Ruts DC – The Hat Factory, Luton – March 31st, 2018

My introduction to Ruts DC was with them being support to The Stranglers when seeing them last March at Cambridge Corn Exchange – and, well, conversely it was SM’s billing of support for them (The Stranglers) on the autumn arena leg of the Big Music tour that made me explore them more and go and see them in their own right live (again…I had been aware of them for many, many years, but only knew a few of their songs).

And last night that run continued with Ruts’ support being local reggae/dub/ska band ‘easydread’ (small ‘e’, a la easyjet – they are from Luton after all). They were bloody fab! I ran into the saxophonist/co-vocalist on the way out – a very affable chap he was too. He had stopped to talk to another fan. I noticed him giving the guy a business card. I had no funds with me (a rare occasion on being so close to home, I could just take my phone with me and nothing else), so when he was done chatting with the guy I asked him for a card, said I thought they were fab and he told me of their upcoming gig at Esquires in Bedford.

The band are a seven piece combo, with a brass trio of trumpet, sax and trombone. Definitely worth checking out. This was their closer for their set – dedicated to Luton…

On to Ruts DC. WOW! These guys really are still the biz. It was obvious at the Stranglers gig last year. Both I and the OH were blown away by them, and I had promised myself to see them again. There was a short set they did for BBC Radio 6 Music towards the end of last year that was shared via Facebook Live and seeing that just compounded how fabulous they are to me.

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Amazingly, when meeting Virginia Turbett, we got talking about other bands…who we like, etc (yes, it wasn’t ALL about SM and how many “fruitier” shots of Jim she had…) – and she’s a HUGE Ruts fan!

Rather bizarrely, when I first saw the gig on their FB page, I dithered about going. And continued to do so for WEEKS. I had just been to the SM gigs and so, for one, I was Skinty McSkintface. But I kept pondering it, thinking – it’s local, no travel costs, the ticket price is great…GO ON! And STILL I kept holding off, until Good Friday. I knew I’d end up regretting it if I didn’t go. So, that was it! Mind made up. Ticket bought.

And wow! Never to disappoint, these guys. A-MAZ-ING! An incredible wall of sound resonates from this trio. And they ROCK! Like, REALLY ROCK! They’ve not forgotten their punk roots…only difference is, THEY CAN PLAY! Geez! Can they play! To the degree they make it look like a piece of piss. A cake walk!

Last year, I really didn’t know any of their stuff. But over the year I’ve managed to take in Babylon’s Burning, Jah War and Mighty Soldier – all of which were on the setlist (I think any crowd would string ‘em up if they didn’t do Babylon’s Burning!), but so were Dangerous Minds, In A Rut, West One, Rude Boys, Music Must Destroy and Kill The Pain…all of which are really starting to make in impact on the brain.

I was in the bar last night (no, no drinking…just a place to sit for a bit) and Segs walked past me. I mouthed ‘hi’ to him and he said hello back to me. I couldn’t stop him. What would I say? At that point I was so ignorant, I didn’t even know his name! I just knew he was one of “the boys”. Since then (this morning), I have educated myself some and on who’s who, and a brief history of them.

As for last night and my VERY brief encounter with Segs…well, I wish I could have said, “Hi Segs, can’t wait for tonight. Would you mind signing this for me?” and produce my ticket stub with a pen (yes, Jim…I had a pen on me! Lol). But alas, I felt a fraud for being there and not even knowing his name!

Final words on the gig itself? A masterclass in performance. They are GOOD. Really good. Seriously. GO SEE THEM! I will be in future…again and again.

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A souvenir. If only I had had THIS with me for Segs to sign.

The YouTube clip was filmed pretty much where I was standing last night (the guy was behind me and just to my left) and was MUCH better than my Facebook Live clip.

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