Rock veterans Alfie Agnew (Adolescents, D.I.), Sean Elliott (D.I., Mind Over Four), Paul Gray (The Damned, Eddie & the Hot Rods) & Rat Scabies (Sinclairs, The Damned) share the first video from forthcoming album Séance

 

Séance is released by Fullertone Records on November 13, 2020 – Yellow vinyl, CD and digital pre-orders are available now at the group’s new Bandcamp store and at Website

Sung by Agnew, who takes center stage in the video, “Time Machine” is a psychedelicized stroll through cultural and political events of the last century. Additionally, the clip features footage of Elliott, Gray and Scabies during PATM’s live debut at London’s 100 Club in 2018, cartoon versions of the band members designed by NYC artist Cliff Mott, a Madness-influenced “nutty boy” dancer, and a not-so-menacing plastic dinosaur. Agnew’s white lab coat isn’t merely a costuming prop; for his day job, Agnew is a mathematics professor at Cal-State Fullerton.

“’Time Machine’ says a lot about how Sean and I feel about the state of affairs in the world—all the tumult—and it’s even more relevant now than when we were writing it a year ago,” says Agnew. “The song’s title works on a couple of levels. It ties in with the concept of revisiting our youth which is at the heart of the new album, and it also references the music of the 1960s-1980s which greatly influenced our new set of songs. Although I initially thought the main muse for ‘Time Machine’ was Wings-era Paul McCartney, I quickly realized Brian Wilson was also in our heads. I guess you could say we were channeling Paul McWilson.”

Website | Artist Page | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Spotify | ReverbNation

‘GET BACK INTO THE WORLD’ – BRAND NEW STUDIO ALBUM FEATURING CAPTAIN SENSIBLE AND PAUL GRAY FROM THE DAMNED, WITH JOHNNY MOPED DRUMMER MARTY LOVE

 

RELEASED NOVEMBER 27TH VIA DAMAGED GOODS RECORDS

 

Album pre-order is Here

Back in 2013, when the world was still pretty weird, but markedly less bizarre than it is now, Captain Sensible and then former Damned bassist Paul Gray reunited for an album called ‘A Postcard From Britain’ under the name The Sensible Gray Cells. This was long before Paul Gray re-joined The Damned for their ‘Evil Spirits’ album in 2018 and allowed the pair to reacquaint their musical partnership and explore their love of the quintessentially British late 60s psych-pop period that has always been their passion.

 

And now, with live music derailed for the foreseeable future and 2020 already proving to be an unforgettable year for all of the wrong reason, Sensible and Gray were inspired to reignite their Sensible Gray Cells persona, together with Johnny Moped drummer Marty Love, for ‘Get Back Into The World’, released via Damaged Goods Records this coming November 27th.

 

“PG and myself being garage psych aficionados feel there should be more of this kind of music and this is our contribution to the cause,” explains the Captain. “If I said that some of these songs were ‘Damned rejects’ that shouldn’t be seen as an indication of inferior song writing, more that they’re not wearing the right shirt.”

 

“I’ve never been a prolific writer being a lazy so and so, I think it’s best to wait for inspiration to call, which explains the 7 year gap ( how many albums could the Beatles have crammed in that period!) but in the meantime Paul re-joined the Damned and we’ve gigged about a bit, which is always fun – CAN WE HAVE LIVE MUSIC BACK AGAIN PLEASE!”

 

‘A Postcard From Britain’ was a snapshot of modern life and similarly, ‘Get Back Into The World’ provides a comparable document.

 

“It’s sad that high streets around the world have been destroyed by online shopping but nobody’s forcing people to do it – what can you do,” he states. “These are very strange times we’re living though – I just count myself lucky to have been around to witness the 2nd half of the 20th century; a fab time for music, culture, ideas and that without even mentioning Benny Hill and On The Buses. The new album coincides with all this virus malarkey, which, unpleasant as it is will undoubtedly be used by the powers that be to tighten the screws on us little people on behalf of their billionaire paymasters. Blah blah, etc. There’s a bit of that hidden away in the album.”

