Back in Portsmouth, this – and I hate to use the term – punk supergroup more than ably show there’s life in the old dogs yet.
The line-up is flexible, changing like chameleon skin. This time around Dead Men Walking are: Kirk Brandon, chief gunslinger of Theatre of Hate, Stiff Little Fingers’ sharpshooter Jake Burns, and the commando force of Segs Jennings and Dave Ruffy of The Ruts.
Together, the foursome provide strange, fascinating acoustic versions conjured from their long, diverse careers.
The potential for a cynical, pension top-up Punkstock is blown wide apart. They draw on the best of their careers, aiding and abetting each other like a gang.
More than the sum of the parts, they revel in reinvention and, above all, true belief in themselves and their art.
The high spot of the night was Love In Vain, written by original Ruts’ vocalist Malcolm Owen about his ultimately fatal opiate addiction. Somehow hearing such harsh songs stripped bare made the evening almost too intimate and moving to bear. JIM CRUTTENDEN