! We glided 379 years into the future in a manner silk like in its smoothness! To our delight and astonishment the remains of what had been the old forge were clearly visible but we were in the heart of London’s West End in an establishment known as The 12 Bar Club.

We found ourselves in good company, a tribe of friendly bon vivants were gathered here for an evening of musical entertainment known as the FFRUK Reggae Punk Monday! A rich bill of entertainment was in store for us – the pinnacle being a, never before witnessed, acoustic performance from, none other than, Ruts DC!

We missed a fair bit of the proceedings whilst partaking of refreshments with some of the gathered mass. We were however fortunate enough to witness the performance of The Duel – a rather spiffing modern punk rock electro type combo fronted by the charming Tara. The Duel sounded great in the 12 bar tonight! Well worth checking out!

The Duel

The Ruts DC took to the tiny stage and received a warm welcome. They were in a buoyant spirit, cracking jokes and generally having a good rapport with the audience. The band tonight was stripped down to the barest essentials for their debut unplugged set. Both Segs and Leigh were using Acoustic guitars, while Dave was armed with just a super-shallow/flat snare and a pair of brushes.

Ruts DC

Given how great this band play together and sound as an electric combo, it would be an understandable concern as to how well their material might translate in an intimate acoustic setting. Fortunately for all present, no such concern was necessary. The sound was top drawer tonight, with super tight rhythms and harmonies and all of the feel/nuance of their material surviving the translation. The audience lapped it up hanging on every beat/note/syllable… Leigh played outside of himself to cover the solo passages acoustically, while Segs was still providing the essence of his bass rhythms as well as delving well into guitar territory (with some subtle use of a delay pedal creating some extra dub-style atmosphere!). Dave was on fine form as ever; seriously this guy could bang a cardboard box with a couple of baguettes and still sound amazing.

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The set had a nice balance of material, kicking off with the classic Something That I Said, which was followed by Back Biter. Then a duo from the Animal Now album; Dangerous Minds and Mirror Smashed, which were absolutely superb. It’s great that this material is getting some long overdue live airing.

Next up special guest vocalists Aynzli Jones and Rob Love were invited up to guest for one of the two songs from the modern era tonight, the reimagining of Ruts classic SUS that is Smiling Culture. Which was followed by the other more recent song, Mighty Soldier.

Then there was another from Animal Now the excellent No Time to Kill. With a change of pace next for the brilliant Love in Vain. They built the energy back up again with West One before pulling out the classics; Staring at The Rude Boys and Babylon’s Burning. The crowd were in fine sing-along fettle throughout. Segs mentioned that as the space was so tight in the club that they weren’t going to leave the stage to come back for an encore. So they finished off the evenings proceedings with a blistering acoustic rendition of Society dedicated to Andy who was grinning from ear to ear. Lastly they played the brilliant In a Rut.

Then they left us and the sound system began to play some heavy dub-based tunes. All in all a rather top evening with top company.

Plus the old girl is now purring like a kitten and guided us smoothly and safely back to our own temporal zone from whence this most recent journal entry has been bought to you….

 

 

 

 

Review – The Damned, Theatre of Hate, Ruts DC – London, Roundhouse

Friday 13th December 2013.

So after our last adventure in time and space with the sojourn at Leamington Spa, we once more put the time machine in mothballs. After all, how on earth were we going to top that?

This of course didn’t turn out to be too much of a quandary… The answer was staring us in the face, all along! The moon was growing larger. Comets were fading in the brilliance of the sun. The numbers began to add up. After Wednesday, soon Friday must follow… After 11 and 12 you will find the answer… Thirteen!

All of which led us to the conclusion that, to top that, you must do it all again, only better!

So we boarded the slivery silvery earth worm and headed for Chalk Farm.

Sibling in Black and myself sought refuge on the good ship Enterprise, with its fine Wenches serving an assortment of ales to the thirsty black clad masses! We momentarily ventured to the Middle East for refreshment of another kind. Before heading into the heart of the Citadel…

Do not be afraid!