 

Back in June, listeners got their first taste of the new Sensible Gray Cells in the form of the ‘So Long’/’What’s The Point In Andrew?’ seven-inch, now long since sold out. Show-casing what to expect from the album, the strutting rock n’ roll of ‘So Long’ was a stark contrast to the whimsical royal-baiting of ‘What’s The Point Of Andrew?’ (“Known forever as the royal spare”) and shows the variety of moods and styles on offer here.

 

Now comes ‘I Married A Monster’, a stomping 60s garage punk nugget that pays tribute to their love of old horror films.

 

“We love all those old Ealing comedies, ‘Carry On’ films and 1950’s hammy-horror movies like The Blob and I Married A Monster From Outer Space,” explains Paul. “This is our musical tongue-in-cheek spoof homage to them….after all, you never can quite be sure…can you??”

 

 

Get Back Into The World is available for pre-order in the following formats HERE:

The title track will also be released on a 7” single along with an exclusive B-side two weeks prior to the album release.

ALBUM OPTION ONE

An exclusive black and yellow splatter vinyl LP (12 tracks) + a black vinyl 12” single containing two extra tracks + a set of three signed postcards. Limited to 500 copies.

ALBUM OPTION TWO

Standard release grey vinyl LP (12 tracks)

ALBUM OPTION THREE

CD (14 tracks)

ALBUM OPTION FOUR

Cassette (14 tracks). Limited to 100 copies

‘Get Back Into The World’ 7” single featuring exclusive B-side ‘World of Confusion’

Blue vinyl – mail order only – Limited to 400 copies

Grey vinyl – mail order only – Limited to 400 copies

Clear vinyl – shops only – Limited to 400 copies

Find Sensible Gray Cells online at:

FACEBOOK / INSTAGRAM / TWITTER

As my learned colleague, Craggy waxed lyrically when he reviewed ‘Honked’ the first of these Anniversary albums from Diamond Dogs, I went on a journey down the Rock and ROll highway and played every Diamond Dogs album released and the overriding thought I had was –  Damn this band was smoking hot when they got in that groove.

They were honking on the whole Faces early ’70s Stones vibe and they were killing it every time and the most important thing was they had the tunes to go with the swagger and if those five albums were my gift to the world I’d be so proud of my band and the songs we’d created. Its quite some collection and as the band aged like a good wine they changed taste but remained true to their roots and sound.

On reflection, it seems like yesterday the band were rolling into my small village and pitching up their amps in a restaurant at the rear of my local boozer on a Sunday night after having a show in the City cancelled they then proceeded to Rock the socks off the locals with a wonderful and impressive set. These sets are pressed on vinyl as well as CD and contain a plethora of bonus tracks (singles B Sides) to wrap up the tunes from that period in a perfect set.

As Your Greens Turn Brown: After the keys introduce the listener with a bit of ‘Bloodshot’ before kicking up a shitstorm in the shape of the fantastic no holds barred ‘Goodbye, Miss Jill’ even now it makes me smile a five-mile smile when the band kicks in and the harmonica starts honkin’.

The record ebbs and flows superbly with the highs being particularly high and when the band gets going man they sounded authentic and passionate.  The lulls when they’d kickback. Their blend of Hammond and Rock and Roll overdrive mixed with a few horns stabs here and there is timeless. Let the good times roll on the ballsy ‘Hardhitter’ and then they can drop a few gears as they venture off into Small Faces territory via ‘Singing With The Alleycats’ it’s easy to see how these guys got gigs with Punk rockers like the Damned or Rockers like The Cult and Nazareth when you hear the raw ‘Bite Off’ with its too fast to live riff and with that variety in mind you pick up the flavour of just how talented a songwriter Sulo is and he lives these songs and wears them on his sleeve you can’t bluff Rock and Roll this good which is why he attracted the likes of Darrel Bath and Steve Klasson into the fold.

