LIVE REVIEW: The Damned @ Forum, London (24/04/2014)Thom Williams
LIVE REVIEW: The Damned @ Forum, London (24/04/2014)
PositivesThe ultimate birthday bash for Captain Sensible - this is one "support slot" you wouldn't want to follow up. Brilliant.
NegativesNothing from album #2 - but beggars can't be choosers...
Tonight at The Forum we witnessed the passing into old-aged treachery of one of Punk’s original founders. The man who turned his bass into a guitar, who ruined South Pacific for thousands of middle-aged women and who left, then returned to THE only punk band worth mentioning – The Damned. Tonight, it’s Captain Sensible’s 60th birthday party with ticket prices a celebratory £1.70, to remind us all of the prices during punk’s heyday.
The setlist consisted of songs from the era of the first five albums only (i.e. the era before the Captain left the band before subsequently rejoining), the albums often most loved by fans (with only ‘Music For Pleasure’, the second album, left unrepresented [see below]). We also got a couple of the Captain’s solo outings, notably the usual hysterically raucous “Happy Talk” and the anti-Falklands statement of “Glad It’s All Over”.
On a slightly strange note though, despite tonight being all about The Damned and the Captain, they’re weren’t the headline band. Instead the final set of the night is left to Ruts DC; a personal choice of the Captain, apparently to allow him to enjoy the party too. However, going on stage slightly earlier only seemed to reinvigorated the band’s energy levels for a band that have always had energy levels through the roof even in their latter years. Singer Dave Vanian remained a whirling dervish on stage – pirouetting and spinning his way through the set while the Captain pulled faces like a weightlifter every time a guitar solo shot out. Keyboardist Monty was still the mad scientist behind the keyboards while Stu and Pinch have remained the tightest most capable rhythm section of any band still going after nearly 40 years of anarchy, chaos and destruction.
All in all, tonight was just about the perfect Damned gig. The length and content of the set were simply stunning. The smiles and joy remained clear. This was a the celebration of a man who has, for anyone with a connection to this band and this era, provided more fun, more enjoyment and more never-ending abuse and ‘wanker’ songs than anyone else delivered faultlessly.
WORDS AND PHOTOS: DAN AITCH