Friday, July 13, 2018

Poster Boy

Well the reaction to next year's Ruts D.C. '40 Years Of The Crack' tour has been little short of amazing. Shows have been added in Dublin and Belfast (oh yes!) and I'm told that tickets are already selling well - exciting times!
Your humble narrator next to
the frankly enormous poster.
Well it is, isn't it?

One of the venues on said tour is The Ritz in Manchester, scene of the first 'reformed - Ruts D.C.' show way back in November 2011. You can read how I felt about it at the time here if you like - we've come a long way since then but it's always a pleasure to return to The Ritz and indeed to Manchester, which we did a couple of Saturdays ago when we appeared at the North West Calling festival. Since we were on at the very civilised time of 5.30 pm and backline was provided we decided to travel up and back by train - somewhat inevitably the journey up involved a bottle of wine (or two!) meaning that when we arrived at The Ritz spirits were (literally!) high. We were pleased to discover that we were using a previously-unknown-to-us club under the stage as a dressing room area, which was a good deal cooler than the hotter-than-hell auditorium where Dirt Box Disco were roaring through their set to the approval of all concerned. With Penetration on before us there was a chance for me to say hello to a few people before returning backstage to get ready for our show. And what a show it was - despite the soaring temperature we played a powerful 45 minute set which went down splendidly well and which set us up for our return next year. After watching most of the Peter And The Test Tube Babies show it was time for our taxi back to the station just over 4 hours after we'd arrived - although there was time for your humble narrator to grab a quick pic next to the frankly enormous promotional poster for the afore-mentioned February gig. And talking of frankly enormous promotional items - click here to see a promo film for the tour on YouTube. As I say, exciting times.

Last Friday (July 6th if you're counting) I saw The Stranglers in the somewhat unlikely setting of Hampton Pool. Well, I say unlikely - it seems that they put gigs on there regularly throughout the summer, so hopefully we'll find ourselves there one day. Support came from Jawbone whose versions of songs by the likes of Little Feat and Stephen Stills were at home in the perhaps rather middle class surroundings of an outdoor swimming pool but seemed somewhat incongruous next to The Men In Black. Talking of whom - I guess that when you see a band play 20-odd nights in a row on tour but still want to go to a show they must be something special, and The Stranglers certainly fall into that category. Talking to them afterwards they seemed unhappy with their efforts but it all sounded good where I was.

The next night Big Al Reed and The Blistering Buicks played The Three Wishes in Edgware. It's a familiar haunt for the band but I hadn't been there for a while - as England had won their World Cup quarter final against Sweden only a couple of hours earlier we arrived to scenes of alcoholic devastation on a scale rarely witnessed; Chris returned on keyboards after being absent through illness, Bob depped for an ailing Dave on drums and you got the feeling that we could have played almost anything and most people there still wouldn't have noticed that we were on the same planet as them, let alone in the same room. Maybe we weren't? And last night the band journeyed up to St. Albans for a show at The Farmers Boy, an excellent little venue where with Howard Tibble on drums and my old mate Johnny Squirrel on bass we gave a spirited performance to an appreciative audience. I've not been able to play with the band much lately due to other things happening but will be out and about with them over the next couple of weeks. Our gig at The Three Steps in Cowley on the 21st July is the nearest one to my birthday - it is, shall we say, a 'lively' venue, so that should be a good night, as should tomorrow night when it's the Sounds Of The Suburbs record shop's second anniversary party - but more about that next time...

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