 

The band were comfortable letting go and cutting loose as they were doing the jig is up country-tinged ‘Anywhere Tonight’ as they were doing the whole Thin Lizzy duel guitar kick-off that had songs like ‘Boogie For Tanja’ being so effortlessly good. Then when they needed to turn down the lights they could glide into ‘Yesterdays Nymph’ in one fell swoop. When Sulo took the mood down he has a wonderful tone on his voice and as far as taking on the Brits doing the whole R&B thing there’s no contest Diamond Dogs were more consistent than a lot of their contemporaries churning out albums of exceptionally high quality and this bad boy is right up there with the best of them and when your B Sides are as good as your A-Sides you know you’re onto something.

Fifteen songs of exceptional quality its like they once said Too much is never enough! Bring on the next one and I’ll get me filled up on more trips down memory lane and promise myself to play these records more often they deserve it and so do you – Buy it!

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Buy Diamond Dogs Here

Author: Dom Daley

This fully restored and expanded set from Woolwich Coronet This 2020 version has been newly remastered and includes several tracks that were left off the original release! Includes all-new artwork with full liner notes and a personal message from drummer Rat Scabies !

Available on both digipak CD and a 2LP vinyl set in your choice of either RED or BLUE vinyl! I had this when it first came out many moons ago and loved it.  It captured the band at the time perfectly.  whilst they might have been at a commercial career-high the studio albums were a bit beige around the time of MCA but live they still had it and that tour was a blaze of fun.

Expanded to nineteen tracks this is well worth tracking down and getting hold of from the opening keyboards of ‘Curtain Call’ they were on fire. The quality of the recording is good as well not overdubbed nor flat this is a picture of a band living it large and doing it well. As you would expect there is a decent smattering of tracks from ‘Phantasmagoria’ and ‘Shadow Of Love’ particularly sound great. As does the much-maligned ‘Grimly Fiendish’ that I quite enjoy hearing live these days and back in the day or the mid-’80s to be precise it was quite a departure. It seems odd to hear tracks like ‘There’ll Come A Day’ played so fast and full of energy. that tour with The Fuzztones was exceptional and I have such fond memories of Cardiff New Ocean Club.

‘Gun Fury’ makes me smile as does the version of ‘Lust For Life’ 1985 seems like yesterday but its also so long ago.  when the Damned could have been and should have been we are left nuggets of pure Gold like this recording to remind us that it doesn’t matter what happened commercially because they were always the best and still are capable of amazing shows and the odd record that ignites a fire inside my heart and it seems odd to hear them end the set with a one two of ‘Disco Man’ Val Doonigan style followed by a rip-roaring slash of ‘Born To Kill’  If only all bands were this good.  Don’t think twice just buy it and revel in it. Fiendishly good!

Bandcamp

Author: Dom Daley

THE 2020 VIVE LE ROCK AWARDS GOES LARGE ON THE MAGAZINE’S TENTH ANNIVERSARY!

 

THE LEGENDARY ROCK ‘N’ ROLL EVENT CONFIRMED TO TAKE PLACE AT THE 02 SHEPHERDS BUSH EMPIRE APRIL 1ST

 

ICONIC 80S ROCKERS LORDS OF THE NEW CHURCH TO PLAY ONE-OFF REUNION WITH FINNISH HANOI ROCKS LEGEND MICHAL MONROE FRONTING AND MUCH MORE!

 

Staking its reputation as an essential rock ‘n’ roll date in the annual calendar, with two now fabled awards nights at the 02 Islington Academy in 2018 and 2019 which saw a vast array of iconic artists performing and rubbing shoulders, the 2020 Vive Le Rock Awards is confirmed to take place this coming April 1st.

 

This time, however, the event has gone bigger and bolder, moving to the 2000 capacity 02 Shepherds Bush Empire for the party of the year that also celebrates Vive Le Rock’s tenth anniversary in print, having published its first issue in 2010, it is now the world’s biggest rock ‘n’ roll and punk magazine, independently published by Big Cheese Publishing Ltd in London.

 

The two previous years have featured live appearances from The Damned, The Stranglers, Shakin’ Stevens, Suzi Quatro, members of AC/DC, Sex Pistols, The Specials, Buzzcocks and even England football legend Stuart Pearce, and 2020 continues to up the ante.

