The Damned Metro Theatre Sydney, AU March 10, 2017
Musically and artistically, The Damned has always been one of the most accomplished and versatile forefathers of punk and alumni of the class of 1976, both shaping and enriching the formula that was coined by The Clash and Sex Pistols with their own gothic, pop and psychedelic twists.
40 years after The Damned’s inception, the band is far from a nostalgia act and tonight’s tight, frantic and brawny set is testament to the band’s legacy, relevance and niche they have carved out for themselves.
The sole constant member of the operation, vaudevillian Dave Vanian, has aged graciously, which is not a very common occurrence among Goth royalty, still appearing formally dressed yet less heavy on the make up and melodramatic cabaret, and still effortlessly commanding the loyal crowd with one of the smoothest crooning voices in rock. Captain Sensible with his trademark tartan bondage pants, denim vest, sunglasses and adorned with his signature red beret caters to the other end of the spectrum, propelling the irresistible adrenalin rush that is The Damned forward.
The Damned is an institution.
With a back catalogue that is smothered with a plethora of genre defining hits, Captain Sensible and comrades meandered through the different phases of their oeuvre from the amphetamine addled jittery, sinister punk with acid prog-rock of the 1980s (from their Strawberries, Phantasmagoria and Anything albums), with which they survived the demise of the first wave of English punk rock, to their more straight forward, energetic iconic numbers from their classic early emissions Damned Damned Damned and Machine Gun Etiquette albums.
If you get a chance, make sure to witness one of the truly great and often overlooked groups of the 1970s punk and early 1980s proto-Goth eras that is still brimming with deadpan cool.
They do not make them like that anymore.
Photos by T