12 February 2019. Alarm bells ringing, sirens wailing as RUTS DC took to the stage to a massive cheer. Babylons Burning kicked off the 40 year celebration of The Crack.
The Ruts were formed in 1977 and were a reggae-influenced British punk rock band, notable for the 1979 Top 10 hit “Babylon’s Burning”, and an earlier single “In a Rut”. The Ruts DC live show consists of songs representing their many stages and phases of their career and not leaving out the well loved classic versions of Ruts songs “Babylons’ Burning”, “Jah War”, “Staring at the Rude Boys”, and so many more! But tonight was a special show – celebrating the release of The Crack we were in for a treat as the entire album was played live in the same track running order.
The line up for the show included the two remaining original Ruts members – Segs Jennings and Dave Ruffy – and both provide a full on and exciting powerhouse rhythm section for Leigh Heggarty to power through on guitar.
The Crack was originally released way back in September 1979, The Ruts one and only studio album. ‘The Crack’ was widely acclaimed and widely loved. It was a statement of intent. Just as the energy started to fade, along with many of the punk bands, here were The RUTS, a fresh new band exploding onto the music scene with everything to offer. ‘The Crack’ had it all. This latest tour marking the release 40 years ago, will no doubt serve as tribute to ‘The Crack’ and two of its missed creators Malcolm Owen and Paul Fox.
I had last seen Ruts DC live in Brighton back in 2015 – but as the stage filled with smoke and the sounds of sirens and alarm bells ringing filled the venue I realised this was to be a special gig. The Professionals had done a super job in warming up the crowd with a terrific set, but now RUTS DC took to the stage…
Smoke started billowing out, lights dimmed and blue spots started to beam into the crowd. Alarm bells ringing, sirens wailing as RUTS DC took to the stage to a massive cheer. Babylons Burning was first, this just grabbed the entire sold out audience in Concorde 2 by the scruff of the neck and didn’t let us go for 90 minutes.
Brighton was to be their second stop off performance of the 40 Years Of The Crack Tour, Dope for Guns was up and followed with the mighty fine Ruts punk reggae guitar sound for SUS. RUTS DC were knocking this out of the park. The sound produced by these three men in their hats was stunning.
The Crack produced several hit singles including Something That I Said, so it was a thrill to hear it live again and that lead us into ‘You’re Just A’. I made my way out into the crowd who seemed to be reveling in this celebration as much as I. I couldn’t get anywhere near the front sadly or center of the auditorium – it was seriously packed in tight. A mosh pit had also opened up made up of all ages and a common themed T – RUTS DC! It was Cold marked the end of “Side 1”
“Side 2” started up and threw the crowd a further opportunity to lose it, not that we needed one, Savage Circle. The dub sound of Jah Wars was up next and a guy called Stacey – hope I got that right – who was a Roadie back in the day for the Ruts, and an old friend of the band – joined RUTS DC on stage, it looked as if he had a ball up there!
And so the album track listing progressed. A brilliantly executed set. The guys of RUTS DC are on fire right now and they are sounding as loud and powerful as ever, delivering both a breakneck set and a great show to sold out venues. Out of Order was up and then we got a live version of the live track Human Punk to finish with. Stunning.
Segs had said that they hadn’t finished yet – and hell, he was right! And from time to time, as the over worked smoke machine took a breather, it allowed the musicians on stage and the first four rows of Concorde 2 to do the same, it meant we could see Dave Ruffy and the artwork/mural behind him. The smoke and lighting at times just gave us a silhouette to watch of the performance.
We also had Music Must Destroy, In A Rut and the sublime Psychic Attack (which featured some of my photos in the trailer when it was released). I hadn’t heard it done live before and it really is a face melter of a punk tune. Staring At The Rude Boys brought the set to a close. The crowd really didn’t want to let them go and RUTS DC looked as if they could play all night. This was truly a night to remember for a very long time.
A VIDEO by Rhiannon Ifans
You might want to turn this up – intro and Babylons Burning! A huge thanks to the fabulous Rhiannon Ifans (great to see you again x) for allowing us to include this song and your video.
This was a great show – huge thanks to the mighty RUTS DC for allowing me to capture some of this remarkable, historical set. It was good to see so many other musicians in the crowd, members of The Damned, Department S, The DeRellas and more. A great night of rock and roll!
The vinyl reissue of ‘The Crack’, remastered by Tim Turan at Turan Audio and cut to vinyl at Abbey Road Studios is available now! It includes a download card and available through Virgin/EMI/UMC from February 8th 2019 here: https://TheRuts.lnk.to/TheCrackLP
RUTS DC are on the WWW
RUTS DC are on Facebook
Please note all original images / video are copyright, please do not copy. If any of the featured artists/promoters/venues want copies of the images – or more if available – please just get in touch.
All original pictures / video – copyright to IANB/MEDIA WORKS/ SCENE SUSSEX – Ian “The Lens” Bourn 2019.
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