Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Theatre of the absurd

Well time has been even tighter in these here parts over the last couple of weeks, hence the complete lack of blogging. How on Earth did I ever have chance to do several posts a month? It's been hard enough to find a few minutes to update my Facebook page, let alone write this stuff… we're still busy in Balcony Shirts - this is my only day off this week, hence the chance to attempt a quick posting now - and I've been gigging with The Upper Cut (a particularly riotous night at The Dolphin a week-and-a-half ago) and Big Al Reed and The Blistering Buicks (at The Three Wishes in Harrow and The Horns in Watford the weekend before last) so it's perhaps not surprising that I feel as though I've done nothing but work these days. And Ruts D.C. appeared at The Know The Future Festival in Vienne, France on the Saturday just gone - we'd not played for a while but put in a good performance alongside the likes of The Damned, The U.K. Subs and The Vibrators. The event took place at The Theatre Antique, a Roman amphitheatre which had to be seen to be believed - I've certainly never played anywhere like it before. The slightly peculiar travel arrangements meant that we flew out from Luton Airport on Friday lunchtime and returned home to Gatwick Airport in the early hours of Sunday morning - I got back home just in time to do an actual birthday gig (as opposed to The Upper Cut Uxbridge show the week before, which I played as an early birthday bash) with Big Al and the boys that afternoon at The White Horse near Staines. I'm still feeling tired now… more gigs this weekend, then it's off to The Rebellion Festival next week. No rest for the wicked, or indeed for me. 

Incidentally the always-excellent Aural Sculptors blog has just posted an audio recording of our set in Vienne, which you can download by clicking here. Enjoy!

Monday, July 11, 2016

'Stab your back, stab your back...'

Well, who would have thought it - Boris Johnson knifes the entire country in the back then one of his so-called 'friends' does the same thing to him. Poetic justice? Maybe, and I'm sure that it couldn't happen to a nicer bloke - but I've a funny feeling that sadly we haven't seen the last of him. In the meantime I have once again been working a lot in Balcony Shirts, hence the lack of blog postings. That said, I've done a few other things as well… 

The Damned played their first gig on July 6th 1976 at The 100 Club supporting The Sex Pistols. Exactly 40 years later founder member and guitarist Brian James played at the same venue - I got the feeling that many people in attendance were expecting a set of early Damned songs, especially when Rat Scabies was spotted in the bar. If they were then they were to be disappointed, at least until the encore. The first few songs were from his solo albums, although 'Born To Kill' did make an early appearance. After that it was, as more than one person remarked to me, 'jazz odyssey' time until Dirty Strangers singer Alan Clayton joined the band for among other things a raucous version of 'The Last Time'. Ginger from The Wildhearts added his voice to the set closer 'Neat Neat Neat' before loud cheers (and it must be said, an almost audible collective sigh of relief) greeted Mr. Scabies as he took his place behind the drum kit. The intensity and indeed the volume went through the roof - there may have been tighter, more together performances of 'I Feel Alright' and 'New Rose' than the ones that followed, but few as energetic and powerful as this clip shows. A great ending to an, er, interesting gig. Support came from The Black Bombers who won themselves more than a few friends with a splendid set. We've played with them a couple of times - their garage-y roar is always good to hear, and their new album is well worth getting hold of.

In the meantime Big Al and The Blistering Buicks have been out and about - a show at The Sunningdale Lounge needed a few more people in the audience from the band's point of view although it was by no means a bad night, while the golf-club-do-near-Staines show at The White Horse in Longford saw a table of Thai ladies getting a fair bit of attention from the locals and much dancing and merriment all round. And last weekend's gigs at The Queen's Arms in Colnbrook and Hayes Working Men's Club both also went well, which was more good news. The Big Al roadshow continues this weekend in Harrow and Watford, and The Upper Cut are playing at The Dolphin in Uxbridge this coming Friday - it's my birthday this month and without wishing to sound too pretentious (for once!) it's always good fun to celebrate it at our nearest gig to it, so if you're in the area come on down. It'll be good to see you!