Thanks Stephen Allely for a wonderful review
The Ruts (aka Ruts DC – which I shall henceforth refer to them as due to it being on their stage banner tonight..) are a band harking from a time and place more openly confrontational than this era, namely, late seventies and early eighties London, UK. (Specifically, 1977-1983)As were many of the punk bands of the time, they were active in the anti-racism and anti-Thatcherite movements, more on the iron lady later on though.
Their most famous hits were all I had really heard of the iconic band until today, as anyone who has not been exposed to Babylon’s Burning would be a hermetic monk or some-such, the ubiquity of the track in airwaves and pubs meaning it is one of those songs that has become an institution to many.
The reggae-inflected punk-rock of The Ruts DC of today remains visceral, tight as hell and melodic – ska and punk rhythms pounded out by drums and bass of inordinately symbiotic level. Stabs of fuzzed up overdriven Gibson Les Paul guitar through Marshall stack danced riotously on top of this bedrock, at times exactly slamming powerchords on the beat, at times weaving fluid riffs around the bass-line. The clever segues they did at times between off-beat ska and one-two one-two punk beats was nothing short of astonishing. They did not miss a beat the entire show, and although flawless, their playing was passionate and raw. I heard echoes of many of the bands that came in the decades washed by their wake, including Arctic Monkeys, Oasis, Stereophonics, etc.