 

This year sees Original Rudeboy – The Specials Neville Staple joining the party along with a very special one-off reformation of 80’s goth rockers The Lords of The New Church, fronted by Finnish Hanoi Rocks legend Michael Monroe on vocals. The Vive Le Rockers all-star band will once again back specially invited singers and compere for the night will see the return of Ed Tudor-Pole of Tenpole Tudor fame (and also 80s T.V show, The Crystal Maze!).  Chrissie Hynde and the Pretenders are set to pick up an Icon Award and punk legend, The Damned’s Brian James will accept the Pioneer award. Two extra special guest performers are due to be announced soon along with a wealth of awards.

 

There will be a special section for rockers we have lost in 2019 including Gang Of Four’s Andy Gill, Eddie and The Hot Rods Barrie Masters (who played the 2019 VLR awards) and surf guitar legend Dick Dale.

 

The audience will comprise of invited members of the media, television, fashion and the music world as well as an allocation of tickets for the general public. The VLR Awards are a truly unique, international event celebrating the legends of our music scene. “This isn’t some chicken in a basket awards show, this is a party with the coolest people in rock n’ roll” said Vive Le Rock editor Eugene Butcher.

 

Tickets available HERE:

 

You can watch the action from the last two VLR Awards Here

 

2020 VIVE LE ROCK AWARDS!

2020 VIVE LE ROCK AWARDS! It's gonna be a wild night. Lords of the New Church- FEATURING Michael Monroe, Ed Tudor Pole, The Specials (Official) Legend From The Specials – Neville Staple, BRIAN JAMES- The Damned , 2 extra special acts and our Headline band! Plus All star guests and Presenters! Here's a sneak peak at the last 2 years.Tickets and VIP Packages at https://www.ticketmaster.co.uk/the-2020-vive-le-rock-awards-tickets/artist/5330131

Posted by Vive Le Rock on Monday, 27 January 2020

Some of the writers managed to send in their list of the top ten live shows they went to in 2019.  they attended hundreds of shows all over the place via trains, planes and automobiles.  On another day I’m sure these lists would change many times over.  RPM Online supports Rock and Roll and loves a live show and as you browse through the lists there are many genres covered as well as some familiar suspects there are many new entries this year.  We’d love to take this opportunity to thank all the bands who toured and played shows all over the UK and continue to do so, All the festivals that supported independent music from Rebellion Festivals and Camden Rocks to Steelhouse Festival in South Wales and all the festivals around Europe and wider thank you.  Continue to look after independent Rock and Roll and help it thrive and reach a wider audience if you want to get involved get in touch we always welcome fresh eyes and ears to spread the word: rpmonlinetcb@yahoo.com

 

 

Leigh Fuge 


John Mayer –  02 Arena London

Ryan Roxie –  The Asylum, Birmingham

Michael Monroe –  The Fleece, Bristol

The Cult –  University Great Hall, Cardiff

Kenny Wayne Shepherd –  City Hall, Salisbury

Kiss –  The Arena, Birmingham

Alice Cooper –  Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff

Paul Gilbert –  The Fleece, Bristol

The Wildhearts  – The Tramshed, Cardiff

FM & The Quireboys  – The Globe, Cardiff

Nev Brooks 
Pulled Apart By Horses – Newport Le Pub (Reviewed Here)

Primal Scream –  Great Hall Cardiff

Alice Cooper, MC50, The Stranglers – Motorpoint Arena Cardiff

Nick Cave – Millenium Centre Cardiff

Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Bar Stool Preachers – O2 Bristol

The Hip Priests, DC Spectres, Deathtraps – Le Pub Newport

The Wildhearts, Towers Of London – SWX Bristol

Wonk Unit – Drogonfly Pontypool

Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes – Sin City Swansea

Holy Holy – Tramshed Cardiff

 

 Gareth Hooper
Duncan Reid, Cyanide Pills, Bruno – Louisiana Bristol

Ginger & The Sinners – St John’s church Cardiff

Clowns, BBSC – The Exchange Bristol

Amyl And The Sniffers – Louisiana Bristol

Rich Ragany & The Digressions, The Speedways, More Kicks, The Spangles – The Blackheart London

