The Damned – Gig Review

The Damned + The Ruts DC

Sunday 1st December 2013

Buckley Tivoli

It’s Sunday night, and far from milk and cookies and watching Songs of Praise, Mrs Platinum and I are off to see The Damned.  At the Tivoli in Buckley, no less.  A venue I’ve been to many times (remind me to tell you about my 21st birthday sometime) and a place I’d hoped this lot would play for years.

Support tonight is from The Ruts DC, and blimey they’re good.  I’d have gone to see them headline their own gig – with The Damned to follow this is unmissable.  A great set that swings from ska-reggae boppers to punk rock seven inch masterpieces.  Highlights include “It Was Cold”, “West One (Shine On Me)” and of course “Staring at the Rude Boys” and “Babylon’s Burning”.  They sound exciting, contemporary and confident.  Final song “In a Rut” put the lid on a support set that could have been a headliner.

I might as well own up and admit that the Damned are probably my favourite band of all time.  To see them in my “local” venue is a real delight.  As I hinted earlier, I’ve had many adventures at the Ballrooms over the years and always wanted to see this band here.

The Damned are the band that I’ve seen more than any other.  Tonight though, they play an astounding set that both entertains and surprises.  How do they do that?  Well, they play many songs I’ve never heard them play live before.  First song “Sanctum Santorum” is an interesting choice – atmospheric rather than bludgeoning.  The song worked really well live and served to create a sense of theatre from the start.

From that point on, The Damned kept me guessing.  “Don’t Cry Wolf”?  Yes, please!  “Sick of Being Sick”?  Don’t mind if I do!  Following “Wait for the Blackout” with the songs that followed it on The Black Album is a stroke of almost genius.  “Lively Arts” and “Silly Kids Games”?  Why sirs, with these gems you are truly spoiling us!

“Ignite” and then “Generals”?  They won’t play the third track off Strawberries though.  But they do!  “Stranger on the Town” is probably my favourite Damned tune, and one I never thought I’d hear live.  Brass section, you see.  Yet there it is, and Platinum Al can’t help but sing along.  Thank you, Damned!

And so it goes.  Later in the set we get the classic singles: “Neat Neat Neat”; “New Rose”; “Love Song”; “I Just Can’t Be Happy Today”.  “Eloise” sounds great.  More first time airings (for me) of “The Eighth Day” and “Ballroom Blitz” put the marzipan on the cake before a glorious “Smash It Up” finale.

Any criticisms?  The sound wavers a few times, unusually for the Tiv – some of the early set doesn’t sound as “full” as it should. A minor comment as this didn’t spoil my enjoyment.  Beyond that, it would have been nice to hear more of the recent material (no “Thrill KIll”??!)  – we don’t hear anything off the So, Who’s Paranoid? album.

Though as I’ve been treated to so many new live gems tonight, a full fourteen minute version of “Dark Asteroid” is probably a bit too much to ask.  Maybe next time.

So thank you The Damned, The Ruts DC and Buckley Tivoli.  It was a great night.  Work in the morning.

http://www.officialdamned.com/

http://www.theruts.co.uk/

http://www.tivolivenue.com/index.htm

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