Category Archives: Music

Ruts DC at the Brisbane Punkfest

It has been a while since the last time I saw the Ruts. 1978, to be precise. It was a party held in Hayes Labour Hall and the Ruts were supported by the Desks and the Brain Surgeons.

Fast forward almost 40 years. When I saw that Ruts DC were going to tour Australia this year and play in Brisbane I mentioned it to Lisa and she snapped up two tickets as a birthday present. Brisbane is a long way from us; It’s a round trip of about 3200 km (2000 miles). That’s a lot of petrol, four long days on the road and two nights in a hotel. Once the Ruts hit the stage we knew it was time and money well spent.

Kingston Stompers

Kingston Stompers

They were playing their first – and hopefully not last – Australia/New Zealand tour and this show was part of the Punkfest at the New Globe Theatre in the heart of the Fortitude Valley area of Brisbane.

Spike City

Spike City

There were two support bands: Kingston Stompers and Spike City. Both bands were pretty good and played a fine mixture of ska, reggae and punk.

Spike City reminded me of a 21st century version of Madness and even have a small brass section. The trumpet player sported a rocking mohican too.

Then the Ruts came on. A bit of banter with the audience and they blasted straight into Surprise.

Ruts DC

Ruts DC

As good as the support bands were, this was a lesson in how to play a gig. When a band has known each other for nearly 40 years they are going to be tight. When I first saw the Ruts at the Southall Centre playing with Misty In Roots in early 1978 they were really very good. They haven’t lost any of their edge or energy in that time despite only two of the original four members still being alive.

Ruts DC

Ruts DC

The set was well thought out with a great mix of old and new songs. There was more good-natured banter between Segs, Ruffy and the audience. The latter was a mix of kids who were born after the loss of Malcolm Owen and people the same age as the band. No matter what their age everyone knew the songs and sang along with them.

Ruts DC

Ruts DC

The traditional faux encore was amusing. Leigh and Segs left the stage but Dave Ruffy stood and chatted with the audience. He told them about his dicky hip and that he couldn’t be arsed to get off stage only to have to climb back up a few minutes later. If you heard his high hat and kick drum pedal work during the show you wouldn’t think there was anything amiss. Ruffy is probably the best drummer to come out of the punk era and this gig just proved it again.

All too soon – actually after almost two hours of music – and the gig was over. I hope they come back again.

We scored some merch, as the kids say, and came away with a poster, a t-shirt and two CDs by the Ruts. Also bought a t-shirt from Spike City.

All in all a great night out and it brought back lots of memories of days gone by and people no longer with us: Malcolm Owen, Paul Fox and Lizzie Cook.

Ash Grunwald gig in El Arish

Ash  Grunwald

Copyright: Ash Grunwald

We have just got back from the excellent Ash Grunwald gig in El Arish. It’s only a community hall but I prefer smaller venues. The hall reminded me of the atmosphere in the Marquee in Wardour Street but without the layer of sticky beer on the floor. The gig was the first show on Ash’s latest Australian tour and we had a great night out.

To be honest, neither of us had heard of Ash until a couple of weeks ago when Lisa caught Walking on Triple J radio whilst driving home. When we realised that he was playing locally we just had to buy some tickets. Good live music around here is rare.

Ash’s band consisted of himself (duh) and Benny Owens, Kanchana Karunaratna, and Fingers Malone on assorted percussion, keyboards, decks and obscure second hand electronics & household objects. Ash’s bluesy and very heavy guitar work underpinned by two drummers, a percussionist and a stompbox really had the hall floor bouncing. This is a quality band so go and see them.

We also bought two CDs from the merch stall: Introducing Ash Grunwald and Hot Mamma Vibes.

Petard hoisting extraordinaire

Oh dear, what has Lily Allen done now? The poor little poppet has been having a whinge about “people stealing her music” (copyright infringement to you, me and the law). Bless her third nipple, she’s gone to all the effort of setting up a blog (a freebie account at Blogger – her finances must be worse than I thought) and now seems to have totally lost the plot.

In a recent post she railed against the stance taken by rapper 50 Cent who sees file sharing as part of the general marketing of music. Just as an aside, he’s correct; research by the Canadian government has shown that file sharers buy more music than non-sharers. Mr Cent is right, Ms Allen is wrong and her solution to a non-problem is to alienate her audience even more. Smart career move, Lily.

She illustrated her point by copying an entire article from TechDirt and posting it on her blog with no link, no attribution and without permission. Oh dear. Lily, if you’re going to go off on one about copyright infringement at least make sure you don’t infringe someone else’s copyright in the process because it really does make you look like a complete twonk. The author of the copied article has been very gracious about the incident.

To make matters worse, she then followed it up with an apology ALL TYPED IN CAPS. Yes, Lily, shouting an online apology is really going to help. When it’s also littered with spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors it won’t help your image as a sassy young lady much either. Comments left by readers are worth five minutes of your time to read.

The most interesting part of the current debate is that artists are taking up very different, and opposite, positions. On one side, you have the Featured Artists Coalition , a group that includes Nick Mason (Pink Floyd), Billy Bragg, Tom Jones, Annie Lennox, Dave Rowntree (Blur), Radiohead and other people that make music that people actually want to buy and listen to. They are against draconian copyright legislation such as Internet disconnection for file sharers. On the other side you have a group who would like to remove the hands of teenage fans that have the temerity to want to listen to their idol’s creative output but are too skint to buy all the songs. This second group comprises people such as Ms Allen, Elton John, Gary Kemp and James Blunt. Sheesh, no self-respecting member of da yoof is going to download that stuff. In fact, if the artist hand-delivered an autographed boxed set of their entire back catalogue to a teenager they’d probably be told exactly where they can shove it.