The Wildhearts, Janus Stark – Komedia Bath

The Hip Priests – Le Pub Newport

Bar Stool Preachers, Rich Ragany & The Digressions – Clwb Ifor Bach Cardiff

Jim Jones & The Righteous Mind – Jacs Aberdare

The Stray Cats, Selector, The Living End – Hammersmith Eventime London

Johnny Hayward
Bar Stool Preachers, Rich Ragany & The Digressions, Social Experiment –  Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff (Reviewed Here)

The Hip Priests, Rotten Foxes, Flash House, Glitter Piss –  The Pipeline, Brighton

Rebellion Festival 2019 – Winter Gardens, Blackpool

Jim Jones & The Righteous Minds, Heavy Flames, Deathtraps –  Jacs, Aberdare

Death By Unga Bunga, Seek Warmth –  Hy Brasil, Bristol

Dboy, The Vega Bodegas, Nigel –  Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff

The Stray Cats, The Selector, The Living End –  Hammersmith Apollo, London

Grave Pleasures – The Fleece, Bristol

Pulled Apart By Horses, Baba Naga, Dactyl Terra –  Le Pub, Newport

Clowns, Broken Bones Gentleman’s Club, Glug – The Exchange, Bristol

Fraser Munro
Adam Ant – St Davids Hall Cardiff

Kiss – Kiss Kruise, Miami

Michael Monroe, Electric Eel Shock – The Fleece, Briatol

The Hip Priests – The Drippers, Deathtraps – JT Soar, Nottingham

Alice Cooper, MC50, Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff

Turbonecro, The Hip Priests – The Chameleon, Nottingham

Dboy – Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff

The Damned – KK’s Steel Mill. Wolverhampton

Skidrow, Backyard Babies – The Forum, London

the Wildhearts, Towers Of London – Tramshed, Cardiff

Ben Hughes
Michael Monroe – Brudenell Social Club, Leeds (Reviewed Here)

Duff McKagan/Shooter Jennings – Academy 3, Manchester

The Wildhearts – Stylus, Leeds

Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes – Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

Low Cut Connie – The Fulford Arms, York

Amyl & The Sniffers – Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

Ryan Hamilton Songs & Stories Show – Bloomfield Square, Otley

Tyla’s Dogs D’amour – The Fulford Arms, York

Levellers – The Minack Theatre, Cornwall

Hands Off Gretel – The Fulford Arms, York

Nigel Taylor 

The Stray Cats – O2, Birmingham

Saint Agnes – Plymouth Junction, Plymouth

The Wildhearts – Cavern, Exeter

Motörgoblin (Orange Goblin plays Motörhead) – St Moritz Club, London

Ginger Wildheart – St Johns Church, Cardiff

Queensryche – Islington Assembly Hall, London

Mother Vulture – End of the World Festival, Plymouth

Uriah Heep – Steelhouse Festival, Wales

Cradle of Filth – London Palladium, London

Ghost – Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff

Blaze Bayley – The Junction, Plymouth

Dom Daley
Rebellion Festival – Winter Gardens, Blackpool (Reviewed Here)

The Damned – London Palladium, London

Michael Monroe, Electric Eel Shock – The Fleece, Bristol

Duncan Reid &The Big Heads, Cyanide Pills, Bruno – Louisiana, Bristol

Amyl & The Sniffers – Lousiana, Bristol

Ginger & The Sinners – St Johns Church, Cardiff

Clowns – The Exchange, Bristol

Rich Ragany & The Digressions, The Speedways, More Kicks, The Spangles – Black Heart Camden, London

New Model Army – Tramshed, Cardiff

The Wonder Stuff – O2, Bristol

Until recently you’d have thought punk rock was invented by Malcolm McLaren and Bernie Rhodes and that’s about it nobody else was involved and the history books also tend to gloss over the real nuts and bolts and the details that really matter but those who know really do know.  Punk wasn’t invented by chancers or clothes shop owners it was invented by kids on both sides of the Atlantic who felt forgotten and lost and had something to rally against and one of the biggest magnets of the scene happens to have been one Brian James.  From the gushing introduction from Henry Rollins something of a punk rock fact nurd who actually puts things into perspective.  James deserves respect and with respect has carved one hell of a catalogue of work and reinvented himself several times and was a success every time.  I’m delighted to have this book in my hands and feast on the details and exquisite picture catalogue Wombat has amassed.

