Gig Review – The Damned – London – Roundhouse – 6th June 2015.
After a rendezvous in Euston with the Human Mic Stand (HMS), we were joined before not too long by Guildford Lil. Enjoying the afternoon sunshine in Euston Square, we came to pondering as to the whereabouts of Mr and Mrs Silverback. A quick consultation with the tricorder revealed that they had in fact been standing 50 yards due west of us the whole time (at the local watering hole of course).
Eventually we found ourselves in India with Ravi Shankar, where sustenance was provided, giving us the strength to make the arduous journey to Camden Town in order to rescue Antro and Pidge from The End of The World.
Armageddon narrowly avoided, we ambled along Camden High Street up to Chalk Farm where we found a Kate in Black. From there we ventured inside an old railway engine turning shed for a promising evening’s entertainment…
Time once more played its tricks, for, as we arrived, opening act Rubella Ballet were drawing to a fine sounding conclusion, shame we missed them. Having not seen them since the Centro Iberico days, was rather hoping to catch their set…
The family were well represented tonight as evidenced by the plentiful MiB tees on display. We met up with FdN, then after a quick chat with Mr and Mrs Rockula, we sought refreshment at the bar. From whence we made our way toward the front, (where we encountered Ravenette) in time to take in the soothing dulcet tones of Johnny Moped!
JM and band went on to blast through the set in his/their own inimitable manner. Culminating in the highlight of Hard Loving Man. It was interesting to note the dizzying height of the drummer Dave Berk’s cymbals and said percussionists passing resemblance to (a somewhat long-armed) Rat Scabies, maybe it was a trick of the light.
As the hour drew nearer the crowd began to swell with a mix of good folk from all walks and of all ages (family outings for many passing the baton to younger generations). And then…
…The Damned Express Locomotive entered the shed for a quick greasing/oiling and refit!
An intoxicating melodic madness began to issue from the region of Monty Oxymoron who eventually morphed his meandering musical musings into Melody Lee (try saying that a few sheets to the wind!). Suddenly he was joined by his cohorts as they blasted into song.
The captain welcomed us in his (non) native German for the intro to Love Song, along the lines of – Damen und Herren How do? Moving swiftly through a selection from MGE including 2nd Time Around, Just can’t be Happy and Plan 9.
And they were puffing along nicely now as Pinch and Stu kept the wheels firmly on the track while Captain and Monty shovelled mountains of musical coal upon the furnace and Driver Dave steered everything masterfully along, with his fine whiskers giving him a somewhat distinguished air (even more so than usual).
The set tonight was initially divided up by album and it was the turn of The Black Album next. The opening numbers in track order; Blackout, Lively Arts and Silly Kids Games were backed up with History and a rather spiffing 13th Floor Vendetta.
Then the Strawberries era was represented by the epics Ignite and Stranger on The Town.
From here on in the set was comprised of a selection. Kicking off with some fine guitar picking from Mr Sensible on an awesome Alone Again Or.
A stonking Eloise preceded Antipope, which in turn led to the first ever punk rock single in the form of New Rose. And the main set was rounded out with the superb Neat Neat Neat (please please please reinstate the Break on Through section at some point!)…
Encore time as they kicked off with a blistering Nasty in dedication of Rik Mayall. Then Dx3 got further representation in the form of Fan Club and Feel Alright.
And before we knew it Smash It Up signalled the servicing was complete and saw us turned around and sent back out into the night from where we came.
The Damned were on top form and sounding great. At times the keys and bass got lost a little but I think that’s a general problem with both the acoustics of The Roundhouse and standing near Mr Sensible’s side of the stage. At one point Dave asked said guitarist to turn it down which he duly and correctly obliged. In other highlights; Monty came out from behind the keys for a boogie centre stage much to the crowds delight, Pinch called Captain over to prompt him to make an announcement pertaining to a certain important 40th anniversary that would be taking place in 2016 and went on to inform us that they will be playing at The Royal Albert Hall in a 3 hour extravaganza in celebration (order your tickets early folks, they’re selling fast!) and Captain again displayed his advanced yogic technique of guitarasana, levitating his instrument several inches above his head. Of course there were the usual unimaginative suspects whose failed attempt to start a SAW chant were met with Dave’s groaned “They’re here” and Mr S’s mumbled STFU which surprisingly they mostly did (TFFT!).
Once again a top notch and tight performance from a superb band that after 40 odd years on the go and somewhat like a fine wine, just seem to get better with age.
Photos: Courtesy of Ms Teri and Mr E.