Thursday 17th September 2015
The Live Rooms, Chester
Hello, chums! How about another review of a musical concert? How about another review of a Damned musical concert? Very well, off we go…
It was my birthday on Saturday, so it was very kind of The Damned to play a gig on Thursday night for me. They are my favourite band, after all. Not many bands would go to all the trouble of playing for their number one fan in a nearby locale. I don’t know who invited all the other people who turned up, mind – wasn’t me. I hardly knew any of them.
The Damned sold out The Live Rooms in Chester, which is pretty impressive. The place was packed out with all manner of discerning music fans, and by golly those punk rock chaps put on a hell of a good show.
From the moment Captain Sensible uttered the immortal phrase “Ladies and Gentlemen, ‘Ow do”, I knew it would be a blinder. Straight off into “Love Song”, a rollicking locomotive of a song all about trainspotting. Then it was “Machine Gun Ettiquette” and “I Just Can’t Be Happy Today” – top tunes all, and the running order gave something of a clue as how things would develop set wise.
The evening was an almost chronological journey to the centre of the Damned, with tracks following from the Black Album, through Strawberries and onto their later 80’s catalogue. Until they messed that plan up by going back to the start with the always excellent “New Rose” and “Neat Neat Neat”. I defied my OCD and enjoyed the travelling back through time regardless.
The band were on excellent form, Dave Vanian in fine voice and Sensible throwing some amazing guitar noises around (“Ignite” is always mental). Pinch on drums and Stu on bass are in control and drive the machine ever onward. Monty was, of course, his usual crazy and lovable self; always entertaining and adding an extra dimension with his keyboard skills.
A couple of “firsts” for me tonight – I’ve never heard “Alone Again Or” performed live, or the totally amazing “Nasty”. This song was one of my earliest experiences of The Damned, when they roared through it on the Young Ones. Relegated to a B-side and rarely cropping up on compilations, I’d given up on hearing this one in the flesh. “Nasty” was dedicated to previous bass player Bryn Merrick, who had died recently.
Throw in another appearance of “Stranger on the Town” (see my last Damned review for how big a deal this is) and the song that kick started the whole fandom thing from my point of view, “Eloise”, and it was a quality set list. Not to mention punk rock classics such as “Disco Man” and “Smash It Up” – what a result!
Any complaints? Well there was no “Plan 9 Channel 7”, which is absolutely criminal. Nothing from the two most recent albums either, which is a bit worrying – there’s some great tunes on those records. The Live Rooms is a brilliant venue, but they seem a bit keen to send people home when they could’ve made a few quid more at the bar, if they’d kept it open half an hour. Strange.
All in all though, it was a fantastic night. The Damned threw me a very nice birthday party and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Wonder if they’re free same time next year?
Here’s The Damned’s website: http://www.officialdamned.com/
The Live Rooms web site is here.
You can read the set list for this gig here.
Here’s a link to my previous review of The Damned live: click me
R.I.P. Bryn Merrick