Went to Finsbury Park in London to see The Damned celebrate their 10th anniversary. A great show that started around midnght last night when the National Coach driver refused to let us on; even though we’d booked tickets, because we were punks. This is how the story unfolded…
Myself, my sister Emma, Ade Brunskill, Helen The Hair, Wayne The Bastard and Edi Filmstar stood there in our punk attire as the coach pulled up, the doors swung open and the driver took one look at us and flatly refused to let us on the coach!
’But we’ve got tickets!’ – he wouldn’t be budged, we weren’t getting on his coach and that was final. They call it judging a book by the cover, and we were the pages he didn’t want to read. There wasn’t much we could do, violence would’ve proved this bigot’s presumption right and landed us in the cells and not in London, so we sloped back to the House of Crud and regrouped.
Thankfully, Helen had a credit card and she forked out for train tickets; we would fight National Express for our money back later, but first we had a gig to get to. I think it was only Helen who managed to get any sleep on the journey down, the rest of us were pretty much cream crackered by the time we emerged into the London sunshine. Today was all about The Damned, a band I loved so much, enough to have their name tattooed onto my wrist next to a flaming love heart! I’ve since had it lasered off, but my love has not diminished; although it has been tested with the latest album! The Damned were all things to me through my teenage years, my mates were not into them in school, preferring Sham 69, or Crass, or the Oi! Scene – I too went along with all that, but it was Mr Vanian, Sensible, Scabies et al who always topped my charts.
This Finsbury Park gig was over two days and rumours were rife that the two years departed Captain Sensible would be making a guest appearance. He did, but we got the wrong day, and despite the hopes of 20,000 people chanting the old chestnut, ‘Sensible’s a wanker’ he didn’t show on our day. We were however treated to a superb opening, Plan 9 Channel 7 was orchestrated before blasting into the full song and we all went bananas! Lot’s of ‘newer’ stuff was played, Eloise, Street of Dreams, Is It a Dream, new tracks off the forthcoming disappointing ‘Anything’ album. I remember Limit Club (love that song), Stranger on The Town, then the finale of LA Woman, Smash It Up (the whole tent erupted) and Love Song. The encore, I think, was Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde, followed by New Rose and ending with Lust For Life.
The opening band were Electric Bluebirds, I don’t recall much of these, although The Proclaimers seem to spring to mind, followed by the rockabilly Restless. Wayne’s interest in psychobilly bands had dragged us to many gigs and to many albums, with the likes of King Kurt and Guana Batz being favourites, but Restless were pretty mediocre.
Dr and The Medics however, were far from mediocre… The drummer got up on stage and started with a great beat, soon followed by the guitarist and bassist as they formed an ace riff, then The Anadin Brothers alighted the stage with their unique dance moves, before The Doctor himself (or Clive Jackson as he was called in school) appeared and had everyone in the audience in the palm of his hand. The attention he commanded was immense, the perfect MC, the ultimate band leader, the conductor, The Doctor!
We had their Happy But Twisted EP in our collection and would soon be buying their Laughing at The Pieces debut album, from which, most of their set was made up. I do recall a rubbish version of Paranoid, and then an apology for making it to No.1 with Spirit in The Sky – The Doctor then announced that ‘This is the way it should’ve been played’ and they launched into a much better sped up version that kept the majority of punks happy in pogoville.
Set: Plan 9 Channel 7, Anything, Neat Neat Neat, Stranger On The Town, Is It A Dream, The Girl Goes Down, Wait For The Blackout, Limit Club, I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night), Restless, The Shadow of Love, Eloise, Street of Dreams, LA Woman. encore1 – Smash It Up, Love Song. encore2 – Dr. Jekyll & Mr Hyde, New Rose, Lust For Life.