THE RUTS – FEATURING HENRY ROLLINS (Peafish Productions) 5/5 Anyone who missed this incredible show back in July missed what is being described as one of the “Best punk gigs ever.” Of course it was in tragic circumstances as guitarist Paul ‘Foxy’ Fox played his last ever show with the Ruts before passing away barely a month later. This DVD does a fine job as a tribute for Foxy and the Ruts and shows both what a great guitarist he was, and just how good the Ruts could be. With Henry Rollins doing a fine, underplayed job on vocals, the band tear through anthems like ‘Something That I Said’ and ‘Staring At The Rudeboys’, plus there’s clips from all the supporting cast including the Damned and the U.K. Subs. And with a poignant interview with Foxy a few days after the show, plus insights from friends and members of the support acts, this double DVD is an essential memento from one of punk rock’s greatest, and sometimes unsung bands. All profits go to cancer charities. Get it at indiestore.com/theruts. El Prez
Packed is word bandied about to describe many a gig, but this was, even the cloak room was full. When The Sonics were laying waste to a studio in the North-West USA in 1964 it’s doubtful they ever thought there would be 2000 limeys aged between 16 and 60 screaming for those songs in the 21st century. But there were. The Sonics, may have looked a way bit older than they do in those well-known and grainy black and white album covers but age hasn’t tamed them. Anyone that attending the gig desperate to see the band they never dreamed they’d witness in the flesh but fearing the worst of the performance soon had those fears dispelled. Rob Lind’s sax honked and squealed just as it did back in the day, Gerry Roslie’s screams were as fearsome as they were when they pushed studio needles into the red and Larry Parypa was using the exact same guitar for fuck sake. Every classic Sonics tune was hammered and every cover they made their own, owned once again. Even tracks from the much maligned ‘Introducing’ were blasted out with an amends making aggression. Head’s On Backwards indeed, the whole audience was knocked out, knocked bandy, blown away by a legendary band that didn’t just run through the motions but sucked on Rock N Roll and spat it out shredded just as they had back in the 1960s. ‘This is the national anthem of rock n roll’ announced Rob Lind before launching into their chord twisting version of ‘Louie Louie’ but their anthem is The Witch, they saved it ‘till last then blasted it out as if the decades had never passed, Roslie screamed, and everyone, and I mean everyone, screamed with him and not a neck hair was left flaccid. Another oft-used word sums it – Awesome. Simon Nott
DEAD KENNEDYS frontman Jeff Penalty has become the third vocalist to leave the band, following Jeffo Biafra and Brandon Cruz. Penalty explained,
"I thought about quitting numerous times over the past year, but I officially did so on Thanksgiving when I found out that the band had been recruiting a new singer behind my back and had even played a secret show with one at a bar in my neighbourhood."
"My sincere thanks and apologies, go out to the fans that supported my participation in the band. And Jello, you’ve been wrong about a lot of stuff, but you were certainly right about not trusting those guys…"
Ron ‘Skip’ Greer, former singer of East Bay pop punks The Wynona Riders, has joined the Dead Kennedys as touring vocalist.
The Dead Kennedys have also announced a London date at the Camden Electric Ballroom on Wednesday 28th May.
First one on the bill was Billy Club who offered their version of the GBH-sound. In fact they even started with a lesser know GBH cover ‘Three Piece Suite’. The Dresdens were next with their racing American influenced punk rock and roll, much in the vein of Zeke. Guitarist and the highly energetic bassist made a difference to the sound by sharing the vocals and this Winnebago Deal side project looks certail to go places this year. Riot Squad kept the sounds of streets going with the help of their intense vocalist. The anti-nazi skinheads had a hint of UK82 in their sound and got the crowd going. GBH kicked off their set with ‘Race Against Time’ and it was evident that band was in great shape. Few numbers in and into ‘Diplomatic Community’ and the crowd goes absolutely mental. Songs like ‘Freak’ and ‘Crush ‘Em’ also give guitarist Jock the chance to bring in some brilliant solo bits. The band also plays new material from the upcoming album and songs such as ‘Kids Get Down’ are as great as the old classics. Colin sports his legendary haircut along with the leather jacket and comes out with his usual witty remarks. Their biggest commercial hit ‘Give Me Fire’ gets dedicated to the smoking ban and ‘No Survivors’ gets described as feeling like a Stevie Wonder in snow storm. The intimate atmosphere of the venue clearly contributes to the evening and the band has never sounded better. They end their tight set with stunning version of the Clash anthem ‘White Riot’. And what a riot the night had been. Jyrki “Spider” Hämäläinen
Since the monumental concert that took place last summer that amounted to guitarist Paul Fox’s final stand, the trickle of affection and recognition that in the Ruts we had a potentially world-conquering musical force has become – well, flood might be a strong word. But it constitutes a welcome reappraisal of a group who really were the equal of more celebrated peers.
