(review n pix by paul scouse git)
Many years ago I was a spotty young teenager bouncing around my bedroom dancing to the Damned’s ‘New Rose’, ‘Love Song’ & ‘Just Can’t be happy today, just to name a few. It’s 35 long years to be precise. Yes I’m older now, and so too are The Damned.
Sometimes you forget how your heroes age with you because you think of them still being immortally young, just like they looked on the old single and album picture sleeves. Yes those were the days of coloured vinyl records and fantastic fold out colour covers. I was talking with the Captain about it before the gig, saying how the industry had changed. “There’s no record shops anymore” he said and he’s right. A band makes it’s money in the live arena selling merchandise these days.
The Damned are right on the button with a nice big merchandise stall, plus a new added extra… Tonight’s show is being recorded and will be available on a double Cd as soon as the gig ends….Wow!….Still it will cost you £20! Hell, I decided to take a gamble on it!
We managed to get on the guest list courtesy of my better half Zoe (Vagabonds), who had been commissioned to design and make the clothes for Captain Sensible for this tour. (He’d bought the now famous ‘Zombie’ top from her stall at Whitby earlier this year when the band headlined at Whitby Gothic Weekend). She was asked to design two outfits, one for the US and one for the UK. The US being a ‘Lord Fontleroy’ ensemble complete with skull and cross bones back design. For the UK it was a replica of the fabulous fur suit made famous on the sleeve of ‘Smash It Up’.
After a chat with Cap we were ushered through to the VIP balcony to watch the show. This was a great viewpoint and also more suitable for me these days in my incapacitated state. Walking stick and a Red Bull- bring it on!
We endured the support Viv Albertine, formerly of The Slits, who was playing solo with an electric guitar. It didn’t work for me and was more painful than my dodgy back!
Looking down on the crowd it was a real mixed bag of young and old punks. The older ones- obviously long time loyal followers stood with the young and curious, waiting to hear and see The First Ever ‘Punk’ Band. Tonight the band weren’t here to play a greatest hits show, as this was for the 1st time ever the band performing two iconic albums in their entirety, namely ‘Damned Damned Damned’ & ‘The Black Album’.
The band ripped through the first set, opening with ‘Neat Neat Neat’ then banging their way through the rest of the albums classic tracks. Of course the captain was always gonna be hot in that suit and he dropped his pants mid set to cool his arse on a nearby fan! (Apparently he had timed the first half of the show at 29 minutes, as this was how long he had to endure the heat of the suit!)
The band then took a quick breather to change, and re- appeared to perform The Black Album. The Damned play as a 5 piece these days, with only Dave Vanian and The Captain remaining from the original line up. However the three other members compliment them superbly with Pinch now on the drums, Stu on bass, and the mad, mad, Monty OxyMoron on keyboards. I say `mad’ because he wasn’t actually playing much in the 1st set but danced around like the proverbial lunatic to compensate. ‘Dad dancing gone crazy, and excellent to watch!
This second set opened with ‘Wait For The Blackout’, and again we were treated to the entire album. ‘Curtain Call’ was nothing less than epic! Other highlights were ‘Drinking About My Baby’ and ‘Hit or Miss’.
Four more songs in the encore plus the usual rendition of ‘Sensible`s A Wanker’ and it was over. What a blast!
I eventually limped my way through the outgoing crowd to the Cd collection point and, this is where I was amazed at the set up of rows and rows of computers, burning off copies of the Cd for the waiting crowd. Yes, the Damned are very much up to date with technology and still going strong after 35 years! Now, who would like to bet on a 50th anniversary tour? Even Mr Sensible added they would probably be selling zimmer frames on the merchandise stall!………No final curtain call for a long while yet!
Set List :-
Neat Neat Neat
Born To Kill
Stab Your Back
See Her Tonight
1 of 2
So Messed Up
I Feel Alright
Wait For The Blackout
Silly Kids Games
Drinking About My Baby
Hit Or Miss
Dr Jeckyll & Mr Hyde
Sick Of This & That
History Of The World
13th Floor Vendetta
Smash It Up.
(2 Cd set available from www.officialdamned.com )
More video at – www.youtube.com/psstcontrol