Dec 14th, 2014
The Damned have been tearing it up on their xmas tour reports our reviewer
I remember my brother returning from a Damned gig, circa 1978, at Middlesbrough Rock Garden; a violent shithole where those who came to enjoy the bands were consistently outnumbered by those who came to pick fights. I was in awe as he told me how, then bass player, Henry Badowski had puked into a pint glass, drank it and then puked it up again, much of it over the unfortunate front row of the audience. On Saturday, I almost found myself wishing that Badowski was still in the band, and, that his party trick be directed at a certain yellow bibbed private army that seem to be running gigs up and down the country these days. It is degrading being herded in to a venue, told where and when to go and then herded back out before the last guitar chord has resonated around the room. Gigs used to be about socialising, meeting new people and sharing ideas but there seems to be no scope, or time, for this in today’s live gig template.
All that aside, The Damned’s performance was magnificent as always. Much of the first third of the set being based around their more gothic material: Silly Kids Games, Blackout, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde from the 1980 Black Album. (Don’t Cry Wolf being the odd one out). They then proceeded to seamlessly unleash the full repertoire of their back catalogue in which there are too many classics to name. (If you are familiar with The Damned you won’t have been disappointed. If not, then what the hell have you been listening to for the past thirty odd years?). It wasn’t a flawless performance but it was good to see bass player Stu West and drummer Pinch confidently steer the ship while Messrs Sensible and Vanian suffered the odd technical problem. They encored with Smash It Up sending the crowd into a frenzied, yet elated, mosh which pretty much captured the entire evening.