The Ruts DC are gearing up to take 2017 by storm with a new digital single, Kill The Pain, that will be released on March 3rd via Westworld/Sosumi Recordings, before hitting the road with The Stranglers throughout March and early April. Lifted from Music Must Destroy, the band’s first new rock recordings since 1981, the new single and video for Kill The Pain features backing vocals from Stiff Little Fingers’ Jake Burns and Spear Of Destiny‘s Kirk Brandon. Having successfully toured together as the ever evolving Dead Men Walking, it was the perfect opportunity to feature the iconic frontmen on the single. Kill The Pain can be ordered via Amazon, ITunes and Google Play and you can view The Ruts DC tour dates with The Stranglers below Read More…
Stiff Little Fingers have announced that they’re gearing up for 2017, they will kick off the band’s 40th anniversary celebrations with their annual tour of the UK in March, they will be accompanied on all UK dates by Theatre Of Hate. They have also alluded to a celebration in Belfast, the city where they formed back in 1977, and further details of this event will follow.
Stiff Little Fingers are currently on their biggest ever tour of Canada, tickets for the 40th anniversary UK tour, and all the remaining Canadian shows, except the sold out show in Toronto, are on sale and can be viewed and purchased here
You can read The Punk Site Review Of Stiff Little Fingers live at the Picturedrome in July 2016 here
You can still order the forthcoming live album, Best Served Loud, via Pledge Music here
Music Must DestroyWestworld Recordings
By AJ Phink
The Ruts DC, formerly known as The Ruts, were one of the original bands that were born out of the original UK punk explosion of the seventies. They were one of the original bands that incorporated reggae, ska and dub into their music alongside the punk aggression, it was this hybrid of styles that produced such classic singles as Babylon’s Burning and Staring At The Rude Boys. They became know as The Ruts DC following the death of their singer Malcolm Owen in 1980, they released two albums, Animal Now and Rhythm Collision Volume One, before calling it a day in 1982, and that might have been the end of matters. However The Ruts DC were reborn out of further tragedy, guitarist Paul Fox was diagnosed with lung cancer and the band reformed to perform a benefit show for their comrade, with lifelong fan Henry Rollins taking over vocal duties for the night. Sadly Paul Fox lost his battle with cancer later the same year but The Ruts DC were reunited once more and they recorded a dub album with the Mad Professor entitled Rhythm Collision Volume Two.
The Ruts DC are now stripped back down to a three piece comprised of original members John ‘Segs’ Jennings, bass and vocals, and Dave Ruffy, drums, along with Leigh Heggarty on guitar. This album shows that The Ruts DC and not content to just be another band riding the nostalgia bandwagon, in Music Must Destroy they have created an album that shows that they are still a force to be reckoned with. The opening aggressive blast of Psychic Attack sets down a marker that few will match this year, this was the first single from the album and it remains one of my favourite singles from 2016. The album is as varied as you’d expect from The Ruts DC, the title track is a menacing number with a stamping relentless beat, both Surprise and Kill The Lights won’t sound out of place alongside the material from their classic debut album. But it’s not all meance and punk attitude, there are softer moments on the album such as Soft City Lights, Peace Bomb and Tears On Fire and the album closes with Golden Boy, which is the most laid back track on the album and is a fitting and haunting tribute their fallen lead singer.
In making Music Must Destroy The Ruts DC have made a triumphant return to recording, this isn’t just a great comeback album, it’s a great album. There isn’t a singe track on this album that I would object to hearing live alongside their classic material, for me this is the best album The Ruts have made since their debut, The Crack, back in 1979. If you aren’t familiar with The Ruts DC then I’d recommend picking up this album, and their debut album, as The Ruts are a band that despite personal tragedy striking them several times are still here, and sounding as good as they ever have. In addition to their core members The Ruts DC have been aided and abetted on Music Must Destroy by a veritable who’s who of punk and alternative artists including Morrissey‘s Baz Boorer, The Damned‘s Captain Sensible, Stiff Little Fingers’ Jake Burns, Spear Of Destiny‘s Kirk Brandon and of course their most famous fan, Henry Rollins. Many bands at this stage of their career are resting on the back catalogue and playing greatest hits tours, this would have been easy enough for The Ruts DC to do, instead they have made one of the best albums of the career.
