The Damned are at present out on their 35th Anniversary Tour. As regular readers of Louder Than War will know the tour started last year. We reviewed both their London & Nottingham gigs. Now here’s another of our reviewers, Scott Zverblis, with a review of their Warrington show.
The chaotic musical carnival that is The Damned rolled into Warrington Town centre on Saturday night to breath life, not fire, into the very un-punk rock surroundings of Parr Hall.
Tonight’s gig, part of a 35th Anniversary tour, sees the band perform songs from not one, but two seminal albums, both of which helped kick-start a musical genre.
Damned, Damned. Damned, released in 1979, paved the way for British punk, while The Black Album, released in 1980, planted the dark seed that grew into the gothic rock movement. Hard to believe that two of the most important musical genres were spearheaded by one just one band .
Unlike the show in Manchester last November which saw the band perform both
albums in their entirety over two different sets, tonight’s show kept to the usual one set format and featured songs from those landmark albums as well as classics from their lengthy career.
The first member of the Damned to emerge from the darkness is drummer Pinch and eccentric keyboard player Monty Oxy Moron, while the two surviving original band members (singer Dave Vanian and bass player turned lead guitarist, Captain Sensible) shortly follow.
After a nod and a wink from the good Captain the band launch into Wait For The Blackout which was closely followed by Lively Arts and Silly Kids Games – all taken from the Black Album. Then, after a slightly lusterless version of I Just Cant Be Happy Today, the band take things up a notch to perform a truly outstanding rendition of New Rose, which gets the audience jumping.
It sounded as if the whole of Warrington was screaming along with Vanian to this time-honoured punk masterpiece, as he paced up and down the stage – cracking his microphone lead like a whip. To his right, the ever-smiling, joker of the pack, Captain Sensible, runs around on the spot like a toddler on a sugar high.
An important thing about the band is the energy that they give off when performing live. You can tell that this is their love and this is what they want to be doing. The energy they provide shines off the stage and hits you just as much as the PA system itself fills the stage with sound.
21 songs later, as the chaotic riffs of Smash It Up Parts 1 & 2 fade out, the band quickly dash off stage for a civilised beer and a well earned rest – the days of setting fire to tour buses way behind them.
Spectacular is not a word you’d normally associate with punk survivors, but if anyone turned up tonight expecting a perfunctory run-through of punk anthems past their sell-by date, they’d have been sorely mistaken.
All words Scott Zverblis.