Brian was a visionary and someone people wanted to be around as this book will testify sure he borrowed heavily from the likes of Richards and Ashton and those Mc5s but he didn’t just copy them he went away and created a new sound and style that exploded for a brief second in time and the ripples are still being felt in and around our little corner of the world where music matters and not just being the first to this or that Brian made records that mattered and was above all life-changing and life-affirming.  This biography tells Brian’s story from dingy basements to where he is today still creating and everything in between.

I don’t want to tell Brians story (He’ll do that when he finally releases his autobiography) in the interim Wombat (who also has some excellent books on Johnny Thunders and Bryan Gregory & The Cramps) has gathered painstakingly some fantastic anecdotal memories and pictures to open up Brians world in music to the reader who if your a fan of all or many of Brians works you’ll find this a real treat. If you’re looking for the true embodiment of punk rock then you’ve found the holy grail Brian James is punk rock and as he said himself he didn’t do this for fame or fortune he did it because its the only thing he ever wanted to do and still is!  That warms the cockles of my heart and confirms what I’ve always known.  Brian James is a legend.

The book starts off right at the beginning and with a classic cowboy picture of James as a nipper and takes you through the various periods of his life – It’s not overly indulgent and keeps things brief but you do get a good picture of where he comes from and the man himself his first meeting with Johnny Thunders, Breaking up the Damned, the Pistols, Anarchy tour its all covered but just giving a brief outline and not reaching into minute details unlike many books on the subject of say the Anarchy Tour it was only a few weeks of one year move on people, please.

The book flows well and some of the pictures are fantastic as are a lot of the clips of tickets and bill posters that are reproduced which is really nice for us anoraks. The stuff around the Brains and Tanz Der Youth period then into Brians thoughts on touring with Iggy on ‘Soldiers’ and ‘New Values’ is great stuff but I wanted to get to the Lords stuff and it doesn’t disappoint with some fantastic pictures spread out over many pages then chapter seven and the Lords with some great insight from Dave (Treganna) and roadie and friend Ivor who knocked out one of the best quotes in the book when he is explaining that the band were forever on tour and they were indeed heady wild times and he’d tuned Brians guitars more times than Brian ever had Dave summary of recording ‘Like A Virgin’ is succinct and the picture taken from the photoshoot is hilarious. I could read about the Lords all day and night to me they were one of the magical bands in my lifetime and along with Hanoi Rocks will always hold a special place.

If you’re a fan then what’s not to like its an easy read and the pictures are great. John wombat has done a sterling job and pulled together a very readable book of one of my musical Heroes and on finishing this it’s only cemented my initial fanboy thoughts go to the link and click and pick up a copy you won’t regret it at all.  Now Mr. James get on with the autobiography this has only whet my appetite for more ramblings and pictures. buy it!

 

Buy ‘The authorised Biography Of Brian James’ Here

John Wombat

 

About two weeks after The Damned played a sell-out gig at the 2,286 capacity London Palladium the man who gave birth to The Damned and arguably British Punk is playing 3 ½ miles South West in the considerably smaller basement of the Troubadour Club in Earl’s Court. That man, of course, is Brian JamesBrian isn’t renowned for reeling off gig after gig in the same year. Normally, it’s just the one up at the 100 Club in July to mark the anniversary of The Damned’s first appearance there, but as John Wombat has just published his authorised biography of Brian, the subject matter is making an exception, with both before the gig signing the book and Brian putting his name to a veritable smorgasbord of memorabilia. Is it fair that Brian is consigned to such small club whereas The Damned can play the likes of The Royal Albert Hall, Madison Square Gardens and The Palladium? The simple answer is no, but having been at the Palladium gig I have to say in all honesty Brian’s gig was what I want a Punk gig to be all about; people standing on tables, hands pressed against the low ceiling to keep balance and to get a half-decent view, with the line between band and audience blurred because everybody is on top of everybody else. 

