The Damned are one of my all time favourites having seen them three times in the period up to their first anniversary back in June 1977. I left them at that point and didn’t see them again until two/three years ago when having a sentimental twinge I revisited.
It’s clear they have a certain loyal following that has followed them throughout the period and it was evident at the O2 Shepherds Bush they have fans who were also picked up in the 80’s and 90’s.
They also played three or four tracks off the latest album “Evil Spirits” which has received critical acclaim and it could be argued takes them a world away from their original modus operandi, producing music that they had originally railed against. These songs were delivered with fresh enthusiasm.
The world moves full circle even if it has taken 42 years. This has been a yearly pilgrimage for me over the last few years and I wasn’t really in the right head space this time around so ended up only staying for the first half of the set. I guess due to boredom of playing the same old songs they have often re-arranged the classics which is understandable but you know what its like –people want to hear the classics.
In terms of quality and stage craft they feel like a big band and are arguably the only band of their time that can get such a crowd to turn out year after year. It does help that they seem to have pictures in various attics with the Captain now trundling towards 65.
I’m sure if you had asked them where they would be at the first anniversary gig at the Marquee they wouldn’t have thought touring all this time later I don’t suppose.
Set list –Courtesy of setlist.fm
- We’re So Nice
- Born to Kill
- Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
- Standing on the Edge of Tomorrow
- Wait for the Blackout
- Lively Arts
- Silly Kids Games
- Devil in Disguise
- Stranger on the Town
- Alone Again Or
- The History of the World (Part 1)
- I Don’t Care
- Love Song
- 1 of the 2
- New Rose
- Neat Neat Neat
- Curtain Call
- Encore 2:
- There Ain’t No Sanity Clause
- Smash it Up
- Encore 3:
I ended up missing a couple of my favourites ie “New Rose” (in my top 10 songs of all time) and the great cover of “Alone again Or”
But there’s always next year as I don’t see them winding down anytime soon.
Support on the night was provided by real old school punks Johnny Moped. Johnny ably backed by a solid workmanlike crew hasn’t been distracted by fashion or a desire to develop too far from the original 2. Minute 30 second format of many original punk singles.
They received a warm welcome for the crowd with classics such as “No One” and the classic “Incendiary device””, which in the current climate probably seems more outrageous than back in the day when it was a bit of a comic interlude.
10 songs, 30 minutes and gone.
Overall it was a real old school night out and there is certainly a demographic that will still get out and support the old timers. Always amazing to think that it’s now 40 years plus such a shock to the music business occurred.