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.
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…
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…
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..
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.
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.
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)!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A top show from Ruts DC, providing the goods yet again at a fab venue!
Black and White Photos: Andy Miller.
Video: Andy Miller.
Colour and Sepia Photos: EiTC.