Do not be afraid of The Damned…

The Damned are not afraid!

Not afraid of putting on a top show, with two support acts of the highest quality. And then some…

Ruts DC took the stage at a very early 7.20 pm on this Friday evening. And it was nice to see that the audience had filled out very quickly to catch them. Kicking off with Mighty Soldier, they sounded great and super tight. The drums were up front and the bass sounded great (although it was a little lost in the chasm that is the Roundhouse). Guitars and vocals were both clear and cut through the mix nicely. Again they gave us a perfect mix of their patented blend of Punkified Reggae or Reggaefied Punk! Both Old and new material sat side by side really well. The crowd really responded positively, and classics like Staring At The Rude Boys and Babylon’s Burning took us all by storm. A nice surprise in tonight’s set was the inclusion of Ruts classic Society. Let’s hope this band is back out on tour very soon.

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Next up were Theatre of Hate. I didn’t know what to expect. But having collected their early singles and first album in my youth, I was pleasantly surprised to hear these songs were fairly broadly covered in the set. The band seemed to be really into it and put on a great show. Enjoying the moment, they came across well. The crowd seemed to pick up on that. And a large portion of the crowd were singing along and dancing. Kirk Brandon seemed fairly ageless up on the stage, instantly recognizable as the strange punky guy that used to haunt Stanwell Moor decades ago. He seems to have an inherent awkwardness about him mixed with a tough guy stance, an odd combination, all of which adds to his uniqueness and stage presence. And then, when he opens his mouth to sing… What a voice. Great stuff, he’s still got it in abundance! Really powerful voice. Great set. Again the bass got a little lost at times but that does seem to be a flaw of the venue.

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Before we knew it we were on to the main event. The Damned!

Kicking off with Sanctum Sanctorum, the stage was awash with an eerie lighting that felt like some kind of psychedelic electric blue fog. Which was most apt, as Dave Vanian appeared like some dapper Dickensian vampire in his Frock coat and Top Hat. The atmosphere was ablaze.

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I’m pleased to report that the sound was crisp and clear, with all instruments audible, it was a great mix and not too loud.

Don’t Cry Wolf was next and was quite simply stonking! We were again treated to the opening three songs from the triumvirate of their classic albums; Machine Gun Etiquette, Black Album and Strawberries. There were less tracks from Damned x 3 tonight but instead we were treated to the delightful Plan 9 Channel 7, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Antipope and Jet Boy Jet Girl.

The band were on fire tonight… Tighter than a tight thing! The crowd were rammed in and the whole place seemed to be singing along (myself included) verbatim. Amazing! The chemistry between Messrs Vanian and Sensible was working like a well-oiled machine tonight. Mr Vanian in particular had the whole stage covered, moving effortlessly from side to side and engaging his fellow band mates and audience alike he put on a brilliant show. Also, the Captain’s yoga classes seem to be paying off as he has now mastered the ability to levitate the guitar just above his head with no strings attached (well, clearly there were strings attached to the guitar in the traditional sense… Oh you know what I mean!) And no hands! The classics were there of course… New Rose, Love Song, Neat x3 (I was willing Monty to break into Break on Through during this one but alas it was not to be!). All the while Pinch and Stu laid down a firm foundation for all of this to take place.

All too soon, we were at the encores but Dave had one more little Christmas present to conjure from his Top Hat… For the encore we were given the masterpiece Curtain Call! Exquisite! During the atmospheric opening, time and reality began to shift, as I felt myself drawn ever closer to the ethereal… I could swear it was almost as if Mr Vanian was standing right in front of me offering me a firm hand shake from his gloved hand before drifting back on stage to tend to the vocal matters! Then Smash it up and then they were gone. Back out into the night from whence they came….

Or was it all some kind of dream? Some silky satin nightmare of pleasure and pain….

Come back soon… Don’t leave us drifting here too long!

Friday the Thirteenth…

Lucky for some!

Gig review – The Damned and Ruts DC – Leamington Assembly – 30th November 2013.

The Damned and Ruts DC – Leamington Assembly – 30th November 2013.

