The Damned, Koko Camden – live review

The Damned

The Damned
Koko, London
February 16th, 2018

The Damned finished their UK Evil Spirits tour in London with a gig that fans are guaranteed to remember for a long time, with words by Sophie Sparham and photos by Svenja Block.

It’s a cold night in Camden and outside Koko goths and punks, young and old are gathering to see The Damned.

For those who haven’t been to a Damned gig, the show is a unique experience. The Damned are one of the those bands that defy genre boundaries, labels and the usual tropes that come with playing rock and roll. The combination of Dave Vanian’s gothic vocal mixed with Captain Sensible’s punk ‘could care less’ attitude and the tight playing of the band is what makes for an excellent night.

The Damned

However,  what really make a Damned gig is the audience. The band’s super fan, Jonno, stands at the merch station adjusting his red beret. “This is over my 1000th gig he says. “74 and still a punk rocker.” He’s doing well.

The energy that comes off fans, both old and young is indescribable. As The Damned take to the stage and kick into ‘Waiting for the Black’ the crowd erupt; singing, dancing, throwing their arms around one another. No matter what show you attend, the sense of community amongst fans is always there.  In fact, there’s so much love amongst Damned fans, that Koko had to be added as an extra tour date just to accommodate them.

The Damned play a range of fan favourites including ‘Lively Arts’ ‘New Rose’, ‘Love Song’ and of course ‘Eloise’, mixed with some great gothic numbers. The band really seemed to be enjoying themselves tonight. Captain Sensible cracks jokes whilst Vanian’s tailcoat wafts about the stage as he sings.

They also air tracks from the new album, ‘Evil Spirits’. Both ‘Devil in Disguise’ and ‘Evil Spirits’ go down a treat amongst fans. With catchy riffs and choruses, making the anticipation for the new album grow.

The Damned

The Damned finish their set with not just one, but two encores; combing the well-loved ‘Smash it Up’ with covers such as ‘Jet Boy Jet Girl’. As they leave the stage, fans emerge into the cold night’s air, as though they’ve just left a family reunion.

And in a way they have.

All photos © Svenja Block. You can find more of Svenja’s photos at her Flickr, Facebook and at her Louder Than War author’s archive.           

All words by Sophie Sparham. More writing by Sophie can be found at their author’s archive. Sophie is also on twitter as @SophieSparham and has a website : www.sophiesparham.co.uk .    

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4 comments on “The Damned, Koko Camden – live review”

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  1. Saw the damned in Blackpool couple of years ago and recently in Leicester Wat can I say punks not dead

  2. I saw them in Dundee at the start of the tour and have followed them for decades! Just wanted to say your comments on the fact it’s a show not a gig and the band/ audience rapport is bang on so thank you. Let’s hope we all make it past 100!

  3. Saw them at the Leicester gig. Seen them many times. The comment about a family reunion is spot on. It’s always like having your mates round for a singalong. They give such good value. Every time.

  4. Been a Damned fan since 1980 and seen them many times, mostly at Norwich Waterfront. I notice though last couple of years they’ve not been to Norwich they’ve gone to bigger venues with higher ticket prices. Testament to the fact that the pioneers of punk even after 40 years are still a class act and I think even more popular now than they’ve ever been. But guys. . don’t forget to come back to Norwich eh?

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