(review n shite pix by neil crud)
We’ve been crying now for much too long, ain’t never gonna dance to a different song, I’m gonna scream and shout ’til my dying breath, I’m gonna smash it up ’til there’s nothing left.
Those lyrics are the personification of many a childhood and many of us have carried it on to today. I scanned this ram packed and sweaty venue (far more here than PiL a coupla months ago), and wondered how many actually have never danced to a different song?
Many will be here tonight as a treat; a step back in time, a chance to momentarily leave their drab existence behind and relive those wild days again while the wife is down the road at the GMex watching some nobodies doing karaoke. Nowt wrong with that, but how many here actually go out and seek new music? Y’see, I’ve sometimes been indirectly accused of living in the past and harping on about the good old days, and reviewing The Damned is nothing short of a nostalgic trip. Wrong and wrong – I love new music, just been loving the new Gallops album, and listening to Y Niwl in session (again) on Marc Riley’s 6music show. Also, The Damned have not rested on their back catalogue like some bands; they have released one of their finest albums in Grave Disorder and followed it up with (the not as finest) So Who’s Paranoid (although it does have some splendid moments), long after they were considered a ‘current’ band.
With tonight’s date etched on the calendar some months ago, it was a christmas bonus to learn that the Dickies were also on the bill; a band I had resigned to never seeing as the years flashed by. Although Phil Newall did warn me that I’d’ve been better off going to the Rebellion Xmas bash in Birmingham as I’ve seen The Damned a zillion times and the Dickies were a let down last time he saw them.
Although tempting, it was a box that needed ticking, and a big tick is what the lanky Leonard and friends gave me. Despite the PA facing the throngs below and not really hearing the vocals from our privelidged balcony vantage point, it was a joy to experience all those singles I’ve loved and cherished over the years, all those coloured vinyls… From the opening festivity of Silent Night (white vinyl), the wonderful Fan Mail (red vinyl and fold out poster), the excellently delivered Paranoid (clear vinyl and better than Sabbath), Nights In White Satin (white vinyl, great sleeve), Gigantor (yellow vinyl), the fucking truly brilliant Eve of Destruction (red vinyl), Manny, Moe & Jack (pink vinyl) and of course, Banana Splits (in black vinyl, if you’re a real record collector!!). Those singles, mainly cover versions that were raped and pillaged, of course made up most of this 100mph set, as The Dickies ransacked their repertoire. Great to also hear You Drive Me Ape, Bedrock Barney, Got It At The Store and the truly excellent and almost West Side Story-esq Midgets Revenge. Accompanied by various props that included puppets and a blow up doll and a sense of humour lost on all of us when they did break for a breather, it was a filip for everyone and left us happy to be stuck in a pagoda with Tricia Toyota.
I’m trying to think if I’ve done a Damned christmas show before? And yes, it was ten years ago to the day that I write this, in Llandudno – it was a flat night because the sound in that shit room was, well, shit. Although we did get to hear There Ain’t No Sanity Clause. We were of course treated to that festive song tonight, ten years on, but there was a lot of stuff to get through before then; like the opening Under The Wheels, nothing to do with Alice Cooper and a lot to do with the latest album ‘So Who’s Paranoid.’ That song, which I hummed, whistled and sang for the rest of the week, was the sole representative of this album, from which, nothing was played last time I saw them. Vanian, Sensible, Pinch, Stu and Monty meant business tonight, Noise Noise Noise, the heinously underrated Rabid Over You, Neat Neat Neat, probably one of my all time favourite songs Stranger On The Town, which sounded as powerful live as it does on Strawberries.
Songs that didn’t make it tonight were I Just Can’t Be Happy Today, History of The World, Wait For The Blackout, Disco Man, Limit Club, Thanks For The Night, Nasty, Under The Floor, I Fall, So Messed Up, Melody Lee, Dozen Girls, W, Is It A Dream, Eloise, Street of Dreams, Would You Be So Hot, Amen, Little Miss Disaster, for which I can forgive them, such is the sheer quality of their work, but they’re a bunch of bastards for leaving out Plan 9 Channel 7…
Captain Sensible was on form, suggesting we all fuck Gary Barlow and his X-Factor fuckwits, as apparently the X-Factor final was being held up the road. He also paid tribute to people who had earlier protested in Manchester at the Tory fucks destroying the NHS.
I’m not too sure of the running order but the rest of it went something like, Anti-Pope, She, Love Song, Grimly Fiendish, Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde, White Rabbit, New Rose, Democracy, Sanity Clause, Ignite. They came back on for Looking At You and Lovely Money (which didn’t really work despite their lament to the late Vivian Stanshall) – and, despite crying now for far too long, it’s quite obvious that we’re never gonna dance to a different song and we were invited to Smash It Up ’til there was nothing left.