Music Must Destroy will be released on September 16th on Westworld Recordings
The legendary Northern Irish Punk band Stiff Little Fingers have announced details of a string of Canadian tour dates for October. The band are also in the final stages of producing their new live album, Best Served Loud, they have extended the end date of the campaign, so you can still order the DVD, CD and other items throughout September. Details of their latest PledgeMusic campaign can be found here
The Very Best: 25 Years Of Irish PunkSailor's Grave Records
By AJ Phink
Winter Gardens, Blackpool, UK7th August 2016
By AJ Phink
The final day dawns, so far I’ve been running around trying to see as much as possible, sadly my feet can’t take much more so my plan for the final day is to see a few bands I’ve been intending to see, along with reminding myself that next year I must get comfier boots. First Wave are opening on the Empress Ballroom stage, despite the fact that you can still taste the toothpaste at this early hour, they play a set of energetic and defiant punk rock that, as their name implies, is inspired by the first wave of British punk bands. Following this, and due to further complaints from my feet, I take the opportunity to take a seat and enjoy an interview with one of the original members of The Damned, Captain Sensible. Throughout the interview the Captain is irreverent and entertaining, he provides a profanity littered insight into The Damned‘s highs and lows over the last forty years and he ends the interview with an impromptu rendition of one of his novelty pop songs, Wot. I could happily have listened to Captain Sensible for a lot longer, he remains one of punk’s true eccentrics and a unique individual, but the interview is over and more live music awaits.
Healthy Junkies are another band I’ve been meaning to catch since I reviewed their last album, Box Of Chaos. They don’t disappoint live, their set of energetic punk rock is well received, Nina Coulson delivers her vocals in her breathless and manic style that juxtaposes the crunching delivery that rest of the band deliver. Sadly I can’t stay for their full set as Louise Distras is playing her second set of the weekend, I’ve seen her live many times, but this will be the first time I have got to see her play with a full band. The transformation of her songs from the acoustic sets I’ve seen her play so often to her full band is stunning. Songs that were performed yesterday as heartfelt ballads are transformed into full blooded punk anthems, it’s a tribute to her songwriting that the material works so well in both styles. I can honestly say that this set was one of the highlights of the weekend.
Goldblade are playing their rabble rousing punk ‘n roll outside on the Tower Stage, their set coincides with an aerial display by Red Arrows aerobatic display team so you have the visual spectacle of formation jet fighters as background to their set. Despite the jet fighters a bare chested John Robb still easily wins in the volume stakes, he prowls the stage like a caged animal and as they close their set with Do You Believe In The Power of Rock ‘N Roll he leaves the stage and encourages those down the from to testify to this. From this point my plans go astray as there are so many fine bands playing simultaneously. Belfast’s The Defects play an outstanding set of full tilt punk rock in The Empress Ballroom and then it’s back outside to catch Citizen Fish playing their energetic politically sussed ska. Their infectious and energetic performance causes an outbreak of skanking towards the back of the audience despite this being the fourth day of the Rebellion Festival.
Dirt Box Disco have almost become an automatic choice to make an appearance at UK punk festivals, their set is comprised of their ever popular hard edged anthemic pop punk that is delivered with the mix of humour and visual spectacle. If they carry on as they are then it won’t be too long before you see Dirt Box Disco headlining festivals as they have filled the Tower Street stage to capacity and their is set is deliriously received. Back inside it’s time for a final lap of the stages, I catch Germany’s Bonsai Kitten playing a set of full tilt rockabilly inspired punk rock, and the scantily clad singer Tiger Lilly Marleen delivers her vocals with a snarl whilst she prowls and shimmys across the stage.
Over on the introducing stage, the much talked about Heavy Drapes play a set of old school inspired punk rock to a packed crowd, based on the reception they receive I can see them playing to a bigger audience next year. One of the biggest disappointments of the weekend is the fact that Street Dogs have cancelled their European tour dates, but fear not as Cocksparrer have stepped into the breach to deliver their ‘hangover set’ after they headlined Saturday Night, of course their anthemic street punk stylings are as well received as you’d expect.
