Archive for the ‘Damned’ Category

The Damned Newcastle NX 7 April 2023

DAMNED TIXAnd so the mighty Damned continue forward into another chapter. Support came from the Nightingales. I must admit I am not familiar with their music but was quite impressed by them. After a short break The Damned took to the stage. I must admit there were a lot of new songs with which I was not familiar but it is some years since I last experienced The Damned live. Big mistake on my part. Anyway I was glad to be in a packed NX (formerly known as the Academy) watching the crowd go crazy for one of the best live bands around on the circuit. At one point close to the end The Captain said something like “Thanks to Brian James for putting the band together: thanks to us for inventing Punk, thanks to Dave for inventing Goth and to me for inventing Rap” now this might be a overstatement but I guess it isn’t too far from the truth. After all The Damned did release the first punk single “New Rose”, maybe Dave Vanian did sort of invent Goth, and I guess The Captain is referring to his single “Wot” which was a sort of early rap song. Whatever the truth the music business and we fans have much to thank The Damned for!DAMNED2
The first song I recognised was “Wait for the Blackout” and then there were a lot of new (to me anyway) songs. Dave was wearing a black hat with a large round brim (very stylish), dressed all in black, no white make-up (no need for it) and charged around the stage with as much energy as ever. The Captain was, as always, like a kid in a sweet shop just enjoying life and going crazy. He still wears his characteristic Tam and a hooped jumper. I recall meeting him in 1977 in Newcastle Poly. He looks just the same and is still that crazy kid who devoured a packet of crisps including wrapper in front of me! Respect!

DAMNED4The current line up of The Damned consists of: Dave Vanian; Captain Sensible; Paul Gray (on bass: I remember that name, yes he was in Eddie and the Hot Rods); Monty Oxymoron (crazy on keyboards) and Will Taylor on drums. And pretty great they remain!

DAMNED5We were soon on the home strait and the band crashed into classic after classic.”Love Song”, “Neat, Neat, Neat” moved into a mix of old songs including “Be Bop a Lula”! Class! Then “Eloise” (one of my favourite songs from the 60s, but hey guys, no one tops Barry Ryan and his version: the guy was my hero and role model when I was a kid!) “Smash It Up” and finally right back to the start and “New Rose”. These guys still know how to rock. Long may they do so.

DAMNED1Setlist: The Man With the Golden Arm; Street of Dreams; The Invisible Man; Wait for the Blackout; Lively Arts; Bad Weather Girl; You’re Gonna Realise; Western Promise; Beware of the Clown; Wake the Dead; Follow Me; Motorcycle Man; Leader of the Gang; From Your Lips; Born to Kill; Love Song; Second Time Around; Standing on the Edge of Tomorrow; Neat Neat Neat / 1969 / Folsom Prison Blues / Be Bop a Lula

Encore: Eloise; Smash It Up (Part 1 & 2);

Encore 2: Girl I’ll Stop at Nothing; New Rose

T Rex Newcastle City Hall 10th March 1977

T Rex Newcastle City Hall 10th March 1977
TRex77tix1977 was, of course, the year of punk rock. Marc was well aware of this and, in an interview in The Sun (February 1977) said that he had been waiting ‘for something like punk rock to come along…..I consider myself to be an elder statesman of punk” and declared himself “The Godfather of Punk.” Unlike many stars, he wasn’t afraid to put his money where his mouth was and “picked The Damned to tour with me because I wanted to put the best of the established bands against the best of the new wave bands, so we‘ll see who can out-punk the other every night” (The Journal, March 1977). A new T Rex album “Dandy in the Underworld” was released to fan and critical acclaim, and the band went out on tour with, as alluded to above, punk rock band the Damned as support. The tour was our chance to see a new, rejuvenated, slimmer Bolan, sharp-suited with smooth elfin looks, and a new band featuring Dino Dines (keyboards), Tony Newman (drums), Herbie Flowers (bass) and Miller Anderson (guitar). Although not every show was quite sold out, attendances were good, and the UK tour gained positive reviews. Bolan and T Rex were back on form and the future looked bright. From the tour programme: “Bolan today is a genuine star – the man who put magic back into pop music; seldom heavy and most often playful….Marc is a global super-star who has toured over 500,000 miles in the last two years….I am a teenage idol I suppose”. Big statements, but actually Bolan could live up to them.
TRexdandyprogI saw the tour at Newcastle City Hall on 10th Macrh 1977. The Damned were their usual crazy manic selves; it was quite brave of Marc to invite them on tour with him, as it could so easily have back-fired. In fact, the pairing worked well, with the Damned warming the audience up, and T Rex playing a set containing a good mix of old and new and which showed just how good a live act Bolan and his band could still be. Bolan was enjoying a new surge in popularity, and he even talked about the possibility of performing again with Finn and Took, as well as reuniting with producer Tony Visconti.
Set List: Jeepster, Visions Of Domino, New York City, The Soul Of My Suit, Groove A Little, Telegram Sam, Hang-Ups, Debora, I Love To Boogie, Teen Riot Structure, Dandy In The Underworld, Hot Love, Get It On