 

From where I was, if I’d had the devil in me, I could’ve put my hand out and detuned Brian’s Telecaster. Seeing Brian’s fingers almost drunkenly stagger across his fretboard with the strings vibrating unnaturally but still producing the most wonderful sound ever I caught myself muttering, as my jaw swung open, “Far. King. Ell”. Towards the end of the set when the opening chords of “I Feel Alright” rang out I had to look to see if the Ghost of Ron Asheton hadn’t descended onto the stage. The gig starts off with Brian playing a slow stripped-down drawn-out version of “Alone” that he tells us afterwards originally was written when he was in Bastard, his pre-Damned outfit. It’s not the first time Brian has reworked Damned songs in this manner as “Neat, Neat, Neat” got that treatment when played live in Tanz Der Youth. After “Walking About Naked” from his “Guitar That Dripped Blood” album and a blistering version of “Born To Kill” Alan Clayton, frontman with The Dirty Strangers, took to the stage to relieve Brian of vocal duties launching into Bo Diddley’s “Mamma Keep Your Big Mouth Shut”.

 

In the frontman stakes, Brain struck gold twice with Vanian and then Bator. Doing it for the third time I think is highly unlikely unless either Adam Becvare or Jake Hout wish to leave North America but Al, who pretty much is on home turf, knows how to work the crowd, welcoming everybody and then telling them to “Fuck off” with a huge grin on his face. His R’n’B vibe, when R’n’B actually stood for something good, is perfect for Brian’s live cross-section of a back catalogue that covers nearly all aspects of it; Damned, Solo, Lords of The New Church (Dave Tregunna was in attendance) and even The Stones get a look in, sadly no Mad For The Racket. Oh, to hear ‘Chewed Down To The Bone’ live and with his onetime London SS bandmates of Tony James and Brady in the crowd I wondered if they would join him for their version of “Fish”. Again this was not to be. However, author John Wombat donned a guitar for the set and show-closing song, “New Rose”. It was a perfect end to a perfect night. 

Brian is in the throes of writing his autobiography that he hopes will be out in 2021. In conjunction with the publication, Brain told me he hopes to have his own anthology released that will collate his non-Damned and Lords works together, with some surprising additions. For me, neither can come soon enough.    

Author: Armitage Smith

 

Having seen the Damned play well in excess of 50 times in all sized venues and festivals all across the land with various line ups and with varying end results to my evenings this was another of those must-attend shows from the never-ending list of must attend Damned shows from Original line up to seeing them perform with not on or two Damned bass players but four on stage at the same time to anniversary shows of varying years service in Circus tents to prestigious shows at the Roundhouse, Royal Albert Hall and Town and Country club to this the latest and most audacious project.  The Damned putting on a show at the Palladium in London on a school night with a thousand vampires and a troupe of Circus freaks performing whilst the band plays.  What could possibly go wrong?

On my way to the venue, I reminisce about the time Vanian didn’t turn up in Cardiff and how far we seem to have come from that shambolic night and what on earth was about to unfold.  I expect the unexpected as far as the Damned goes because whatever we thought might have happened was probably always going to be wide of the mark but with Hammer Horror and Circus of Horror on board at least they wouldn’t let the curse of the damned fuck this one up could they?

We emerge from Carnaby Street to the rear of the venue where the horse-drawn Hurst resided after the funeral procession and entered the prestigious sold-out venue and as we took our seat (yup seats) the circus of Horror were being put through their paces as they swallowed swords of varying lengths and swung on trapeze by their teeth or contorted their bodies into unimaginable shapes we witnessed the elaborate stage set that was more in tune with the likes of Dio or Iron Maiden but this was The Damned and immediately you knew this wasn’t going to be just another live performance by a band I’d loved all my life pretty much. 

