What can you say that’s not already been said? What can you read that’s not already been read..? – That should be a lyric..!
Due to the fall in record sales over the last few years because people prefer to steal music rather than pay for it, bands have had to take to the road to earn their corn. As a result ticket sales have increased (doubled), but on the plus side, you get to see your favourite bands more regularly than you would have.
My favourite band is, and always has been The Damned; not to the Trekkie extent where I wore a red beret, mohair trousers or slick my hair back (when I had hair)… No, my love for this band stems from the sheer quality of their songs, their diversity; from being clowns to writing the most beautiful ballads… One of which they opened tonight’s show with; the haunting, daunting Sanctum Sanctorum.
Before all this we had the minor issue of witnessing Ruts DC who kicked off proceedings in this one-horse town with (as bassist/vocalist Segs earlier witnessed as having) ‘Four banks, three kebab shops, two pubs, a Spar convenience store and a small shopping precinct.’ – And a great venue I might add..!!
Being a cold Sunday in an odd part of North Wales, the band feared the worst and expected a quiet and disappointing night. Speaking to drummer Dave Ruffy after the show, he said, ‘We looked out from back stage ten minutes before we were due to play and saw a handful of people stood around the bar. It was a really nice surprise to walk on stage to a packed out venue.’
It’s my guess The Ruts pulled as many people in as did The Damned… And as far as pulling people is concerned it is another Damned coup, like last year’s December tour support The Dickies.
Segs did say that they thought long and hard about doing the tour, not sure if they really fancied getting back into ‘all that.’ Although four dates in and they’re enjoying it;
‘We’ve got a day off tomorrow, fuck knows what we’re gonna do with ourselves,’ he explained, ‘but then there’s six gigs on the trot and I reckon both bands will be rocking by the time we hit Northampton, and joining each other on stage.’
Both bands were rocking tonight too… Ruts DC in particular were showered with post-show plaudits, for their fusion of reggae-dubbed Ruts DC and punked-up Ruts back catalogue.
With Molara Awen providing accompanying vocals, her voice adds strength to songs, and she, like her band mates has the same angered viewpoint on society as the rest of us.
‘Natty soldier lay down your gun, lay down your rifle.’ Fool Leads The Fools (off Animal Now), Back Biter, the superb It Was Cold followed by an updated reggae-fused version of Sus, which, like a lot of their songs is still relevant today – lots of doom and gloom topics!
Using a pun, it was a great rhythm collision vibe.
On the doom and gloom subject, Segs pointed out that a lot of punk bands moan and moan about the world’s problems without offering any answers, no solution, One Step tells you to live this life in a positive way.
No Time To Kill sounded like old skool Ruts whereas that old skool Ruts track Staring At The Rude Boys was probably played at 39rpm tonight (don’t worry Northampton, they’ll be biting your backs by the time they get to you!).
For the 30 odd years I’ve being playing Jah War I’ve always thought Malcolm Owen’s put-on Jamaican drawl said ‘The Truncheon Kingdom’ – I learnt tonight he said ‘The truncheon came down.’ (God rest his soul).
That beauty of a single Babylon’s Burning was slammed out with anxiety, brilliant stuff, as was the finale In A Rut…
Dave Ruffy promised me a beer and chin wag in Amsterdam in March… I’ll bring the cacen drwg 😉
The Damned will also be in Amsterdamned and tonight provided me with what is becoming a tri-annual fix of their back catalogue performed live. I was going to say tonight was no exception, but in fact, tonight was exceptional. Maybe Dave Vanian was suffering slightly in the throat department, I can’t be certain but it didn’t deter from what most post-show punters were describing as a ‘really tight performance.’
The Captain was on form, looking very dapper in his newly acquired Wot Top, specially made for him by Paul Scouse’s far better half Zoe Price. The unsung heroes of Stuart and Pinch provide that tight backline that allows Captain the odd stray from the songbook and the odd guitar lead to unplug itself. Whereas keyboard lunatic Monty, tonight is dressed like Prince on acid, and probably is Prince on acid.
Both my sisters (and SteveF) accompanied myself, and it was amusing to see them enjoy the show so much and know so many of these songs that my teenage bedroom walls could not contain. The old Stiff advert stated, ‘Play it at your sister,’ and that’s exactly what I did for years!
Jane first saw The Damned at Northgate Arena in 1985, Emma last saw them at Finsbury Park in 1986. I first saw them in Colwyn Bay in 1981 and last saw them at Rebellion in August… I’ve seen several combinations of songs, and this is up there with the best… And disciples will realise there’s a pattern to the choice of some of the songs and their order in this set list…
Sanctum Sanctorum, Don’t Cry Wolf, See Her Tonite, Sick of Being Sick, Wait For The Blackout, Lively Arts, Silly Kids Games, Ignite, Generals, Stranger On The Town, Feel The Pain, Eloise, song.com, Love Song, Second Time Around, I Just Can’t Happy Today, Neat Neat Neat, New Rose.
The encore was the truly excellent I Feel Alright, Eighth Day, Ballroom Blitz, and an impromptu Wot and the inevitable Smash It Up.
Smiles all round, for both bands at such a great crowd and for Roki (Mr Tivoli) who was stitched up by those lame cunts The Darkness last week…