At this point the blazing sunshine that has characterised the weekend gives way to the more usual British summertime and the heavens open and the wind and rain lash across Blackpool but this doesn’t deter either the crowd, or the bands. Incredible closing sets are delivered by Jello Biafra And The Guantanamo School of Medicine and Belfast’s finest, Stiff Little Fingers. I start to make my way home through the wind, rain and traffic jams, and if I’m honest I’m already counting the days until next year.
Blackpool is occasionally referred to as the Vegas of the North West, whilst I presume this is said by people who have never actually been to Las Vegas, Rebellion Festival has one thing in common with sin city, it is as busy in the early hours of the morning as it is during the day. I’m personally not a fan of Blackpool as a destination, it’s faded seaside grandeur and tackiness are usually something I would avoid, but for the four days of the Rebellion Festival there is nowhere on earth that I’d rather be.
It’s not just the music that makes this such a special weekend, everyone seems to be friendly, friendships are made and renewed throughout the weekend in what has become an international punk festival. It’s not just the bands that have come from almost all corners of the world, the Rebellion Festival is a truly multinational affair, everywhere you go there are different languages and accents, it has become a magnet for the punk community and on the basis of the turnout the punk movement is clearly still alive and well. Every review of the Rebellion Festival you read will be different, there is so much to see, hear and do that everyone’s experience will be unique.
If you can attend this four day celebration of punk then you should, as there is nothing else like it on earth.
Tickets for the 2017 Rebellion Festival, that takes place between the 3rd and 6th of August 2017, can be ordered here
Photography by Dod Morrison
Picturedrome, Holmfirth, UK22nd July 2016
By AJ Phink
Tonight Stiff Little Fingers are playing the Picturedrome, this is a venue that lies in the heart of the picturesque Yorkshire town of Holmfirth, it might seem like an unlikely setting for a live venue, even more so for a punk concert, but over the years this venue has established itself as one of the best live venues in the UK and is an almost certain destination of many bands tour schedules. Stiff Little Fingers current line up has been stable for the last ten years and features two original members, bassist Ali McCordie and of course, the only ever present member of the band, frontman and guitarist Jake Burns, who are complimented by long term, members guitarist Ian McCallum and drummer Steve Grantley.
Louise Distras opens tonight’s proceedings, she is playing a solo acoustic set that mainly features stripped down versions of the songs that populated her acclaimed debut album, Dreams From The Factory Floor. Initially she plays to a sparsely populated Picturedrome, but as she plays her heartfelt powerful songs, it’s clear that her set is well received as the crowd swiftly swells, drawing in people who have been enjoying the late evening sunshine outside the venue. She delivers her politically sussed lyrics with venom and her compositions aren’t tamed by being played acoustically. Amongst the set we also get treated to some of her new material, that will hopefully be seeing release later this year, and the new songs sound as strong as those which came before.
Louise Distras plays a set that features songs of heartbreak and of social injustice, these are both delivered with equal passion, her powerful and emotive vocals ring out across the venue, and as all the doors in the venue are open as the Picturedrome is already approaching boiling point, across the town of Holmfirth. Louise Distras is one of the most promising singer songwriters in the UK, she can deliver silky smooth vocals, but she can equally spit venom with barely restrained fury. Every time I’ve seen her play I’ve been impressed with her commitment and passion, and if you want to hear someone who captures the essence of the defiant spirit of punk then you need look no further than Louise Distras.
Following Louise Distras set the Picturedrome swiftly fills to capacity, Stiff Little Fingers have accrued a die hard following over their almost four decade long career, whilst much of the audience is over forty it’s heartening to see the crowd contains a healthy number of young faces, and there are also a few parents who have bought their children along for tonight’s show, so the next generation of punks are also present. A dub heavy set of music precedes the traditional and familiar strains of Go Fot It that indicates that Stiff Little Fingers set is imminent, the packed crowd sing out the guitar riff and as it fades out an almighty cheer greets Belfast’s finest as they take the stage.