That terrific gig – featuring a roster of punk’s good and great, has now been released on DVD. And on first viewing it captures much of the intimacy and emotion of the event. Of course, the highlight was the once in a lifetime opportunity to catch Henry Rollins walking a mile in Malcolm Owen’s shoes and do a tremendous job of it. And he’s back again tonight to compere events. But as a gut-busting entrée to the premiere, we have a traffic jam of artists here to pay their respects.
Day 21 – Jimmy Pursey’s new band – were first up. Jimmy is Jimmy to the nth. Closed with a version of ‘Borstal Breakout’ that was fun to hear. Alabama 3 injected a frisson of honky tonk irreverence into proceedings – doing a head count on still extant Ruts was the definitive moment of black humour all night. Dirty Strangers, Paul Fox’s old band featuring his son on drums, offered up an emotive ‘Love In Vain’. We’ll skip over P.A.I.N.’s set, thanks. On to the ever reliable TV Smith, who had never knowingly been undersold in a live context. The acoustic ‘Babylon’s Burning’ was a treat. Vice School – led by Beki Bondage with members of Girlschool – did a fantastic job on ‘Something That I Said’ but then murdered ‘West One’. JC of the Members/Disciples evoked the full majesty of ‘Jah Wars’, followed inevitably by ‘Sound Of The Suburbs’. Then, in the absence of Johnny Moped (I guess Brenda just wouldn’t let Johnny come out to play tonight) Captain Sensible tackled ‘It Was Cold’, which brought cheers of recognition, pinged through ‘Neat Neat Neat’ and then dragged Rollins onstage for ‘Staring At The Rude Boys’. Grand! Profits from the CD go to charity so treat yourself to one here: http://www.theruts.bigcartel.com/
There’s a curious atmosphere in the Bandroom tonight. You’d think The Living End’s only Australian gig this year would be a buzzing beehive of expectation, but instead the audience (a mix of die-hard fans and attendees for some tedious showbiz awards bash at the same venue) are simply happy to be here. Nothing wrong with that mind, but you’d expect more a tad more rock n’ roll spirit to infuse the proceedings. Still, once the band take to the stage, we’re reminded why we like them so much. Tonight’s gig is a mixture of old, new and somewhere in between as the boys dust off the studio cobwebs and get to business, and business is, mostly, good. Guitarist Chris Cheney is something of a shredmaster general and it’s nice to see a young man in such dapper clothes as the boys tear through their set. Only problem is, while the gig is definitely ‘good’, it rarely crosses the divide into ‘great’. A shame, as this outfit has honed their craft through years of playing toilets and you just know that, were circumstances in their favour, they would be electrifying. Still, we get some good rockin’ tonight (spoilt only by a questionable cover of Little Richard’s ‘Long Tall Sally’ with vocals courtesy of that chimp from Jet) and everyone leaves happy. I’ve seen bands do more with less, but perhaps I’m just too cynical. The boys done good. James Gates
In 1977 a group of anarchists called themselves CRASS released an album called ‘The Feeding Of The 5000’. Soon after they were investigated by the CIA, MI5 and the KGB. During their seven years as a band they attempted to change the world. For the millions who listened to the message they articulated with such brutal precision – they did. While much had been made of Steve Ignorant’s decision to perform ‘The Feeding Of The 5000’ from the Guardian newspaper to punk messageboards, the electricity of the anticipation in the run-up to tonight soon gave way as the military drumbeat of ‘Do They Owe Us A Living’ cut away all concerns as nothing less than a political juggernaut burst through West London. With tracks such as ‘Banned From The Roxy’, ‘Punk Is Dead’ and ‘So What’ within the setlist, how could tonight ever have failed? As the brilliant punk masterpieces ‘Bloody Revolutions’ and ‘Big A Little A’ found themselves aired later on in the set they also found themselves with a backing choir of four thousand belligerent punks who, by the looks on their faces, could still not believe both their eyes or ears as the music of CRASS through Steve Ignorant once again filled the airwaves. Steve Ignorant achieved what many thought impossible tonight. A virtuoso delivery and performance found itself coupled alongside the unconditional love felt for the songs that channeled through to the faces in the crowd and somehow beyond. It was nothing less than perfect in every way. Billed as a night of love, music, film, performance and anger, tonight transcended all of those emotions and in an age where we have been accustomed to homogenized corporate punk charlatans became nothing less than magical. If there is no authority but Yourself, let’s hope Steve Ignorant performs again. It’s rare nights like these that do change people’s lives. Gig of the year. John Damon
