Picture this – I’m in dark basement, that doubles up as a bar, in a city I’ve never been to. Behold Manchester’s The Ruby Lounge. The venue reminds me of the kind of place my Dad may have gone to see a punk band when he was my age, or younger.
Generally speaking, I don’t particularly like hip-hop or rap (y’know…other than Eminem and odd track here and there by various artists) because I think a lot of the more recent stuff is, well, meaningless. And that isn’t just hip-hop or rap. I really struggle to find meaning behind the majority of modern music. Don’t get me wrong – every so often an artist comes a long and surprises me. They create music that means something, and I do on occasions hear a song that I like just because it’s fun to dance to, or the lyrics are nice.
For an artist to make an impact on me, they have to appear to have talent. Their music has to be meaningful and somehow relate to real life issues. By real life issues, I don’t mean broken hearts or falling in love. I mean problems with society, really issues in the world. That sort of thing.
That’s why punk music and old rock n roll music is my favorite, particularly The Sex Pistols. The lyrics “No future, no future for you” is just one example. They were singing to a youth that had nothing, and they were right. I look at today’s youth and just think “how did this happen?”
Anyway, I’m getting sidetracked… that is a blog for another day.
On this night – Wednesday, 16th of October – I am at The Ruby Lounge with my boyfriend to see, I guess the correct term is, a Hip-Hop duo. Dan Le Sac VS Scroobius Pip to be precise.
What I love most about this venue is that it’s size. It’s small, and because of this, you feel close to the act that you’re seeing. You feel like you’re part of something.
The duo were fantastic. They give off a refreshing confidence. Their words have meaning. They clearly love their fans. And they are hilarious.
I loved each song they performed, but my favorites included:
- Nightbus Sleepers – This one isn’t for any particular reason, but just because I enjoyed the lyrics.
- Stunner – Again, I really love the lyrics for this one.
- Magician’s Assistant – We listened to this in the car on the way to Manchester. My boyfriend told me not to worry, they probably won’t do it. They did. It had me close to tears in The Ruby Lounge. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way about it. You see, a few years ago on boxing day, a friend phoned me to tell me that a guy from school had killed himself. For the first few years of comprehensive school, I had to sit next to this guy in almost every lesson. When I didn’t I still spoke to him all the time. I had even walked past in town on Christmas Eve. Because of this event in my life, I found this song particularly moving, and also a perfect way to describe how I feel about it. I know that there are many people who have suffered a great deal from his choice. Suicide effects the people that are left behind in an incredibly awful way. I don’t understand it but “It’s your life, your body, your sister, your parents, your friends, and your partner
So you can choose what you do. And if one day you can’t rein it in, And of your last breath you are the only witness,
Then fuck everybody else cause that ain’t something you’ve got to live with”, right?
- Fixed – This one stands out because I love the message it sends about modern music, and basically how crap it can be. What’s different about it? What’s good about it? “But how many have the skill to inspire and thrill me?” Oh and I really love the opening! I challenge anyone not to…
- Get Better – Anyone who has heard this and is reading this blog will understand why I love this one. It speaks about kids and part of the problem that is causing this offensive dangerous youth we seem to have. I see some children and I’m disgusted with how they behave; how they don’t seem to care about any kind of future or what effects they have on the world. Then I see what they have to live with and feel sorry for them.
- Letter From God To Man – Again, from what i’ve said already I’m sure it’s obvious why I liked this one. What you don’t know though is that I believe in a God, but I don’t really follow a religion, for many reasons and I think that this is partially what this song is about – God is God, he/she is not a religion. Why should we be punished for loving someone, or for thinking differently? It’s pretty powerful.
- Thou Shalt Always Kill – Obviously. This was the first DLSVSSP song I heard because my boyfriend – who had seen them in York 5 or 6 years ago – decided he wanted us to see them together and played it for me and I fell for them straight away. There are many reasons why I love this which I’m going to discuss below.
How I love thee, Let me count the ways –
- “Thou shalt not take the names of Johnny Cash, Joe Strummer, Johnny Hartman, Desmond Dekker, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix or Syd Barrett in vain.” This is for all of the musically challenged people who claim to never have heard of these people, or Elvis, or any number of the most influetial muscians ever to have walked the earth. I wore a Joe Strummer vest to this gig…something I was dubious about doing, but I couldn’t resist.
- “Thou shalt not stop liking a band just because they’ve become popular” Stand up for yourself.
- “Thou shalt not fall in love so easily.” If love happens easily, then it’s not real.
- “Thou shalt not attend an open mic and leave as soon as you’ve done your shitty little poem or song you self-righteous prick.” You know the whole what goes around comes around… support others if you think you deserve to be supported.
- “The Sex Pistols: Just a band. The Clash: Just a band.” I’m sorry guys, but this I disagree with. What you might not realize is that (to me anyway) you are The Sex Pistols of our time. You are The Clash of our time. Why? Because you give us something to believe in. You say what other people are scared to say. And you don’t do it in an ironic “I’m trying to fit in” kind of way. You do it in a “please pay attention and so something to change yourselves” kind of way. It’s inspiring. You are inspiring.
- “Thou shalt think for yourselves.” This is what it’s all about. This is what the world needs. Someone to say that there’s nothing wrong with thinking for yourself. If you don’t wanna stand in a bus stop drinking cheap cider and doing things you don’t want to do, and are only doing because the popular girl says you should, then don’t. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying poetry, books and art. There’s nothing wrong with being smart and doing things for yourself. But don’t behave like all the other generic copy cats who don’t have a braincell between them!
I loved the show. Afterwards Dan Le Sac walked out amongst all of us. I pointed him out to my boyfriend, who – and this was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen – just walked up to him, shook his hand and walked away. I was blown away by his calm, cool collective. It was amazing. He said I’d introduced them. I’m not sure about that…
There was the option to meet them both, get photos, etc which I didn’t do but the fact that they were willing to be in the same room as their fans was awesome enough and speaks volumes. It reminds me of my Dad meeting The Clash and buying them all brown ale…but that’s a story for another day.
The night was atmospheric, and just generally amazing.
I just wish they’d done Porter because that’s possibly my favorite off Repent, Replenish, Repeat.
Now I would just like to say one final thing –
Dear Daniel and David,
Thanks for truly entertaining night. Must do it again sometime. I hope you really do believe the things written in your songs. I know I do.
All the best for your next tour and, you know, your general day to day lives.