Following on from their award-winning residency at Madame Jo-Jo's in Soho, FFRUK's Reggae Punk Mondays moves across Tottenham Court Road to the 12 Bar club, to continue its eclectic mix of live and spinning sounds.
Week One sees a full house for the first acoustic performance from RUTS DC in 37 years! Prior to which we get FUDGE, the singer from Cambridge's Freedom Faction kicking off the action with a solo set, following the band's van malfunction.
Now Wave nuclear Londoners THE DUEL follow with an updated set, incorporating songs from their forthcoming "Raging War" album, as well as back-catalogue classics "Way London Used To Be", "Camden Town" and a groove-ridden "When The Fire Goes Out".
At first thought Ruts DC/Ruts material isn't the first thing you'd think of that could be played acoustically and maybe that's why they've never done it before! Still nothing to worry about as the punk classics "Backbiter", "West One (Shine On Me)", "Babylon's Burning", "Something That I Said", "Staring At The Rude Boys" and encore "In A Rut" easily shared shoulders with the latter reggae/dub influenced songs from "Animal Now and "Rhythm Collision Vols I and II", including best song of the night, the rootsy "Mighty Soldier", but sadly no "Jah War", which to these ears would have been the perfect anarchic acoustic track to have finished with, but that's a minor point to the great success of FFRUK's first night, which saw the biggest crowd at the 12 Bar for many a long Monday and a bar you had to fight your way to! Also nice to see Spizz (Spizz Energi...etc) and Esso (The Lurkers) in attendance.
And so to Week Two and again the curse of the opening act as original choice "Will Sid Smith" was replaced by "Joe Ham" due to illness, but that's no loss as Joe's bittersweet songs of redemption fill the heart, making him the ideal opener, setting the evening off on the right note.
Next up, we get the left-field groove-train of post-punkers riot-assembly, that is ANARCHISTWOOD! You can only describe the band as a cross between P.I.L and Gang of Four with a Banshee on lead vocals and we're not talking Siouxsie either, although I did prefer the band with their topless drummer over her replacement!
As this residency is shared by THE DUEL, we again experience Tara Rez's endearing vocals on another solid-set of tracks from the "Raging War" sessions, together with oldies but goodies "Jump" and "You Can Do It" to name but two.
DAVE KUSWORTH is almost the forgotten man of garage punk trashy rock'n'roll, after emerging from the Midlands of England back in the mists of time! His pedigree includes Dogs D'Amour as well as achieving a fair amount of success with Swell Map, Nikki Sudden in The Jacobites, whilst touting his Keith Richards gunslinger guitar-work to various projects. "Deliverence" opens, followed by "Big Store" before the band draw into Mr Kusworth's roots with a nicotine taking, whiskey-reeking "Brown Sugar". "Hooked To Your Heart" and "Head Used To Lay" rock it out before "Lady Lady" and "Furnace", bring proceedings to a great finale.
Yep FFRUK's Reggae Punk Nights are truly making Monday the new Friday Night!!!