Wednesday, February 12, 2014

FEBRUARY 2014 FFRUK Reggae Punk Monday 10 February 2014

FFRUK Reggae Punk Monday 12 Bar - with The Duel and an acoustic set from The Ruts DC

It was one of those Perfect evenings.
The million rain clouds that are over great soggy Britain at the moment took a breather.
We took the car and got a parking space right outside the tiny shop front that is the 12 Bar in Denmark Street, across the road from Steve Jones (Sex Pistols) old flat.

Open the door and you get a warm reception at the desk.
You are required to pay THREE POUNDS to get in.
Your mind does a time warp.  
All the faces in the room are immediately Chaucer characters.  
Esso (ex-Lurkers) glinty smile from a bench behind a beer on a Tudor hewn-wood table top.
Posters cover the beams.
Check out the merch desk.  Badges £1.  T-Shirts £15 (good cotton).
Bathrooms are up creaky stairs from the ante-chamber on your left and, before you duck through the doorway to the stage cave area, which might have been a boiler room at one time (or what's that big pipe doing in there) you could step down left, and play pool or pinball.

There’s some amplification sizzle and tick we’re in under the balcony bit at the back.

The band wobble up and balance on the stage.
The host band is The Duel.
They are playing 13 Mondays in row starting from tonight and inviting special guests along.
If you can't get to London, you can watch the gigs on a Live Stream on the 12 Bar site, I am told.

It goes without saying but The Duel are worth more than the entrance price.
They have a gutsy girl singer, Tara Rez, in her red Lurkers t-shirt and her platform brothel creepers; a young Captain Sensible sultan on electric pianos (one straps round his shoulders); a striped t-shirt sailor-face on electric guitar; a stand in bass player, in his best suit jacket, who was great.  In the corner is Pumpy Drums - his goatee beard is dyed red today, red sunglasses, red (life aquatic) wool hat - he plays seriously in his cartoon t-shirt BAM!

PUMPY photo by Maciej Wasilewski

The Duel  photo by Maciej Wasilewski

The sound is great.  I could hear the words.  My inner 17 year old went a bit bonkers down the front.  Couldn't help it.  Drummer.  He was doing voodoo skeleton-rattling.  It was a pleasant spell.
Coming round, I heard Tara introducing their last song, saying, “we are truly blessed to have the Ruts playing next.  Their first acoustic set in 35 years.”
She is wrong, but that’s only because these Ruts have NEVER done an acoustic set.
Why not?  
There is no sensible answer.

The room fills up with your roman descendents and spiky toothy geezers.
I am in the front row and remain there for the whole set.  
Dave Ruffy is first to the stage.
Followed by Seggs.
Then here comes Leah Heggerty with the beverages.

They sit down.
The evening sets sail.
They seem HUGE and capable to me
100% men with souls with jackets off.  Big men with broad shoulders and wide ribs and pulsing hearts.  The sort of men you’d see at the Thames Dock Yard with rope and inked-arms, clanking anchors, smiling with a golden tooth maybe. Every song is powerful and moving and dubbed and echoed with joining in bits and SPECIAL GUESTS Aynsley Jones and Larry Love from Alabama 3.

Highlights for my friend were In A Rut, Rude Boys, Babylon’s Burning ... hold on, no.  “Just the whole set really”  and for me the highlight was Love In Vain (dedicated to Malcolm, their singer who went down the path before Sid and Philip Seymour Hoffman).

 I got quite swoony over Aynsley Jones, and adored Dave Ruffy’s sweet backing vocals and witty banter in between.  And how nice was Lee Heggerty! He was kind enough to say Hello to my camera for my Ruts Fan Friend Tim Broun in NYC who I wished I could magic into the room with us.  

The joy that radiated off this band and the hope, that Seggs is telling the truth, that even though this is their first acoustic set, there may be others.

There were sing a long bits:

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