If there’s bands called Prodigal Scum and Skiffle is involved, then there’s a fair chance it’ll be MV’s Damian reviewing it. Read on
First up tonight is Birmingham’s Premier Skiffle Punk band, albeit in a field of one according to their Facebook profile, The Prodigal Scum. The band are fronted by Peter Byrchmore (The Nightingales, The Membranes, Goldblade, UK Subs), aided by Abi on washboard, Marie on piano accordion, John on double bass and usually Simon on guitar but as he`s on holiday, we get Keith Owen who was a member of Birmingham`s first punk band Suburban Studs but more recently local Rhythm and Blues outfit The Atlantic Players. The troupe are tagged as pioneers of Skufflebilly, where the very essence of the 50s’ DIY music explosion is dragged backwards through musical hedges. We get a well-received set with includes some wonderfully roguish songs such as “My Dad`s Bigger Than Your Dad!”, Redemption Snog”, “Prodigal Scum” and I think “Broken Heart Rules”. We have a tribute to George Formby with a tune that sounded like “Breaking All The Rules” before the band close out the set with a couple of audience participation songs to finish off with, ending with “Riot, Riot.” The have an album called “Filthy Steps” which on the strength of tonight, is well worth checking out.
Next up is Preston`s finest Evil Blizzard, who usually comprise a singing drummer, four bassists, a man with a mop and a Blizzpig but with the perils of the M6 on a Friday, the boys are a little short tonight and seem to have five members on stage. The group wear obscure masks and outfits and look quite menacing akin to extras in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. They kick off the set with the wonderful “Clones” before gifting us with “Sacrifice” and “Unleash the Misery” songs that are have sonic grooves and unrelenting weirdness, are at times repetitive but delightfully hypnotic. “Fast Forward Rewind” is introduced as a disco inspired tune that we can dance to. Hawkwind`s vocalist and keyboard player Mr Dibs joins the guys and it`s into “Slimy Creatures.” With Side`s vocals almost abstract in a wall of sound.The set ends with the quite unnerving “Are You Evil?” If I had to describe the sound I’d say a mix of Black Sabbath, Hawkwind and The Fall. The band deliver sinister psychedelic rock that will melt your mind and soul. You have been warned.
Well there`s little fuss as tonight`s headliner`s take to the stage. We could get caught up in history but that would be doing a disservice to the boys that now play under the name of Ruts DC. A quick recap of events. The band formed in 1977 with Malcolm Owen, Paul Fox, David Ruffy and John “Segs” Jennings.
Sadly, Malcolm passed away in 1980 from a heroin overdose and Paul in 2007 from lung cancer.
Their contribution can never be forgotten but as they say life goes on and the band today comprises the remaining originals David Ruffy on drums and John “Segs” Jennings on bass, ably abetted by Leigh Heggarty on guitar.
The rocky “Vox Teardrop” kicks us off before the superb “S.U.S.” Then it`s time for “No Time To Kill” and the cracking reggae “Mighty Soldier” What I love is that the band have always written politically but never in a preachy way. They seem to share their message with a very danceable tune. Highlighted with the two tracks just shared. A couple of tracks from 1979`s release `The Crack` comes next with the atmospheric “It Was Cold” where you can almost feel the chill and the hostile “BackBiter” with lyrics of `backbiter you`re a loser, backbiter you’re a user` being spat out.
Three tracks from last year`s critically acclaimed release ` Music Must Destroy` follow with “Peace Bomb”, “Surprise” and anthemic title track “Music Must Destroy”.
The place erupts as the guys tear into “Staring at the Rude Boys” and then mellow out the faithful with a couple of reggae vibes with “Love in Vain” merged with Junior Murvin`s “Police and Thieves” and then “Jah War”. Segs introduces it as we`ve had songs about Heroin and fighting so here`s one about rioting.
The set is closed out with two more cuts from last year’s release with the driving “Kill the Pain” and garage rock “Psychic Attack” with the classics of “In a Rut” and “ Babylon`s Burning” sandwiched in between.
Mr Ruffy is reluctant to leave the stage as he has a funny leg so leads the crowd in a chant to encourage the other two guys return to the stage.
We get teased with the opening bars of “West One (Shine On Me)” and I’m a little worried that it`s just a teaser but no thankfully the fellas do play it. “Something That I Said” gets an airing and the guys finish with the head down no-nonsense boogie of “Society.” The boys leave the stage to rapturous applause from an audience who are completely exhausted.
This was an outstanding show from a trio of stunning musicians. Cheers Guys.