The Damned @ 02 Academy, 17/11/16
The Damned opened their show on Thursday by having ELP’s version of ‘Fanfare for the Common Man’ play on speakers, shortly before their guitarist came on stage to interrupt it. This was followed by a short speech on how the band formed as a reaction against Progressive Rock, which concluded by mentioning that Phil Collins is terrible.
Then the set began, with the band playing their debut album, Damned, Damned, Damned, in its entirety. Amazingly, after 40 years, they still messed up the first song, but if anything this simply added to the band’s charm. The rest of the album was pure excellence. The remainder of the set was made up of songs from their future albums, which for the most part meant gothic rock replaced the punk side of the gig. This wasn’t a bad thing at all; the 80’s material was, in many ways, better live than in the studio. While it conjured an entirely different atmosphere from the punk songs, it did not feel forced in at all. Rather, it might have been the most immersive section of the set.
The only would-be problem with the set was the fact that guitarist Captain Sensible’s multi-effects pedal kept breaking during the show. This was immediately replaced, while Sensible managed to keep the waiting crowd entertained by lamenting the loss of the pedal, which he called his “talent booster.” This didn’t break up the set at all; in fact, the band talked to the crowd every time there was a break between songs (and occasionally during, too).
Overall, it’s impressive that a band going for 40 years can create such a great show, especially one so low-budget compared to those being performed by their contemporaries.