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).
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…
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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!
Words and Photos: Andy Miller.