So here we go again. Third time lucky? After the Pistols original reformation was a triumph at Finsbury Park, the next one at Crystal Palace was a sloppy, unrehearsed show. And so what about tonight at Brixton? Well from the moment a country squire attired John Lydon takes the stage it seems they haven’t really bothered putting a lot into this. Lydon’s vocals now exaggerate ‘Pretty Vacant’ to torture point and the once cool as fuck Steve Jones hunches his bulking frame over the guitar to spew out, at the best, mid paced pub rock. In fact, a voice close to Big Cheese reliably tells us they only bothered ‘rehearsing’ 4 songs before tonight. So yes, it is the Sex Pistols, but it is also a load of bollocks. Having seen the Ruts reform recently, they would have wiped the floor with these Pistols, even though one of their members was dying! No, tonight was a simple cash-in – and none of Lydon’s sarcasm can hide the fact that they were terribly average. Apparently they got better as their residency went on but if this is the future then England is Dreaming. At £45 a ticket, ever got the feeling you’ve been cheated? Oh, and why, oh why, did they get the Cribs to support them? John Damon
SIOUXSIE Eiffel Tower Paris September 28th 4/5 Unveiling material from her long-anticipated solo album in the intimate (and frankly, breathtaking) setting of the first-level bar of le Tour Eiffel as part of the Coke Music Discovery sessions, you'd be hard-pushed to top Siouxsie for sheer sense of occasion; poised in the chilly Paris night several hundred feet over the city centre, tonights venue is so far removed from the humdrum dive-bar location of your usual rock-circuit bash, it's something of a masterstroke. As the intro-tape of Morricone's Ecstasy of Gold gives way to the insistent dance-punk groove of album opener 'Into A Swan', Siouxsie executes an immaculate grand entrance. Zippered into an outrageously slinky metallic catsuit affair, with her signature shock of black hair( that launched the look of a thousand Goth girls) and cats-eyes warpaint, Siouxie's unassailable stage presence is as captivating and startling as it ever was. High-kicking playfully over the heads of an adoring front-row, Siouxsie stakes a claim on the here-and-now without so much as a backwards glance to Banshees days and her influence on Gwen Stefani and even old' Madonna herself are obvious here tonight. Through a shimmering set of new material from this year's Mantaray CD, our girl undulates like a cobra to the album's eastern-tinged rhythms, working the stage with a winning blend of feisty assertiveness and spooky entrancement. Loveless rides out the darker currents of disintegrating romance, while 'If It Doesn't Kill You' smoulders with torchy regret; 'Sea Of Tranquility' glides on tropical currents, 'They Follow You' flows sinuously. Bowing out with a jazzed-out reprise of 'Swan' and an unexpected romp through the Doors 'Hello I Love You', Siouxsie and her new musical ensemble take their leave and we spill out onto the observation deck to contemplate Paris' grand night time vista. A landmark show in every sense, tonight was a fitting launch pad for the new solo Sioux and a unique event altogether.
X-RAY SPEX will reform on September 6th to play London’s Camden Roundhouse. The line-up will include original members Poly Styrene (vocals) and Paul Dean (bass). The gig is almost sold out so get your tickets quick!
Look out for a Vive Le Punk interview with Polly Styrene in coming months!
A new DVD of THE CLASH is out in April. ‘THE CLASH LIVE: REVOLUTION ROCK’ DVD is a tribute to the seminal band’s incredible live shows and follows the band as their gig develop, including footage from all stages of their career – from 1979 studio clips to gigs in cubs (London’s The Music Machine 1978), theatres (The Lyceum 1978, 1980) and climaxing with their legendary performance at New York’s Shea Stadium in 1982. It also includes rare footage of the band’s performance on various TV shows.
