Ruts D.C. (D.C. meaning Da Capo from the Italian ‘from the beginning‘) were formed in 1980 by guitarist Paul Fox, bassist John ‘Segs’ Jennings and drummer Dave Ruffy after the death of lead singer Malcolm Owen that same year. They reformed in 2007 to play a benefit gig for Paul Fox, who unfortunately passed away later that same year, and have been playing on and off ever since then.
They now have Leigh Heggarty on guitar and a dimnutive woman with a powerful voice named Molara on additional vocals and percussion. They’re here tonight to play a selection of classic Ruts songs plus some newer stuff from their latest album, “Rhythm Collision Volume 2”. The album was mixed by Brighton’s Prince Fatty at his Ironworks studio, who warms up the crowd by playing a selection of classic Reggae tunes alongside South London veteran Deejay Horseman on the mic. It’s an excellent way to kick off any show and you can always catch these two alongside Hollie Cook at various venues and festivals around the country. There’s a decent sized crowd here tonight, not bad at all considering Spain are playing Netherlands in the World Cup and Rod Stewart is playing in Brighton too. 🙂
Ruts D.C. kick off their set with “Mighty Soldier” from the latest album, a song that features Tenor Fly, another veteran UK Deejay on the album version but here transfromed into a bass heavy workout with Seggs on the main vocal. What follows is a great balance between this new album and the older songs that for me have stood the test of time considering some of them are well over thirty years old. So it’s great to hear “S.U.S.”, a song that’s still relevant in these paranoid stop and search times we live in.
“Staring At The Rude Boys”, a song they wrote when the Two Tone movement was becoming all-encompassing, provokes a lively mosh pit the moment that distinctive intro kicks in and it still sounds great played live and loud. Segs pays tribute to Malcolm Owen by playing “Love In Vain”, the refrain “I don’t want you in my arms no more” being particularly pertinent. Their singer Molara gets a chance to sing lead on “Mix Up”, her powerful voice adding to the bass heavy vibes of the tune. They also bring on Horseman to chat on an extended instrumental, his double time style adding fire to any dubwise session.
Other classic Ruts songs “Jah War”, “Something That I Said” and my all time favourite “West One (Shine On Me) all still sound as good as when they first came out, keeping the crowd jumping around and singing along. A final burst of energy comes when they play “Babylon’s Burning” and “In a Rut” (their first single from 1978 released on the People Unite label owned by Misty In Roots with whom The Ruts played those inspirational Rock Against Racism gigs) and that’s the end of what has been a great set. A mark of a good band is to have a good canon of classic tunes that people are familiar with as well as still being able to keep things current and relevant with new material and Ruts D.C. are definitely in that category.