LIVE REVIEW: Ruts DC @ The Globe, Cardiff (20/11/22)

Ruts DC bring out the old heads on a wintry Sunday night in Cardiff.

Back to an old haunt tonight. The Globe. Originally a cinema, it has been a live music venue since 2008.  With a capacity of 350 split over two levels, it has hosted many upcoming and established artists hovering just outside the mainstream. I’ve seen literally hundreds of bands there, from RDF, Ozric Tentacles and Ferocious Dog, to Showhawk Duo, Beans on Toast and John Otway.

Tonight, however, is the first-time security have stopped me taking my camera in, so you will have to make do with phone pix for this review. The doorman said, “cameras have never been allowed in any venue I’ve ever worked at”. Clearly, he’s not worked any down to earth or grassroots venues before. But I don’t argue and make a quick trip back to the Iguana Mobile.

I walk in towards the end of TV Smith, veteran of the first punk wars, when he was on guitar duty with The Adverts. For several decades now he has been doing solo acoustic stuff, a mixture of his solo compositions and the odd Advert favourite to keep the masses happy. I manage to catch ‘Bored Teenagers’, ‘One Chord Wonders’ and the classic ‘Garry Gilmore’s Eyes’. Each prompting a broad grin on the faces of this crowd – which is neither bored or teenage.

TV Smith

Between bands I have a quick sniff around. Loads of old faces I have known for an eternity, so it was great to catch up. It’s over four decades since the original Ruts first played Cardiff and many of the crowd look like they might have been there. That fist gig was the only time in the band’s history where they had to stop the show and walk off because of violence. Things have moved on a bit since then though.

This is, of course, a different band. It is not The Ruts, it is Ruts DC, with Malcom and Foxy now gone to the great gig in the sky. This unit has been together since 2007 and have been keen to make their mark with new music, rather than be just a Ruts tribute act. Original members Seggs and Ruffy – the best rhythm section in punk – being joined by Leigh Heggarty on guitar. Whilst they have a back catalogue to die for, they don’t rely on it. This is not just a walk down memory lane.

They walk on stage in suits and trilbys, these are grown up geezers not punks that are stuck in their youth. And to emphasise that, they kick off with, ‘Faces In The Sky’, from the new album, ‘Counter Culture’. ‘SUS’ comes sharply behind, and we already have our money’s worth.

‘You’re Just a ..’ and ‘it was Cold’ continue the oldies theme before we get ‘X-ray Joy’, ‘Dangerous Minds’ and ‘Kill the Joy’. And so the night goes, weaving in and out of their back catalogue, plucking fruits from most of their albums – although I don’t recall anything from Rhythm Collision Volume Two, which is a shame – I loved some of those dubby numbers.

Classics like ‘Jah War’ and ‘West One Shine on Me’, sit nicely next to ‘Music Must Destroy’ and the title track of the new album, ‘Counter Culture’.

‘In a Rut’ is a brilliant extended version, first wandering off into something dubby before wandering into a tribute to Keith Levene with a bit of ‘Public Image’ (I only ever met Levene once, and by coincidence that was at a Ruts DC gig in Newport).

The set ends with ‘Babylon’s Burning’ and, predictably, the crowd gets very lively.

With their ‘pièce de résistance’ out of the way I look to me mate Shaun and telepathically we both wonder what the encore will be, and almost simultaneously guess – ‘Staring at the Rude Boys’.

They return to stage and knock out a new one, ‘Pretty Lunatic’, before launching into the aforementioned ‘Rude Boys’. At this point, our camera hating doorman from the start of the story decides to wander front of stage with a serious look on his face and tries to break up the middle aged mosh pit. He is the only serious one, pretty much everyone laughs at him, no matter how much he tried to kill the vibe.

If bouncer fella thought things would calm down, he was wrong, they wind up with ‘Psychic Attack’ from 2016’s ‘Music Must Destroy’ album. The old heads forget they are old and bounce around like a moshpit half their age.

And then it is over. Everyone concurs it was a great night; hands are shaken, hugs are had and we file out into the cold night, looking forward to the next time we are reunited. Music might destroy, but it is the thread that binds many of us together.