Performing their long awaited, twice rescheduled tour with their original 1976 lineup, The Damned did one-off UK performances which saw them play their entire debut album, ‘Damned Damned Damned’, in full across two sellout dates in London.

Entering to the Doctor Who theme tune, the band – founding members Dave Vanian (vocals), Captain Sensible (bass), Brian James (guitar) and Rat Scabies (drums) – began their show on ‘I Feel Alright’, a Stooges cover of ‘1970’ from their debut album.

They moved into the rest of the album tracks, mostly written by James and featuring his chorded riffs such as in ‘Born To Kill’, but also the perturbed guitar of ‘Feel The Pain’, which they took the time to flesh out. James leant against an amp for most of the show, only occasionally standing up to perform due to his ill health.

The band raced through the remainder of the set, with favourites such as ‘Fan Club’ through to their second single ‘Neat Neat Neat’; songs from second studio album, ‘Music For Pleasure’, including ‘Stretcher Case Baby’ and ‘Problem Child’, were interwoven in, without much between-song-talk which replicated their early shows.

However, although giving a rare insight into this early phase, the performance was lacklustre and basic, without band chemistry and poor sound (Scabies was almost invisible) despite the set being assumedly well rehearsed. The cheesy banter between Vanian and Sensible was also missing the note and, without the firey, punk energy that has become synonymous with their brand, it became monotonous.

Although things improved with ‘See Her Tonite’ and ‘Alone’, the latter featuring choking bass and superb high pitched guitar, they poorly ended their main set on ‘So Messed Up’. The Damned returned for an encore of their 1976 debut single, ‘New Rose’, and two rock ‘n’ roll covers to end a disappointing show that proves that nostalgia trips after punk as a genre has been exhausted are not all they crack up to be.

28/10/22: The Damned @ Eventim Apollo, London.

Photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.