The Damned have always been considered one of the top British punk bands.
They were ahead of the game releasing their first single in 1976, ahead of the other UK punk giants of the time, The Sex Pistols and The Clash. Forty years on and with a list of line-up changes as long as your arm, founding members Dave Vanian and Captain Sensible grace our Australian stages yet again.
The sold-out Brisbane show at The Triffid (15 March) saw Mick Medew and the Mesmerizers play to a receptive, early crowd.Click here for more photos.
Mick and his band played a set of Tribesman classics and a smattering of covers that had much in the crowd singing along. Mick thanked the audience for turning up early, in his typical modest way suggesting they were all there only to see The Damned.Mick Medew - image © Marc Austin-Zande
After a short break, Monty Oxymoron (current Damned keyboard player) came on to the stage and went to work, making outrageous sounds to a cheering, packed Triffid. When Sensible and Vanian entered the stage, the crowd erupted.
This is The Damned and after 40 years, they still turn the audience on, the only difference now is the age ranges from '18 to 70’. There were parents and their children there as well, a new generation of punks being inspired. The Damned do span generations of punk audiences and frankly, three generations at that.The Damned - image © Marc Austin-Zande
Immediately, Captain Sensible is in his element, being funny, cheeky and a true entertainer. He warns those in the front row that the band had visited Govindas early in the day and that he’d gone back for seconds then washed that down with ‘a few pints’. “With all this jumping around, I may vomit. I’d be worried if I were you, yes, YOU!” as he singles out a fan.
The hilarious banter between Sensible and Vanian as well as Sensible and the crowd continued throughout the set, a set that indeed spanned their entire recording career. There was plenty of ‘old-age’ humour among it too, both Sensible and Vanian acknowledging we’re not getting any younger.The Damned - image © Marc Austin-Zande
That was certainly reflected in the average age of the crowd, but it certainly didn’t slow them down: the crowd or the band. The energy on stage was electric and the crowd wasn’t too far behind, an audience I might add that was peppered with some of Brisbane’s, indeed Australia’s, punk identities.
After what seemed to be a fantastically long set, The Damned exited the stage, leaving behind an audience screaming for more. And of course, more is precisely what they got.The Damned - image © Marc Austin-Zande
And let’s face it, there was no way The Damned were going to end the night without playing the signature, 'Smash It Up'. By this time, I was at the back of the room and watching a sea of punters jumping around, dare I say it, ‘pogo-ing’ like the last 40 years never happened as The Damned ended the night with one of the iconic punk songs that spans the generations.
The day after, and there’s likely a run on anti-inflammatories as aching and aged joints come to terms with an amazing show.Click here for more photos.