First up tonight are The Professionals, yeah that band with Paul Cook from the Sex Pistols. We get a furious forty-five minutes of no-nonsense punk rock. The band kick off with `Join The Professionals’ before we get a few cuts from the band`s last release “What In The World” including the anthemic ‘Good Man Down’, wonderful ‘Rewind’, ‘Bad Baby’, ‘Hats Off` and their tribute to the late David Bowie with ‘Going, Going Gone’ A few oldies are thrown in for good measure with `Kick Down The Doors`, ‘123’ and `Just Another Dream` and a couple of Sex Pistols covers with ‘Silly Thing’ and Lonely Boy` before they close the show out with another song from the last album with the energetic ‘Let Go’. The current line up on this tour are Paul Cook (vocals/drums), Chris McCormack (guitar), Tom Spencer (vocals/guitar) and Toshi JC (bass) and all seem to be relishing being on the road.
It`s not too long before Ruts DC arrive on stage to celebrate `40 years of The Crack` a nod to their debut album release of September 1979. It`s been well documented that two of the original members, guitarist Paul Fox and lead singer Malcolm Owen are no longer with us but today`s line up still includes founders John ‘Segs’ Jennings (bass) and David Ruffy (drums) who are accompanied by long term member Leigh Heggarty (guitar). There aren`t too many albums from forty years ago that still stand the test of time and I can`t see many of today`s disposable bands showcasing one of theirs` in four decade’s time. John H Howard`s superb backdrop is prevalent behind the drums and the police sirens are ringing as the expectation level of the faithful is turned up to red as we all know that this means, that we are about to share the pivotal `Babylon’s Burning` The boys don`t hang around before it`s `Dope For Guns`, the churning `SUS` and sublime `Something That I Said` I have to say you really forget what a cracking album this is until you get reacquainted with blistering and underrated classics such as `You`re Just A..` and `Savage Circle` The wonderfully reggae classic `Jah War` written about the Metropolitan` Police`s Special Patrol Group violence in the Southall disturbances in April 1979 brings back a glimpse of those punk era times. The fifty odd minutes of this pivotal album are closed out with the blazing `Human Punk` before a short gap when Ruffy leaves his kit to talk to us all about how hard they have worked to play this album for us and I remember reading that this is the first time the fellas have played this album in all it`s glory.
Tonight, continues with a few more recent tracks blended with some older favourites. The title track of the last release, the anthemic `Music Must Destroy` blasts out before the sublime `West One` is sandwiched between it and another cut from said album, the catchy `Kill The Pain` We get an immense version of `In A Rut` as `Psychic Attack` and `H Eyes` are quickly shared before an extended version of `Love in Vain which slips into a cover of Junior Murvin`s `Police and Thieves` This evening`s event is closed out with, what I’m sure most people want to hear `Staring At The Rude Boys` and the place erupts. The trio take their deserved bows before we shuffle of into a cold Birmingham night. I have to say that reflecting back I thoroughly enjoyed tonight`s gig. I think that my immediate thoughts were overcome with nostalgic reminiscence and emotion. I`ve been lucky enough to see Ruts DC four times in the last three years and this was an outstanding show from this trio of stunning musicians. This anniversary tour is too good an opportunity not to attend, miss at your peril.