After the last-minute cancellation of Alt-Fest, The Damned stepped up to play The Forum in London with The Defiled in tow. Here's what we learned...
Cheer Up, Goffs
Okay, so they’re not goths, but tonight The Defiled are intent on playing the negative card. Their appearance might be incongruous to the otherwise goth-themed bill but it doesn’t mean they can’t play the show of their lives and maybe even win over some new fans in the process. Instead we get Stitch Defiled continuously apologising for being “too heavy” and The AvD even coming out with the corker “so who can’t wait for us to fuck off so you can watch The Damned?” Dudes, play it, not say it.
The AvD Is Still A Nutter
Does the AvD actually play his keyboard? Tossing it around like it’s some sort of rocket-fuelled pancake, The Defiled’s madcap keyboardist does strange things to his instrument – but it’s his relentless energy, coupled with Stitch’s iron will to succeed and some seriously good industrial-tinged metal that makes this band from the Big Smoke get better with every gig (despite the awkward self-loathing). There’s no Call To Arms this time but No Place Like Home brings a decimating slab of thrash-meets-doom that seems even heavier in the context of tonight’s gig.
Amen For Festival Cancellations…
…if it means we get to watch The Damned in the intimacy of The Forum. After the complete mega fail that was Alt-Fest sinking to its knees, the UK’s pioneering punk band get to play a one-off last minute show at The Forum in London. Yes, it sucks that the festival organisers couldn’t get their shizzle together for a weekend packed full of goth, metal, punk and industrial acts – but on the upside The Damned play an absolute stormer of a show in front of a thousand willing fans.
The Damned Matter
The Damned were the first ever UK punk band to release a single (New Rose, FYI). They played with the Pistols, recorded in Wessex Studio at the same time as The Clash recorded London Calling, were the first British punk band to tour the United States and influenced a bazillion bands including Misfits and My Chemical Romance. Oh, and Lemmy played with them for a bit. If that doesn’t make The Damned pretty fucking cool, we damn well don’t know what does. What’s more, they’re not decrepit, not needlessly anarchic and they have a wicked sense of humour courtesy of Captain Sensible’s risqué quips alluding to Cliff Richard and a cursory “Alt Fest, what was all that about?”
It’s Punk, But Not as We Know It
Former gravedigger Dave Vanian always had gothic intentions for The Damned even if they started as a hard and fast punk band. Tonight their brooding sound makes for a diverse and endlessly enthralling set from The Cult-ish Ignite from ‘82’s Strawberries, the pop sensibility of Disco Man, New Rose and Love Song’s quick-fire punk patter and I Just Can’t Be Happy Today in its British gloom. Unlike some retro acts that feel like they are stuck in the past, The Damned still sound remarkably fresh and a riotous encore of Smash It Up seals the deal.