While driving home early on the morning of 16th September 1977, Marc Bolan’s purple Mini crashed into a tree, after failing to negotiate a small bridge near Gypsy Lane, Barnes, in southwest London, a few miles from his home. Bolan was killed in the crash, which took place two weeks before his 30th birthday.
Thanks to Michael and his excellent site of the tour for helping refresh by memories and providing pointers to some of the reference material of the time.

The Damned Newcastle Academy 8th December 2013

The Damned Newcastle Academy 8th December 2013
ThedamnedblackalbumLast night I continued in my attempts to relive my lost youth by going to see punk goth legends The Damned at Newcastle Academy. I last saw The Damned in concert in the late 80s, and I have been meaning to catch up with them for the last few years, but for one reason or another, I haven’t managed to do so. I was a big fan of this band back in the day. There was a sense of chaos, fun and theatre to a Damned gig; they were always quite different to the rest of the punk bands of the time. Their music blends rock’n’roll, punk, goth and psychedelia, and you can always be sure that Captian Sensible will be crazy and outrageous, which guarantees a fun night out for all. The line up of The Damned has changed many times over the years; the two remaining members are the Captain on guitar and vocalist Dave Vanium.
I arrived just in time to catch the end of support act The Ruts DC, who closed their set with the old favourite “In a Rut”. The Ruts are old mates of the Damned from the punk era; I particularly remember a manic Ruts gig at Durham Dunelm House where the Damned joined them on stage to much mayhem both onstage and off. The Damned came on stage around 9.10pm, Dave Vanium looking as cool as ever in his black Dracula / undertaker garb; this guy was goth before goth. First song was the eerie and dark Sanctum Sanctum. The set consisted of songs drawn from across their 10 albums, focusing mainly on that classic 70s and 80s period. The last few songs were pure classic punk nostalgia: Love Song; Second Time Around; I Just Can’t Be Happy Today; New Rose (“Is she really going out with him”) and closer Neat Neat Neat; they took me right back, and sounded just as good at they did when I first heard them. Their cover of “Eloise” was good to hear, as always. Its one of my favourite songs from the 60s; full of drama, passion and pathos. The Damned must have similar musical tastes to my own, they have covered quite a few songs which I consider to be classics; I am thinking of “Eloise”, Love’s “Alone Again Or” and Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit”. The Captain seemed to be in a jolly mood, if a little reserved, he did explain that they had all been suffering from colds. I resisted the temptation of buying a Captain Kit, complete with red beret and round sunglasses, and a bargain at £10, with a signed (and quite obscene) Christmas card thrown in. I figured I probably wouldn’t suit the beret :). Great to see the old ones are still out there doing in, and doing so in style and with panache. Great stuff.
Setlist: Sanctum Sanctorum; Don’t Cry Wolf; Wait for the Blackout; Lively Arts; Silly Kids Games; History of the World; Ignite; Generals; Stranger on the Town; Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde; Plan 9 Channel 7; Eloise; Love Song; Second Time Around; I Just Can’t Be Happy Today; New Rose; Neat Neat Neat. Encore: To my shame I left at this point as I had promised to collect Laura (Apologies to Dave and the Captain). I bet they played Smash It Up and one or two others.