The US rockabilly legends THE STRAY CATS are bowing out with a huge European tour. They’re starting in Spain in August before heading to Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Holland and Belgium before hitting the UK on 10th September. The UK dates are as follows:
September 10 – London Brixton Academy 11 – Manchester Academy 12 – Glasgow Academy 14 – Dublin Vicar Street
One of the most incredible gigs of recent years has to be THE RUTS playing a benefit gig for their guitarist Paul Fox last July (with huge fan Henry Rollins doing a fantastic job on vocals). Foxy even played with the band despite the fact that he would lose his battle with cancer towards the end of the year. In a fitting tribute to the great man and one hell of a punk band the whole gig, including interviews, was captured on video and is being released on DVD. Vive Le Punk has two copies to give away so just answer this easy question to be in with a chance of winning:
Q: WHAT IS THE TITLE OF THE RUTS’ CLASSIC 1979 DEBUT ALBUM?
Send your answer, name and address to firstname.lastname@example.org.
THE WHITE STRIPES ICKY THUMP (XL) Back to the future for Jack and Meg… 4½/5 Returning with their sixth album the original odd couple of Jack and Meg White have pushed their sound forward with an ambitious and creative record, whilst still including the infectious elements of their earlier work. Taking their basic drum, guitar and vocal dynamic on straight-forward songs such as ‘Bone Broke’, the heavy ‘Little Cream Soda’ and the raw, energetic ‘Catch Hell Blues’. There’s plenty of experimentation on ‘Icky Thump’ too, with the two-piece incorporating bagpipes, horns and synthesiser into songs, such as the angular but destined to be a hit title track and the excellent use of horns in ‘Conquest’. There’s even country (‘You Don’t Know What Love Is’, ‘Effect and Cause’), folk (‘Prickly Thorn’), psychedelic (‘St. Andrew’) and humorous spoken word (‘Rag & Bone’) parts, making it their most diverse and rewarding album to date. This is why they’re the world’s biggest garage rockers right now. John Damon
KILLING JOKE THE UNPERVERTED PANTOMIME5/5 NO WAY OUT BUT FORWARD 5/5 (KJ)
With no sign of the Killing Joke killing machine slowing down on the back of their cracking new album and world tour, now we get two reissues of early and live material that fans and casual listeners alike will want to pick up. ‘The Unperverted Pantomime’ pulls together early singles like ‘Nervous Systems’ and ‘Wardance’ with Capital Radio sessions and live recordings. It’s surprising how fresh it all still sounds, and it’s not hard to see why KJ have influenced everyone from the Foo Fighters to Ministry. ‘No Way Out…’ is from a live show from 1985 and contains their top 10 chart hit ‘Love Like Blood’ and songs from the ‘Night Time’ album. With seldom heard studio tracks included, any member of Killing Jokes ‘Gatherers’ will want both of these for their record collections. El Prez
NEW YORK DOLLS ONE DAY IT WILL PLEASE US TO REMEMBER EVEN THIS (Roadrunner) Reconstituted punk/glam icons pick it up again after 30 years. 3½/5 Even when all the original participants still drew breath, a third album from the New York Dolls was always going to be a tall order. Whittled down to just two old-time members through drugs, drink and bad luck, the 21st century Dolls no longer pack the careening trash-rock edge afforded by Messrs Thunders, Kane and Nolan; but with Sylvain Sylvain’s trebly 1950s twang and David Johansen’s growling wit still sparking, the boys have something in their corner and have pulled a more than half-decent album out the bag here. While the hired help play it too much like a straight-up rawk act – surely never the point with this band – the record is pretty respectable, and in fact damn good on some of the cuts; ‘Dance Like A Monkey’ is pure Diddley-daddy jungle-beat, and ‘Fishnets And Cigarettes’ is prime hook-heavy rock ‘n’ roll swagger, fully in key with the ‘Dolls of old. Doubters might sniff, but overall, it‚s worthy of the name. The fuchsia-pink sleeve-art should swing it for most fans in any case. Hugh Gadjit
THE STRANGLERS SUITE XVI (Liberty) Old punks in ‘Still cutting it’ shock! 4/5 Thirty years on and the Men In Black, ’76 UK punks The Stranglers still release good albums shock! Following on from the ‘Norfolk Coast’ album that hit the charts, The Stranglers are still on a major label, and sound fresh, contemporary and relevant. Opener ‘Unbroken’ almost sounds like a heavier Panic! At The Disco, with trademark keyboards and their dark gothic touches rubbing shoulders with groovy pop on ‘See Me Coming’, The Stranglers sound anything but the bunch of old codgers you would expect them to. Surprisingly bloody good! El Prez