After the punk scene imploded around 1979 The Damned weren’t your average three chord punk rock band – they knew how to play, but by ’79 it was over for most. There was a new wave, but then along came the Goths… and Dave Vanian had the perfect vampire look to lead the scene from the front – well, until that peaked and fizzled out, Not that those scenes ever died – the Damned have mixed both and contributed to keeping Punk and Goth music alive. Tonight it’s strictly the early punk side.
Several splits and reformations later, and with Captain Sensible back in the fold (and even a tour support with Rob Zombie), The Damned had rebuilt themselves by 2002 – which was when I first saw them live, just a couple of blocks down the road at the Renfrew Ferry.
Tonight, again it’s the frontline of Vanian and Sensible that lead the attack, but welcoming back – and playing at the back – original members Scabies and Brian James; the latter looking like he’s turned up for a Lynyrd Skynyrd comeback (maybe he missed the “dress in black” memo, or forgot how they looked back then).
They rattle through the first two albums with a renewed energy, the sparks flying with every song. I slip to the front through the cardboard statuette crowd to take a couple of photos (well, they are a bit too old to pogo, lol), but sadly the crowd lack the energy of Dave and The Captain, who for a finale take turns in smashing the bass guitar off the stage.
Many fans moaned inside and out about the £70 ticket price, probably the reason for the band cheekily choosing ‘You Take My Money’ as the second track in tonight’s set, but it was worth every penny to go back to taste that 1976 punk rock buzzzzz.