The last time I saw The Damned play live was on a Summer's day some years ago(!) in August at Brockwell Park in London. The crowd of mainly teenagers and twenty-somethings had come out to support a one-day free festival in support of The GLC! The Damned topped the bill that also included New Model Army, Spear Of Destiny and The Fall. Margaret Thatcher was PM, the miners strike was 5 months in and glue sniffing was still rife. There was an air of agitation throughout the day and a real sense of disillusionment amongst the disenfranchised youth of the day.
Fast-forward nearly 34 years, from South East London to the South East coast and Folkestone's Leas Cliff Hall, another Tory-led government still reigns and the unenthralled youth are still being seduced by the left wing, but The Damned play on (I dare say if you'd have asked them back in '76 if they thought they'd still be gigging you'd have got a different answer). The sexagenarians on stage were mirrored in part by those in the crowd. Messrs Vanian and Sensible looked to have weathered the intervening years splendidly though. The Captain may have gone grey and Dave's widows peak may have become a little more pronounced but they clearly hadn't lost their appetite to entertain.
With their first new album in 10 years, the Tony Visconti produced 'Evil Spirits', due out this year and on the back of last year's 40th anniversary celebrations of their (and arguably Punk's) first single release, The Damned were definitely buoyed up. Gustav Holst provided the theatrical opening score before the band arrived on stage to be met by a huge cheer from the crowd. 1980's 'Wait For The Blackout' kicked things off before two more from 'The Black Album', 'Lively Arts' and 'Silly Kids Games'. The lead single from their latest, crowd-funded album ("Thank you very much, you've paid for it", The Captain quipped) was the first of the new tracks to be aired. The reflective 'Standing On The Edge Of Tomorrow' slotted into the set with ease combining a vintage Damned sound with a refreshed vigour.
Continue reading: The Damned - Leas Cliff Hall, Folkestone 6.2.2018 Live Review
This summer is shaping up to be one of Camden's best.
More artists have been added to the roster for 2017's Camden Rocks Festival this summer, including The Coral and Reverend and The Makers. So far it's expected to be one hell of an event, with the UK's first punk band The Damned set to headline.
Camden Rocks Festival 2017
There are still 150 more acts that are yet to be announced, but it has been officially confirmed that The Coral, Reverend And The Makers, Zodiac Mindwarp & The Love Reaction, Love Zombies and Asylums will be joining the mass of artists that have previously been mentioned. There will be 250 acts altogether, spread across no less than 25 of Camden's top venues.
Dave Vanian and The Damned - The Damned perform at the SSE Arena, Wembley on one of three UK dates as an opener for Motorhead at The SSE Arena London - London, United Kingdom - Saturday 8th November 2014
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