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