Gig Review – Ruts DC – Chris Pope – The Duel – The Garage Islington 101223

In a cave on a desolate planet beyond the furthest reaches of the known universe something stirs…

Suddenly… beep! FFFSSSHHH!!! Fizz! Pop… Buzzzzz Whirr! 
Holographic AI EiTC (HAIE) materializes into view and begins mumbling to itself…

“S’pose I better wake ‘im up then!” He cranks a lever on the cryogenic capsule which lights up and emits a low humming sound before the glass doors slide open with a smooth low hiss… 
Out steps In Real Life EiTC (IRLE) and the following conversation ensues…
IRLE “What the bleedin’ ‘ells goin’ on?”
HAIE “You told me to wake you up in December for the Ruts DC!”
IRLE “Blimey is that the time already? Put the kettle on then…”
HAIE “Yeah alright!”

The following transcripts may or may not be based on actual events…

Hello EiTC here. So, it’s been a while since I last dusted off the Quill but Ruts DC are in town and that’s always a good enough reason…

In this modern age of technology running wild and self-serving soulless fakers running the show, it’s good to have some link to hope, humanity and humour. Ruts DC provide!

Having made my way back to Earth landing somewhere in the vicinity of Clapham South, the trajectory went downwards, undergroundwards and didn’t come upwards again until the vicinity had changed to Highbury and Islington. From whence minimal footfall ended the journey and entrance was granted…

Up first, The Duel…

The Duel are in a process of continual evolution and the current stage is working very well. There is a good contrast of material from light and dark poppy textures, through to more uptempo punky rockers. With a strong sense of melody infused throughout.

On the subject of textures; there was a tangible textural change when Tara donned her Stratocaster creating a nice contrast to Paul’s Humbuckers.

Their convincing stage presence captured the attention of and continually engaged the rapidly growing crowd


Next up Chris Pope…

Chris Pope donned his acoustic guitar and stepped out in front of the crowd like a greatly less disheveled Bob Dylan.

His delivery was strong and well received, the crowd were engaged and enjoying Chris’s set.

Not having any better reference point, at times I was put in mind of both Paul Weller and Billy Bragg.

Good stuff!

On to the show…


Nicely warmed up, there was electricity in the air, as the crowd anticipated the main event.

Enter stage left: Ruffy, Segs and Leigh – Boom!

Here we go…

Segs and Leigh were highly animated up front where the whole stage was covered by this pair with their gesticulating, strutting, gurning, rocking brilliance.

Underpinning them at the back, still waters ran deep, as Mr. Ruffy gave a master class in cool precision with even more brilliance.

The set twisted and turned with the contrasts we expect of Ruts DC/Ruts material. A great mix of both old and new with a good number of songs from the most recent album – Counterculture.

The crowd lapped up each last morsel. And seemed to enjoy every moment. It almost felt as though sum of the band and crowd doing their respective thing together was greater than the sum of their constituent parts. And whilst we’re on the subject of the crowd – there was a real sense of camaraderie as they danced and leapt around gleefully in celebration of the band and one another.

At one point, I turned to my left and there was Jona Lewie standing next to me totally absorbed and loving the band – we had a quick chat and were in agreement about the brilliance of Ruts DC

As awesome as ever it should be, Jah War tonight included a dedication to Benjamin Zephaniah.

After a brilliantly psychedelic mid section In A Rut broke down to Dirty Old Town as a mark of respect for the recently departed Shane MacGowan. Blinding!

All too soon it was all Babylon’s Burning and bye…

Eventually returning for an encore, Segs paid tribute to Sinead O’Conner and Geordie from Killing joke. And gave some inspirational words about the state of society and the need for us to look out for each other – People Unite!


Ruts DC get my vote every time…

The gettings always good but get ‘em anyway! Right now on tour accross the nation – be quick!



Words and Images Matthew Elvis Brown


9 thoughts on “Gig Review – Ruts DC – Chris Pope – The Duel – The Garage Islington 101223”

  1. Brilliant photos and a lovely review

    Nice to know that you felt the crowd/band connection -of course -The sum of its parts is what it’s all about .

    Thank You EiTC —see you at the next one

  2. Great to see you at this wonderful celebration of music and friendship! ??
    I too had a chat with Jona Lewie at the gig – lovely chap, very switched on and knowledgeable ??
    Great photos and review – see you in Guildford!

  3. First time I’ve seen THE DUEL. Thoroughly enjoyed their set. Had to buy the album at their merchandise stand! A definite ‘must see again’ band for me.
    Mr Pope was great too. A one man dynamo bashing out songs with cleverly written lyrics, putting the message out loud and clear.
    Ruts Dc were awesome. Though ive seen them a few times I would happily see them for ever. Their opening song just blew me away! And it got better and better. Ruts Dc are like a cup of tea. You can’t just have one. You have to go back for more! The lyrics to their songs are still relevant. Their new songs even more. This was an amazing gig, and I really enjoyed it. Thank you to the bands for a great night!

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