The Damned & Ruts DC – Picture House, Edinburgh – 07/12/13
Had a great time in Edinburgh at the weekend squeezing in one last Ruts DC gig for the year as they turn back the clock to 1979 by touring as support to The Damned. Having made the short but slightly hungover drive across from Glasgow where we’d seen Dreadzone tear it up the previous evening, we checked in, dropped off the car and spent a very enjoyable afternoon in the Black Rose pub in Rose Street catching up with old friends, one of whom I hadn’t seen in 20+ years!
We knew the gig was gonna be an early one but still made it down to Lothian Road with time to spare so popped into the Red Squirrel (next to the Picturehouse venue) for a quickie and ran into Segs and Ruffy doing the same. We joined them for a wee chat. They really are very congenial people, both interested and interesting, happily chatting and posing for photos with everyone who dropped past, although one girl who requested to borrow Segs’ trademark fedora for a shot was given a flat refusal. Before too long though, duty called and they had to head off next door to get ready. we downed our drinks and followed suit to make sure we had a good vantage point for the show.
As the name suggests, the Picturehouse is an old cinema theatre type venue, standing downstairs and seated balconies upstairs, perfect for this sort of show. I just had time to do a quick bar run and stake a place down the front before the smokers joined me just seconds before the Ruts DC took the stage. I’m tired of rehashing superlatives for this band so let’s just say they were as faultless as ever. With keyboard player Seamus not making the tour, it’s a stripped down punkier sound for these dates but none the worse for it. It would have been Malcolm Owen’s 60th birthday that day so Love In Vain is dedicated to him as usual but with an unexpected segueway into Police & Thieves, the song is given a poignant new twist with a nod to the late Junior Murvin. Another surprise comes later in the set with a frantic rattle through Society signalling the start of the punky run-in to the end of the set. Rude Boys, Babylon’s Burning, In A Rut. It’s irresistible and I commit to joining the leaping throng that has developed centre stage, wishing within half a song that I hadn’t but somehow I’m unable to stop. The band gets a great shout at the end and I’m sure if there had been time they’d have got an encore.
I headed to the bar for a quick beer and a cool down, fully intending to give The Damned 3 or 4 songs then head next door to the pub again to continue my chat with the Ruts guys if they were there. However, it was quickly apparent that this wasn’t going to happen. The Damned were on top form, with no hissy-fits from DV and the Cap keeping his Hendrix-isms to where they were actually needed. I wonder if having the Ruts DC along with their “no fat” approach has had an effect? Anyway, when they’re like this, they are a match for anyone and with a setlist that obviously has the hardcore fan in mind, it’s a classic gig. In a night of fitting dedications, it’s nice to hear Captain give a shout out for Mikie Jacobs, singer for local punk stalwarts The Gin Goblins, who recently took his own life. Here’s pretty much what they played:
Sanctum Sanctorum / Don’t Cry Wolf / Wait For The Blackout / Lively Arts / Silly Kids Games / Ignite / Generals / Stranger On The Town / Dr. Jeckyl & Mr. Hyde / History Of The World / Plan 9 Channel 7 / Eloise / Perfect Sunday / Love Song / Second Time Around / Just Can’t Be Happy / New Rose / NNN – Encores : Jet Boy Jet Girl / Antipope / Sick Of Being Sick / Smash It Up
After the show, we headed next door to the pub again where we were later joined by Leigh Heggarty, the Ruts DC guitarist, (who is another top bloke), and chatted and drank there till chucking out time. He tells me there’s lots of new stuff being written so I’m hopeful that 2014 will be pretty active for the band again all going well. Bring it on I say!
Words by New York Johnny.
The Damned Website
Ruts DC Website