Mr. Kyps, Poole

Ruts DC

It’s Tuesday night at Mr. Kyps as we look forward to the return some 36 years later of The Ruts(DC). Opening for them are Brummie quartet “UK Feds”. A band who claim their music to be “heavy ska”, they open with the interestingly titled “Pussy Magnet”. Initially, I’m trying to pigeonhole them; but despite a few influences, I have to say they are virtually genre-less. “London” comes next before the less inspiring “I Wanna Riot”. I’m yet to hear any Ska, but they don’t lack power. Jon (lead vox/guitar) attempts a little banter with a few hardy souls down the front, before launching into “Living In Anger”. While they may wear their hearts on their sleeves through their songs I’m just not feeling it. “Minimum Wages” makes me think they are socially aware; putting life’s experiences to lyrics, but they just don’t have the songs. The vocals are decent enough; as is the musicianship, but despite a few flashes of Ska I retreat to the bar. Ricky (drums) is powerful almost throughout while the guitars are pretty much on a par. I just feel Jon’s strained vocals at times show a guy trying too hard. He even resorts to a Yank accent in places but they leave us with “Pictures on the Wall” and depart to moderate applause.

UK Feds
UK Feds 

And so to the headliners. Ruts DC are back in town and sadly playing to a less than half full Kyps. Segs remarks ‘not a bad turnout for a Tuesday’ smiling tongue in cheek! They open with “Surprise” then the Reggae infused “Mighty Soldier”. An angsty “Back Biter” is delivered full throttle before an emotional ‘It Was Cold’. The three band members really hit their stride and the performance is note perfect. One punter asks for more guitar, Leigh (guitars) just smiles nonchalently, looking up briefly to acknowledge the shout. Segs (bass) suggests it’s time for an anti-war song as they deliver “No Time To Kill”, his bass now throbbing powerfully. Leigh’s searing guitars are an absolute joy to watch and listen to – I say this as I’m stood barely 2 metres from him! It’s loud at the front, but not deafening – soundman Percy has pitched it just about right.

Segs says we’ll just do this one and then some others you can pogo to-cue “SUS”. It’s loud, it’s powerful and above all it gets everyone singing along. The critically underrated “West One” (Shine On Me) soon follows with Ruffy’s huge snare echoing around the room – he certainly hits those skins hard. New song “Psychic Attack” is played at full pelt before they take things down with “Love In Vain”, interspersed with The Clash’s “Police and Thieves”. Once again the whole room is singing-Malcolm (Owen) would be proud!
“Jah War” preceeds the 3 big singles beginning with “Staring At The Rude Boys”. A long jam at the end precedes the next song, whereupon they keep us guessing with the intro. “Babylons Burning” eventually reverberates around the room. One punter takes it upon himself to start a mosh, cue mayhem down the front (briefly)! They end on a high where it all began for The Ruts back in ’78. “In A Rut” sounds as fresh today as it did back then. The band leave the stage to huge applause before returning some 5 minutes later.

Ruts DC
Ruts DC 123

Segs then explains “we don’t normally do covers but”…The opening bars give it away as they perform a decent rendition of “Brand New Cadillac”. Swiftly followed by “Something That I Said” which keeps a few of us dancing. The band thank us once more and leave us with “Society”, then exit the stage for the last time. Cue more euphoric applause.

Give the band their due, they could’ve looked at a half empty room and thought we’ll just do an hour but no, we get a 90 minute polished set of classic songs. I’m surprised the bands aren’t announced onstage, the soundman preferring to just let them amble on at their leisure. I just have one gripe though-I know it’s a school night but where is everybody?!

Ruts DC

Ruts DC
Mighty Soldier
Back Biter
It Was Cold
Mirror Smashed
No Time To Kill
Dangerous Minds
Second Hand Child
West One (Shine On Me)
Psychic Attack
Love In Vain/Police and Thieves
Jah War
Staring At The Rude Boys
Babylon’s Burning
In A Rut

Brand New Cadillac (Clash cover)
Something That I Said

UK Feds
Pussy Magnet
I Wanna Riot
Living In Anger
The Papers
Minimum Wages
Next To You
Pictures On The Wall


Review, Pictures and Video by Ross A. Ferrone.

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