The band returned to London for a second time to play two nights at a smaller venue following their knockout show at O2 Academy Islington last year. Continuing on their ‘Faces in The Sky’ tour promoting their new ‘Counterculture?’ album, the band of Segs Jennings, Leigh Heggarty and Dave Ruffy performed from the new release.

Their set began on the light and dark shades of surveillance culture track, ‘Faces in The Sky’ itself, from the new album, then into the roaming guitar of classic ‘SUS’ and its sister track ‘It Was Cold’, from The Ruts’ 1979 debut album, ‘The Crack’. They also played from their third, lesser-known 1981 album, ‘Animal Now’, with the strained guitar chords of ‘No Time To Kill’, released when the band became ‘Ruts DC’. They returned to the new material with ‘X-Ray Joy’, containing softer, chiming guitar structures, and back to ‘Animal Now’, with Segs’ trudging bass and unusual gothic vocals and wails in ‘Despondency’.

Moving onto their title track and single, Ruts DC played the fast-paced punk rock rap ‘Counterculture?’, which varied with Heggarty’s guitar solo not on the recorded version, and then the circular guitar riffs of ‘Born Innocent’, one of the band’s best tracks to date. They also performed their fourth single, ‘Jah War’ and another new track, ‘West One (Shine On Me)’ modern echo, ‘Kill Zone’, with bleeding guitar parts.

The band finished their set on classics from their first two albums with their first two singles: ‘In A Rut’ – ending on a pedal effect guitar solo against a stripped-down, rhythm section for variation and a ‘New Rose’ tribute to Algy Ward – and their hit single ‘Babylon’s Burning’. They returned for an encore with a final new song, ‘Pretty Lunatics’, which Segs dedicated to all of us.

24/05/23: Ruts DC @ The Water Rats, London.

Photos © Ayisha Khan.

© Ayisha Khan.