The Damned performing their 40th Anniversary Tour at Rock City Nottingham on Sunday 13th November 2016

Images and Review by Kevin Cooper

The Damned were the prime movers on the London punk scene back in 1976, as they were responsible for releasing UK punk’s first single, its first album, before also being the first to split up, albeit fleetingly in the Autumn of 1977. Having played their debut tour 37 years ago, supporting T Rex, these days there is only Captain Sensible and the gothic camp Dave Vanian who remain from that original line up.

Now touring to celebrate their 40th Anniversary, it was a packed Rock City that turned out to help them celebrate. Coming onto the stage to deliver Sanctum Sanctorum, a track from their 1985 Phantasmagoria, saw Pinch on drums, Stu West on bass, Monty Oxymoron on keyboards, and with his trademark red beret and tartan trousers, was guitarist Captain Sensible. Dave Vanian brought a slick vampire cool to punk rock before there was any such thing as goth, and last night he maintained his mystique by letting the Captain do most of the talking.

Performing a set of two halves, the second was dedicated to their 1977 album Damned, Damned, Damned, and it saw Vanian spitting out the lyrics to Neat Neat Neat as though they were a vehement accusation. The song that started it all, New Rose still got the pulse racing, whilst the richness of Vanian’s vocals in Feel The Pain was nothing short of magnificent.

But it wasn’t all about this album. The first half saw a really tight rendition of Nasty as well as a blistering Ignite and a seldom heard Anti-Pope. Finishing this half with a frantic Smash It Up, The Damned showed that they have lost none of their enthusiasm for their craft. The crowd were absolutely thrilled to see Vanian’s assured and confident stage presence and the Captain’s outstandingly brilliant guitar work.

With Marco Pirroni, the former guitarist with Adam And The Ants in the audience, The Damned showed that they are real rockers who still have it in them to entertain, and this appreciative audience would no doubt agree. Here’s to the next anniversary.