THE DAMNED: Brixton Academy, 26th November 2016.

27 11 2016

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There are some feelings in the world that cannot be replicated. Seeing one of the bands that changed your life, the band you absolutely adore and play religious every day live for the first time is one of those feelings. Last night after waiting for what seemed an eternity, I finally saw mine- I saw The Damned live. To make it even better, it was their first record in full. The record I play every morning whilst I get ready for work. The record that can sometimes keep a brewing panic attack at bay. This show was going to mean more to me than just seeing a band I love live. It was something else.

The crowd, I have to say, were amazing. Everyone was so friendly and just genuine, lovely people.  I’ve been to too many shows where some dickhead spoils it for everyone. It was a dickhead free zone last night. Everyone knew of the importance of the show, the importance of The Damned. The next 2 hours were going to justify this.

The band walk on to the stage, Captain Sensible tells the sound guy to turn the music on the PA off. He blames Genesis and YES for Punk starting; for the bad we all got the good. The band rip into Neat Neat Neat and Dave glides onto the stage like some kind of messiah. Is this how people feel when they are faced with a religious experience? For me, this went deeper.

The first part of the show is their debut record in full. I was finally seeing the songs that keep me together right before me. The songs that clear my mind and make everything alright for a short amount of time. The songs that made me fall for Punk at such a young age. Maybe it is a typical thing to pick up on, but the way in which Dave leans into the crowd and says, “Is she really going out with him?” And they launch right into New Rose just blows my mind and is easily one of the best moments in the set. That song started it all 40 years ago and it still feels brand new.

I Fall and See Her Tonite are two from the first set that really stood out for me, just because I love them and the energy they all have when they play them. At one point during the set, Captain Sensible chases Stu round the stage in a playful schoolboy manner. It is so endearing and beautiful to watch. To see a band that have been around for so long and play with this wealth of energy is astounding. They are still one of the most influential bands around, and last night truly showed that.

Anyone who has seen The Damned over the past 20 years will know about Monty. He is someone you cannot take your eyes away from. He moves about on the stage as if he has successfully done a stage invasion but nobody minded, so he stays. He’s hilarious and a joy to watch. His energy feels like the backbone of their live shows. He sings along to the first set as if he is a fan in the crowd.

I’ve been to so many gigs but I doubt any will leave this kind of imprint in my mind. There is something about seeing one of your favourite bands of all time live that just does something to you that nothing else can. You just know that it will always stay with you.

Some may assume that Punk is dead but it really isn’t. It’s an attitude. It sure as hell isn’t taking a bunch of artefacts and burning them because you don’t agree with certain people backing 40 years of Punk. No names need to be mentioned. For me, The Damned last night showed us exactly why and how Punk will never die out. Before they went into their second set Captain said that a lot of people expected them to just go away after the first record- how wrong they were!

The Damned are a band that I hold so dear to me for so many reason, and to have finally seen them live and to see Damned Damned Damned performed in its entirety is just everything to me. I know I sound like a boring old so and so, but it was truly one of the best shows I’ve ever been to. They all conduct the crowd in their own way, and when Captain through his red beret into the crowd at the end, and Dave threw his arms around him- that’s when you knew. You just knew that this band are going to always have a firm plac





THE DAMNED: New Rose.

22 10 2016

 

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“I got a feeling inside of me
It’s kind of strange like a stormy sea.”

 

I’ve always felt like I was born at the wrong time. I wasn’t made for ’86 onwards. I was made for at least a decade before, but that’s only if you have the misfortune of looking through the band shirts I own and the records on my shelves. I think my head is there also, it’s never where it is probably meant to be. Let’s go back 40 years.

22nd October 1976, The Damned released their first 7” single- New Rose. The B-side was a cover of Help! By The Beatles. The Damned very quickly became one of the most important and easily, one of the best Punk bands to have ever formed. For me, I loved how strange they were and how their sound was unlike anything I had heard before. I can’t remember how old I was or where I was when I first listened to them, but I’m pretty sure it was my stepdad that got me into them. I love the video to New Rose. I love the close ups of Dave Vanian’s face and his black lipstick. He looked like a handsome Dracula who not much wanted blood but the souls of those who were going to give themselves over to The Damned.

I love the nod to Leader of the Pack by The Shangri-Las in the intro followed by the battle cry drumming which is brought together with a collective  yelp. This iconic intro to New Rose is one of the best I’ve ever heard and any time you hear it, you cannot help but join in. It’s such an important song for Punk. They’re such an important band, and they embodied frustrations in their own way and unleashed it so well on their first record. Their first record for me, is one of the best Punk records ever made. It’s got this raw sound flowing through it that isn’t found in a lot of the Punk records that came out around that time. The Damned took it further. They made it creepy, sinister but approachable. Nothing about them was vulgar or obnoxious (by no means am I saying any of the other bands were) but they could still shock someone’s parents if they weren’t of the liberal kind. The Damned were and are brilliant misfits who gave you a sound to belong to. What I found in their debut record is something I hadn’t found elsewhere before and New Rose started all of that.

Much like the Dead Boys, The Damned were “young, loud and snotty.” The absolute best way to be, especially for a rowdy Punk band. New Rose has been labelled as the UK’s first Punk single and it immediately set a standard that only a few could reach. Whatever The Damned intended to do with New Rose, I am pretty sure they have done. They influenced a wealth of bands and I’m fairly sure that they still do. I play my copy of Damned Damned Damned on a daily basis. I put my record player on most mornings as I get ready for work and I always seem to reach for this one. There is something about it that smacks you in the particulars and gets you ready to get out the house.  A month after New Rose was released, the Sex Pistols released Anarchy In The UK. Both bands have played such a vital role not just for what they did for Punk but for music in general. Rowdy in different ways, both demanded to be heard, again in their own way. Both bands were made to be played loud and 40 years on, we are finding ways and reasons to play them louder than before.

40 years have passed since New Rose was released on Stiff Records. A song that took pretty much only a day to record holds a legacy that not much can compare to. The Damned started something with New Rose that could never, and will never be finished.