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We have witnessed much activity in the time streams this weekend. The time machine seemed to be suffering from a problem with its navigation unit which was later traced to a faulty hinge on the sugar tongs. We set the dial for 1979 but after experiencing interference at the M40/Junction 16 triangle (believed to be linked with the mysterious disappearances of many a time traveller succumbing to the call of Space Sirens!), we eventually landed in Royal Leamington Spa. In what appeared to be yet another fracture in the space time continuum.

We found ourselves in a kind of disjointed future-past-present! Fluctuating between 2013 and 34 years earlier in 1979!

First we took refuge at the hostelry known as the Jug and Jester where we encountered many fellow time travellers and the tribe of the damned mingled with the tribe in black in anticipation of what was to follow.

My sibling in black and I journeyed to India, where we found sustenance and then we re-joined the tribes before reassembling in the 1920s at The Assembly.

On arrival, we made our way to the barrier that protected us from the spectacle we were about to behold.

Ruts DC came on stage at 7.40 and soothed us with their patented brand of Cool Reggae inspired Punk.

Kicking off with ‘Mighty Soldier’, our ears were caressed and our limbs were forced out of their atrophied state by the rock-solid rhythm section of (original Ruts) Dave Ruffy and Segs. In combination with the tasteful guitar work from Leigh Heggarty and sweet tones of singer percussionist Molara, we were treated to a musical performance of the highest calibre.

Particularly impressive were both the skill of Segs, in his ability to sing while simultaneously tackling some tricky bass parts. And that of Dave Ruffy who played brilliantly, perfectly recreating his energetic and complex Ruts drum patterns in an effortless manner without appearing to break a sweat!

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In an impromptu change to the set they played the brilliant “Love in Vain” much to the crowds delight.  Throughout the set the audience was gradually growing and the response was very positive.

Captain Sensible was spotted watching the last few numbers from the side-lines as they finished with a strong flurry of Ruts classics – “Staring at The Rude Boys”, “West One Shine on Me”, “Babylon’s Burning” and “In a Rut”. Top Stuff!

After a fashion, and before we knew what hit us, The Damned threw a complete curve ball by opening their set with the darkly atmospheric “Sanctum Sanctorum” from 1985’s Phantasmagoria, stunning! Then they went straight into the rockers with another curve ball “Don’t Cry Wolf”, from the often overlooked Music for Pleasure, tonight it is sounding better than ever. 

Given they have such a vast back catalogue to draw from, The Damned never fail to (pleasantly) surprise with their choice of set list material. And tonight is no exception, they are on top form! Inspiring alliterations all over the shop what with Vanian’s Velvet Voice and Captain’s Crucial Chops (nearly…), Pinch’s pounding percussion, Monty’s Masterful meanderings and Stu’s Stonking Stringwork!

They throw in another number from the MFP era “Sick of being Sick”. From The Black Album we got “Lively Arts” flawlessly seguing into “Silly Kids Games”. There were a few from Strawberries – “Ignite”, “Generals”, and “Stranger on The Town”.  From Phantasmagoria we were also given “8th Day”. The modern era was skimmed over tonight, with the only example being “Song.com” from the brilliant Grave Disorder. From MGE we got “2nd Time Around”. And more!

The classics were there of course, “Smash it up”, “Neat Neat Neat”, “Love Song” and “I Just Can’t Be Happy Today”! Another bonus was the revival of “Ballroom Blitz” During the encore. All executed deftly with subtle twists, nuances and stagecraft in abundance, plus the odd Dalek thrown in for good measure…

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…Back to temporal matters – We are so lucky to have this band in their fifth decade of existence consistently delivering the goods. A few of us tonight were celebrating the 34th anniversary of first seeing the Damned in 1979 on the MGE tour at the Rainbow Theatre in London. All of which beggars the question “Where does it all go?”

If you get a chance I strongly urge that you catch this brilliant pairing of bands in a theatre near you soon!

Must dash, the new hinge has been installed and we’re off back to 2013….

P.S. thanks to Mr Final for proof reading 🙂