Before Sensible, Gray, Pinch (sat atop of the castle entrance) and Monty took to the stage with elaborate makeup and costumes and immediately you knew this was going to be something else, something altogether different from the norm, something you hoped it was going to be – not just another great set but a show, a performance, something out of the ordinary. , A show so totally Damned like.

The opening song of the evening’s act one was the haunting ‘Beauty Of The Beast’ and then bang! ‘Wait For The Blackout’ was introduced and Vanian entered the set looking every inch the Vampire he’s spent his life preparing for.  Hammer Horror had their man prepped and looing the part with his badger strip back for the evening as he proceeded to prowl the Palladium stage as if he had done so for the last few decades.  A natural performer in his oils it would seem of course he dreamt up this evening – this was Vanians night.

‘Plan 9’ followed quickly then it was time for the last single and the backdrop screen was providing some superb footage and the lighting was exceptional giving these songs the drama they deserved this evening. ‘Grimly Fiendish’, ‘Dr Jekyl’, ‘Shadow Of Love’ all sounded excellent and then it was time to Ham(mer) it up with haunting renditions of ‘Absynth’ with added trapeze artist swinging by the hair followed by ‘Under The Floor’  I have to admit when they get stuck into the Gray era of ‘Strawberries’ and ‘The Black Album’ I’m more than happy. Of course we had ‘Nasty’ and ‘Eloise’ complete with a string quartet (no expense spared) but ’13th Floor Vendetta’ was amazing as was the finale to the first Act a stunning play through ‘Curtain Call’ complete with the violin duel that was exceptional theatre darlings as Vanian prowled and Captain used his lager can to great effect before the curtain indeed fell as act one was done and we could all toddle off to pay extortionate money for a beer and an ice cream before act two was to unfold and how could they possibly top that?

Act Two.

Top that they jolly well did. ‘Tightrope Walk’ opened up part two followed by ‘The Dog’ but where is Vanian?  we can hear him but see him we cannot.  alas, all is to be revealed as he emerges is Nosferatu full makeup from the long fingers to the bald head and big ears. Brilliant makeup and totally fitting with the evening. Considering the prosthetics I’m amazed how he even spoke let alone sing and the fact he forgot a few lines here and there was understandable. ‘Neat Neat Neat’ made way to the biggest twist of the evening as they pulled off a blinding cover of ‘Bela Lugosi’s Dead’ for the middle section of ‘Neat’ but this still wasn’t panning out as a typical Damned encore if you like sure they did ‘New Rose’ and ‘Love Song’ but they also added a vamped cover of ‘People Are Strange’ before ‘Smashing It Up’ before finally calling it a night with the new song from the new compilation ‘Black Is The Night’ and after a final bow and a few words of wisdom from the departing Pinch we left via the exits and streamed out into the cold London night air having witnessed the craziest most daring evening of Damned entertainment in all their years of making noise noise noise.  

 

I’m glad I made the effort to attend it was indeed one of those special nights it wasn’t a typical gig it wasn’t your typical setlist but it was your typical Damned experience.  I’m sure there will be more Damned gigs to come where we can all throw beer down our necks and pogo to Machine Gun Etiquette and marvel at ‘Fan Club’ but tonight they did something different and my God they bloody well pulled it off! Still original, still loud, still the best and still The Damned! Now, as pinch succinctly put it as his last words as a member of the band, “Now Fuck Off!”

Author: Dom Daley

 

 

picture of Vanian Nosferatu used by kind permission from Dave Mayes.

As far as cover versions go I think its fair to say I didn’t see this one coming did you? Prima Dona unleash their inner teeny-bop with their take on ‘Cruel Summer’

Just incase that’s left you feeling slightly queazy why not cleanse your pallet with something by the Damned seeing as all roads today lead to the London Palladium for the night of a 1000 Horrors where the Damned will be playing one of their most audacious sets yet at the famous theatre. a fan-made video this time for one of the bands finest tunes never to make an album – please enjoy ‘Limit Club’

Finally seeing as this past week has been mostly about the live shows we’ve been to and with The Cult turning in one of their best live performances to date enjoy this slice of slick Rock that was taken from the film soundtrack ‘Gone In 60 Seconds’