The Flamin’ Groovies 1972 Newcastle City Hall and 1976 Redcar Coatham Bowl

The Flamin’ Groovies 1972 Newcastle City Hall and 1976 Redcar Coatham Bowl
Support in 1972 came from Mr Moses Schoolband and Man; Support in 1976 came from the Damned flamin I first saw The Flamin’ Groovies at a concert at Newcasle City Hall in 1972. I keep all my ticket stubs, but don’t have one for this. I must have paid at the door, and not been given a ticket, which sometimes happened in those days. I know that tickets did exist for this gig, as I saw one for sale on eBay a few weeks ago; I bid on it, but sadly I was outbid at the last moment. I went along to the gig on my own, but ran into some friends from town, and joined them in seats near the front. The gig was general admission, with no seat numbers on the tickets, something which never seems to happen now. It was not well attended and there were plenty of empty seats. I went along partly out on curiosity; I had read some good reports of the Flamin’ Groovies from recent festival appearances, and also to see Man, who were one of the supporting acts. First up was a strange band called Mr Moses School Band. As I recall Mr Moses was the singer and he was totally outrageous, crazy and over the top. Flaming Groovies Ticket June 1972He finished the set by throwing the mike stand into the crowd, just missing us; again something that you never see these days (definitely not covered by Health and Safety risk assessments). Man were next up. I saw them lots of times in the 70s, at festivals and at the City Hall. They were always amazing; great musicianship, particularly from Micky Jones who played long meandering west coast influenced guitar solos on his Gibson SG which were outstanding and never boring. Spunk Rock was my favourite at the time. The Flamin’ Groovies were quite wierd. If you can imagine mixing 50s rock n roll with garage and blending it with the Rolling Stones you wouldn’t be far off. They started with Jumping Jack Flash, and did a few Stones covers. The singer must have been watching lots of film of Jagger, who he obviously modelled himself on, almost to the point of parody. Their well know album at the time was Teenage Head; I remember them playing the title track and another song which was well known at the time, which was called Slow Death.
Handbill June 1972Roll forward four years to 1976, and a group of us went to Redcar’s Coatham Bowl to see the Groovies. Once again, there was a strong support in the form of The Damed who were a new, young punk group and very much a band of the moment, while The Flamin’ Groovies were now being hailed as one of the forerunners of punk, a label which I found difficult to understand, given my memories of the City Hall gig. By now they had teamed up with Dave Edmunds and had just released Shake Some Action. I have blogged separately on The Damned, and briefly mentioned their performance that night. Suffice it to say here that they were amazing; young, fresh, fast, crazy, and angry and they just blew the crowd away that night. The Groovies were ok, but it must have been difficult for them to follow the Damned’s high energy performance. They were a very different band from the one I saw in 1972. There were no Jagger impersonations this time, or any old 50s rock n roll songs. The show focussed very much on their own material and on their latest album.
The Flamin’ Groovies now command almost legendary status; I’m pleased that I was lucky enough to see them on these two occasions.

Many thanks to Ken for sending me the two images of his ticket and signed flyer from the 1972 City Hall concert.