They open with Wasted Life, immediately the audience is singing along to every word of tonight’s breakneck run through Stiff Little Fingers extensive back catalogue, which continues unabated with Fade Away and Roots, Radicals, Rockers And Reggae. Jake Burns announces that the next song is dedicated to Simon Cowell, the man responsible for the bland offerings of the X Factor, he states “five young boys doing backflips does not constitute a rock ‘n roll band” prior to them launching into Guitar And Drum. Nobody’s Hero is of course well received but the biggest cheer of the night is reserved for Barbed Wire Love, the idea of a breakdown in a punk song into a fifties rock ‘n roll style has often been copied, by bands such as The Vandals and Masked Intruder, but it has never been bettered than in this incendiary number.
The tempo is briefly brought down for Listen, and Doesn’t Make It Alright is dedicated to the memory of John Bradbury, the drummer from The Specials who sadly passed away at the end of 2015. When they play Silver Lining it sounds better than ever, as it’s now shorn of the horn section and over production that the original recording featured. Guilty As Sin is dedicated to those that stood up and spoke about the sexual abuse of children by priests. Wait And See continues the near perfect set list and Strummerville is dedicated to the memory of The Clash’s much missed frontman Joe Strummer. When My Dark Places is played Jake Burns is frank and open about the battles with depression he’s experienced.
The career spanning set keeps the capacity crowd active and vocal throughout, as Fly The Flag is played I notice that the movement amongst the crowd, people are bouncing, dancing and singing throughout the venue, even those who have stayed near the bar. Jake Burns seems to be a born raconteur and he provides insights into the origin of songs throughout the set, he introduces When We Were Young as being inspired by a meeting with the late Phil Lynott when both Stiff Little Fingers and Thin Lizzy had split up. An extended introduction leads into Tin Soldiers and the temperature continues to rise and when the classic Suspect Device, their debut single from 1979, is played the roof is practically raised at the Picturedrome
Stiff Little Fingers leave the stage and the crowd is left baying for more, everyone is dripping with sweat, even the bar staff and the merchandise seller are visibly wilting, as the Picturedrome has now developed a furnace like temperature due to the exuberant energy of tonight’s crowd. The band return after only a brief moment and launch into an encore of Gotta Gettaway, of course Alternative Ulster inevitably closes the set in fine defiant form. This is a band that remains as relevant and rebellious as ever as they approach their 40th anniversary. I wish I could say that their songs aren’t relevant anymore and they are songs from darker times, given the current political situation in the UK you could argue that they are as, if not more, relevant than ever.
Tonight’s show was a near perfect meeting of punks incendiary past and it’s defiant and hopeful future that anyone who attended will not forget for a long time. Both Stiff Little Fingers and Louise Distras will be playing this years Rebellion Festival, and if you’re lucky enough to be attending then I would recommend catching both of them live.
Stiff Little Fingers website can be found here
You can visit Louise Distras‘s website here
The Holmfirth Picturedrome‘s homepage can be found here
Live Photography is by Paul Husband, Paul is an award winning Manchester based photographer, his website can be found here
Yorkshire protest punk singer/songwriter Louise Distras has announced her first shows for 2015. She recently finished a sting playing alongside legendary Belfast punk outfit Stiff Little Fingers, and is still out on the road in support of her debut record, Dreams From The Factory Floor, released back in 2013 via Street Revolution Records.
Check out her winter 2015 dates below.
Punk legends Stiff Little Fingers have announced plans for a new UK tour this spring in anticipation for their new album, No Going Back, due out in April 2014.
Having formed in 1977 in Belfast, Ireland, the band released a two song single in November of that year featuring “Suspect Device” and “Wasted Life” on their own Rigid Digits label, and sent a copy to BBC Radio One DJ John Peel, who started playing it every night.
In 1979 they became the first band ever to hit the UK top 20 album charts on an independent label with their debut Inflammable Material. They’ve released eight more albums since then with No Going Back being their tenth record – and first since 2003’s Guitar and Drum.
UK tour dates are posted below. Read More…
Dropkick Murphys have expanded their Sham Rock’N’ Roll Festival with a date in Providence, RI on September 16th at The Whiskey Republic (21+).
Dates for their full touring festival, featuring Stiff Little Fingers, Street Dogs, Chuck Ragan, The Mahones, and The Parkington Sisters, can be seen below.