If you've been following the last couple of postings you'll know that the second Paul Fox benefit gig was to have featured The Price- inexplicably it was felt that it was better to have people like The Damned and Misty In Roots on instead of us (no, I don't know why either) so in the end we didn't play. Because I thought I was playing I didn't have a ticket, a situation which I only managed to rectify very late in the day thanks to my good friend Kate Duffy who works at a well known ticket agency... so it was then that myself and my little brother Terry began our latest punk rock adventure by meeting her at the Old Red Lion in Islington where also met up with Steve from The Blaggers and Romford Dave with their mate Alex, and John King with his mate Pete who he used to write a fanzine with; suitably fired up we made it to the Academy in time to hear Ten Pole Tudor's 'Swords of a Thousand Men' performed at something like half the speed that it should go at. I played it with him a couple of times when depping in The Sex Pistols Experience and it sounded about 100 times better than this rendition even though I say so myself. He was backed by the Peafish House Band who featured Roland Rivron on drums, Tony Barber from The Buzzcocks on bass and Lee Harris on guitar and who should have sounded a hell of a lot better than they did. Rivron went to my old school- he was a couple of years ahead of me, a bit of a celebrity as he played drums; (East knew him- 'I was funnier than him then and I'm still funnier than him now') from what I remember he was a better player then 'though to be fair to him I think he's left handed and was playing a right-handed kit here. They sounded a bit better backing T.V. Smith on 'One Chord Wonders' and 'Gary Gilmore's Eyes'- but not much.
Splodgenessabounds were up next with a bit of help from John Otway (he opened the evening but we missed him!) and ex-Motorhead guitarist Wurzel- all good fun as you might imagine. The U.K Subs followed and were a revelation, about the best I've ever seen them and going down a storm in the process. Then again I guess it's handy if you can play a set consisting entirely of hit singles to an audience that know all of them word for word... the mood changed with Misty In Roots- I'm not the biggest reggae fan but they sounded great to me.
By now the place was packed- what better moment for the 'surprise' guests of the evening The Damned who for me stole the show. I thought they were good in Brighton before Christmas but here they were nothing short of devastating, starting with 'Love Song', finishing with 'Smash It Up' and starting a near riot in the process. Captain Sensible recalled touring with The Ruts- 'if you fell asleep they'd tie your shoelaces together and set fire to you- either that or empty an ashtray into your mouth!' Vanian- 'didn't you do that to Elvis Costello once?' 'Yeah, and I wish I could do it now.'
Then, as the stage was reset, Tom Robinson who was joined by guitarist Adam Phillips and, for his last 2 songs, T.V. Smith; a bit laid back after the mayhem that preceded it but a good way to set up the headline act...
After a suitably reverential introduction from compare John Robb it was finally time for The Ruts with Henry Rollins; Segs and Dave besuited and behatted, and on guitar, thank God, the man himself- Paul Fox, wearing a camouflage t-shirt and an almost bewildered 'I can't believe this is really happening' look throughout the show. Henry wrapped the microphone cable around his hand, barked 'was it something that I said?' and pandemonium ensued. 'Staring at the Rude Boys' followed, then a slightly shaky 'West One (shine on me)', Paul seeming to falter, the band looking worried. No problems with 'S.U.S.' or 'Jah War' though, and the stakes are raised with 'Babylon's Burning' before the only song that I didn't play with them last week, 'Society' (we tried 'Dope For Guns' instead). An inevitable 'In A Rut' finished the show, Henry a bit out of time in the first verse but no real harm done, Paul's solo shorter than it used to be- probably because Henry came back in earlier than it looked like Paul was expecting him too. And that was it- Segs said something like 'see you next year', they took a bow and left the stage. Even D.J. Mark Wyeth (or whoever he called himself this time) semi-coherently bellowing something along the lines of 'LADEEZANGENELMEN, THEGREATESTBANDOFALLTIME, THERUUUUUUUUUTS' couldn't get them back. But the job had been done. And done very well indeed.
The Ruts, Henry Rollins, The Damned, Tom Robinson, Misty In Roots, The U.K. Subs, Splodgenessabounds, T.V. Smith, Ten Pole Tudor, John Otway- what an extraordinary line-up; I personally think The Ruts could have sold the gig out on their own (especially with Henry Rollins's involvement) but it made for an incredible evening. And I only realised just now that I've seen all the acts before in their own right. Sometimes it's not so bad to be old. Cheers Paul.
-I'm sure all the other artists have websites too...