The Damned 80s gigs

The Damned’s line-up changes several times in the late 70s and early 80s, with a few different people filling the guitar spot. I lost track of the different permutations, and I also remember seeing the band billed as The Doomed at a Rock Garden gig at one point. My mate Norm reminded me that we went to see Damned spin-off band Rat Scabies White Cats in 1978 at Whitley Bay Rex Hotel. The White Cats were short lived and Rat soon returned to The Damned fold. The Damned played Newcastle Mayfair a few times in the early 80s, and always attracted a big crowd. By then they had a lot of strong singles, and the set was much longer than in the early days. A live album exists of their Mayfair gig from 1982; I gig which I probably attended, and shows the setlist as being: Ignite; Disco Man; Generals; I Just Can’t Be Happy Today; Stranger on the Town; Wait for the Blackout; Bad Time for Bonzo; Curtain Call; Dozen Girls; Limit Club; Melody Lee; Fuse; Love Song; Sensible’s a Wanker; Smash It Up; Looking at You; New Rose; Happy Talk; Noise Noise Noise; Hippy Hippy Shake; Citadel. Favourites for me at that time were Smash It Up and Love Song. I also loved their version of Eloise, which is one of my all time favourite songs. I loved the Barry Ryan original, and remember going out and buying the single. I saw The Damned at Newcastle City Hall in 1986, around the time of Eloise, and was still impressed by them. By that time, however, Sensible had left the band, and only Vanian and Rat remained from the original line-up. I think that was the last time that I saw the band in concert. I keep meaning to go and see them again, and would really like to do so, particularly as the latest line-up features Dave Vanian and Captain Sensible. They are playing in Newcastle in December, but I’m pretty sure that I will be working in Ireland that day, so will miss them again. Must put that right sometime soon. I have some great memories of Damned gigs, and always had fun when I saw them.

DAMNED 2021The Mayfair was a great venue and I remember some crazy nights with The Damned there. Jimmy Burns has kindly sent me an image of a poster from those heady days. Many thanks, Jimmy (a.k.a. Punk Hoarder). I’m pretty sure I will have been at that concert. I have seen The Damned since then, featuring Dave Vanian and Captain Sensible from the original band and they were as crazy as ever. I have tickets for their reunion concert next year at Manchester Apollo and I am really looking forward to it. Maybe happy days can be here again.

The Damned 70s gigs

The Damned 70s gigs
The Damned, like much of punk rock, were a breath of fresh air when they exploded on to the late 70s music scene. Unlike the Pistols, and to some extent The Clash, The Damned were played up and down the country all of the time. I saw them lots and lots of times in the late 70s at Redcar, Middlesbrough Rock Garden, Newcastle Poly and later at gigs at Newcastle City Hall and Mayfair. I first saw The Damned supporting The Flaming Groovies at Redcar Coatham Bowl in 1976. This was at the time of New Rose, and I remember we went into the gig early especially to see The Damned. I recall that, for some reason, Dave Vanium wasn’t wearing his usual gothic styled make up and clothing and appeared wearing a leather jacket and no make up. The Captain was just mad, Brain James was the guitar hero, and Rat was going crazy on the drums. Their set included New Rose, their manic version of the Beatles’ Help and some embryonic versions of songs which would feature on their first album, which came out the following year. I then saw them at a shambolic gig at Newcastle Poly; there was lots of glasses flying, much edginess, fights and the set was cut short as a result. Marie and I talked to The Captain in the bar; he held court to a few of us, telling us how he was an Abba fan, and devouring a packet of crisps, including the packet itself all in one go. I also remember a gig at the Rock Garden. I was one of the few people at the gig with long hair, and Rat came up to me at the bar and said he thought I was Lemmy (! not sure if that was good or bad, but it seemed a fun complement at the time). That particular gig finished with an encore and The Captain coming back on stage stark naked and peeing on the crowd (who very quickly moved back and out of the way; luckily we were standing at the back). The City Hall ticket above was for a 1977 gig, at which they were supported by The Dead Boys, featuring the late great Stiv Bators. The Mayfair ticket is for a later gig (may actually be from the 80s). I also saw them at The City Hall supporting T Rex, which was a strange, but for me successful, pairing. I think I saw them once or twice at Durham University Dunelm Ballroom as well. What I remember of these guys was chaos, madness, great fun, some loud, fast punk rock. Great nights. Can I be young again?DAMNED PHTO 21

Update 22 December 2021
Many thanks indeed to Jimmy Burns (a.k.a. Punk Hoarder) for sending me this lovely image of the flyer for the concert. It brings back great memories. I’m looking forward to seeing the reunited original line-up of the Damned at Manchester Apollo next year. The concert has just been postponed from February 2022 to November 2022. Something to look forward to. Expecting some mad Damned mayhem! Happy days can be here again. And yes I can be young again (at least in my mind and heart). Roll on 2022 and more concerts.