Black Fridays and Full Moons…
…Suddenly, I was standing on Shepherds Bush Green on a murky Friday evening. Time being what it was and what it is and inevitably will (and did and still will) become, a decision was arrived at for the most of it to be made. And it was! Here’s how… A sea of faithful, young and less so, new and not so, gathered for a performance by none other than your old compadres The Damned...
Quite by chance I bumped into the ever charming and talented Leigh Heggarty from the Mighty Ruts DC and we briefly discussed the blueprints for an automated dual-action de-mystifier that works simultaneously and with equivalent efficacy on both mind and spectacles. Then he introduced me to the drummer from Johnny Moped and went for a pint… …from whence, I crossed the road to rendezvous with Kate and Dave (and we were joined by Owen and Jac and a little later Nini and Lucio) at an establishment where you could part with your hard earned to the tune of £6 for 1/3 pint of crazily strong beer… After not too long, we found ourselves inside the Shepherds Bush Empire.
We spotted a pidge and a few other familiars and took up our positions to witness the show. Johnny Moped were already well into their set by the time we arrived, delivering an audial experience that wasn’t an ordeal. Convincing both visually and sonically they warmed up the crowd a treat on a late autumn evening.
Before we knew what was going on, it was all Peer Gynt courtesy of Sounds Incorporated, banners fell from the above and raised from below and we beheld the spectacle of The Damned at the following points along the fissures of time…
2018: Kicking off with the super-duper We’re So Nice (rightly) showing confidence in the new songs we were treated to a set of first class tunes spanning The Damned’s 5 decade and counting career. And the crowd went bananas and lapped up every last morsel, loving it too!
1977: They set the controls from 2018 to 1977 and engaged us with Born to Kill.
2001: Before coming back in to the current Millennium with the ever more relevant Democracy where they stunned us into submission with Pinch’s sonic double pedal kick assault!
1980: Three from 1980’s Black Album next and the crowd showed no let-up for; Wait for the Blackout, Lively Arts and Silly Kids Games. Much to the Captains amusement as he commented something on his amazement at people moshing to the latter of the three (or it may have been DJAMH or HoTWPO etc Etc EiTC).
2018: Back to 2018, the delightful Standing on the Edge of Tomorrow.
1980: Before zagging back to 1980 for the ever awesome Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.
1982: Stranger on The Town – perfection.
2018: 2018 again and a song Pinch declared not to be about Donald Trump – Devil in Disguise.
1980: Back to 80 for sonic brilliance in the form or History of The World Part One.
2018: The epic I Don’t Care.
1986: Their awesome rendition of Love’s Alone Again Or replete with the sublime trumpet work of Chris Coull. Who also added flair and flavour to a handful of other tunes throughout the night.
1979: Love song, brilliant, crowd nuts.
1977: 1 of the 2, mighty, all fists of fury.
1976: New Rose – the invoice for the new ceiling of the SBE is in the post!
1977: Neat neat neat – perfection in sound.
1980: Curtain Call – Masterpiece!
1982: Ignite – sheer burning brilliance!
1980: There Ain’t no Sanity Clause – festive fun…
1979: Smash it Up – they smashed it!
(Surprise) Encore 3.
1979: Anti-pope – thought we were going to get Disco Man for a second but a mighty bonus none the less.
Or is it…
Just a few more words… (a: if I may, b: if you’re still awake and c: because):
The Damned are on fine form and easily rank as one of the best live acts I’ve seen, with consistent great performances from an amazing back catalogue. You get your money’s worth for sure. Dave Vanian is the coolest front man ever in his dapper vampiric way crooning with excellence while effortlessly covering the whole stage and beyond. During the first encore I noticed a kerfuffle to my left and turned to find Dave Vanian there making his way through the crowd to apparently watch the band up at the front, then gallantly escorting a young lady to the side before somehow vampirically managing to be simultaneously back on stage and singing the next line of the song, spooky genius!
Talking of genius and not wanting to wear out the term but Captain Sensible is greater than the sum of his constituent parts with his faultless ever-inspiring guitar mastery/voice and stage presence.
Paul Gray providing point-blank bass brilliance and balance to the band. You can hear the nuance in his delivery and his presence has led to a more balanced sound overall (IMESHO)…
Pinch, Punch, Precision, Perfection…
Monty, Mighty, Madness, Maestro…
Pics: ‘A Study in Dave’ by Lewis Utley.