After last year’s successful dalliance with the old flame of Scabies – James – Vanian & Sensible it seemed about right and proper that the Modern Damned got back in the saddle for some live shows in support of their new album. This the first night of the UK tour sees the band return to Cardiff Uni the city of many great nights in Damned history being the city that had four Damned bassists on stage at once (The now long gone Point Venue) New Ocean Club was the venue where the MCA years took off and who could forget the Night Vanian decided not to go on tour and carnage ensued at the hippo club.
The Damned in 2023 are a more altogether (cough cough) professional unit. With New drummer Will Taylor sitting in the band launch into ‘Street Of Dreams’ to open the show with a sound system that is absolutely top of the shop and every clanging Paul Gray note and the deft touch of the new boy that was seamless and a pleasure to hear driving the songs on in the engine room letting Sensible do his usual sterling job on the guitar.
The second track was ‘The Invisible Man’ before shifting gears through some old classics from ‘Wait For The Blackout’ and an epic ‘Lively Arts’ Vanian then introduced the audience to tracks off the new album thats coming out next month but it wasn’t going to be one or two new tracks the band were going to showcse the flaming lot! Now I know there are your hardcore who will never be pleased with whatever they decided to delve into from their almost half a century of songs but we’ve done the original line up, The Paladium extravaganze the the Black Album anniversery or the Machine Gun in full sets so it seems right and fitting that the band throw a curve ball and play the whole new album. Me, I’m well up for that I’ve seen the band play almost 100 times and as much as I love a ‘Fan Club’ or a ‘Limit Club’ or recently getting a raft of ‘Music For Pleasure songs on the reunion shows this was something else and I love that about the Damned so bring it on.
‘Motorcycle Man’ sounded fantastic and overall I know it was live but the songs knocked spots off the lukewarm last album and they had more bite and energy about them. and before you knew it ten new songs out of the opening thirteen were done. If you left the venue then it’s your loss but the Damned audience can be a tough crowd sometimes but I think the majority were with me and love it.
There was still time as the band sounded tighter than usual and certainly looked to be enjoying the set and the reception they were getting new boy Will was certainly driving them on with a performance that was more Rat like than I was expecting and it only helped spur on the performance. ‘Born To Kill’ kicked into an epic ‘Love Song’ which in turn segued into ‘2nd Time Around’.
There was time for two encores consisting of ‘Eloise’before ‘Smash It Up’ was ruthlessly played before the excellent ‘Girl Stop’ bowed out, leaving us where it always began with ‘New Rose’ and we were done. Captain showed his appreciation and promised to return if they were all still alive at some point down the road and I left happy. Another day another impressive Damned show – Me I fuckin love em and if I could only see one band again it would be this bunch of rogues and their immense catalogue of songs.
Author: Dom Daley