Located in Newcastle’s historic Quayside The Riverside is an iconic music venue for alternative music, it’s a no thrills and spills kind of venue. It was refurbished in 2017 but to me, it still had an evocative feeling of yesteryear. It has heralded some of the greats to its stage I have to mention the late great Mark E Smith of The Fall.

On entering through its doors a large crowd had all ready amassed for tonight’s main act The Ruts (The Ruts DC) I decided to try and obtain the best view I thought possible so I went and stood in the balcony,  The crowd, in early as the support act for tonight was ‘The Professionals’ who were formed by ex-Sex Pistols members Steve Jones and Paul Cook.  Steve Jones unfortunately no longer tours but is still the foundation in the studio.  Cook and Jones formed the band after the demise of the Pistols in 1979.

Paul Cook who looks well for 62, is positioned in the middle providing the brawn and proving his drum power. Tom Spencer (Yo Yo’s, The Lurkers) on guitar and vocals, Toshi JC (a stand-in for Myers) proving his guitar tech expertise on bass, Sandancer Chris McCormack (3 Colours Red, Gary Numan) providing the punk shreds on guitar.  It was a fantastic opening and such a teat of punk royalty in one night!  The Professionals were of the exact name regards to playing with the wave of mohawks moshing, I did chuckle at Spencer with the introduction shout of “We are supporting the Ruts but we are The Professionals”

The balcony view was a wise decision as it turned out as the turn out of the old guard (crowd) was impressive to celebrate their heroes the 40th anniversary of their first album The Crack.

The Ruts who originate from London, their musical influences being that of punk and reggae are these days a trio after the loss of Malcolm Owen who sadly died in 1980 aged just 26.  Paul Fox (original founding member) who also sadly passed away in 2007. This leaving original and legendary members of John “Segs” Jennings supplying the bass and vocals and Dave Ruffy on drums they are joined by Leigh Heggarty on lead.

The show starts, the lights dimmed, a rather unique audio introduction comes echoing out of the speakers, the spoken lyrics to the classic track “Staring at the Rude Boys” are taken in like a sermon by the faithful, the Mohicans Maybe long gone but the unity of memory stands tall. The sound of police sirens then wails as the intro of “Babylon’s Burning” begins this followed by the unmistakable base chords ripped from seg’s guitar, got to admit the hairs went up on my back.

These guys delight in playing together, they play the whole “Crack” album in a well-honed set. There are moments of reflection to past member Malcolm Owen who died nearly 40years this ironically typified by the tracks H-Eyes and Love in a vein, the later is a reggae lament that is part of the ruts repertoire which is full on in showcased Jah War. The Ruts also bring things more up to date since reforming as The Ruts D.C. with tracks from 2016 album Music Must Destroy.

Stand out track of the evening for me has to be “Staring at the Rude Boys” which summed up lyrically my thoughts of the night at the Riverside There was no room to move ‘cause the floor is packed tight’ and my message to the three remaining Ruts “Never Surrender”!

Reviewer – Carmichael – THE SLABCITY SHOW

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