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