Half a century of Anarchy and Chaos and a bit of downtime as well to be fair, but in the main, The Damned have never let me down and when their output has been; shall we say less than palatable they’ve delivered live over and over and they’ve kept evolving and therefore keeping themselves relevant as they move into the twilight years disgracefully still making new music and hit or miss doing it their way and I love that about the band. A friend once described The Damned as his Beatles or Elvis and I totally got that because their my Rolling Stones as well God Bless them and all who sail under the Damned flag.

Anyway ‘Darkadelic’. Seemed to rise like a phoenix with the first couple of tracks leaked out into the ether with videos and like Marmite fans either loved it or loathed it there can be no in-between it would seem. The recent tour they’ve undertaken was punctured mid-set with the whole album played in its entirety and for some it was unwelcome and for others (like me) it was most welcome (let’s be honest here whilst its always nice to hear New Rose and Smash it up I want to hear new songs especially if they are decent and that’s where I have to begin these songs are indeed pretty bloody decent).

This is not The Damned who released ‘Machine Gun Etiquette those days are gone – time moves on and that is their past neither is it The Damned who hit paydirt during the MCA years of lift music and if I’m honest I didn’t much like the last studio outing either but this is a more focussed record, a more energetic record and the songs stand tall and have plenty of punch that was certainly missing off the last release. These guys don’t sound like men who should be on their allotments rather than making a racket in Acton studios weaving their Gothic, psychedelic ditties that have melody and relevance in the year 2023.

Starting with the mid-paced ‘Invisible Man’ is Vanian rolling back the years and delivering a masterclass in Gothic vocal and melodies that is instantly recognisable whilst Sensible again shows he has the chops that he probably doesn’t get enough credit for as far as openers go this one is strong.

One of the songs that worked best on the recent live shows was the energetic ‘Bad Weather Girl’ where a Sensible vocal works best and the swirling keys add atmosphere to a top tune punctuated by that unbelievably hypnotic flurry of bass notes courtesy of the maestro Paul Gray as the song weaves its course through some impressive soloing from the Captain. To follow it up with the riff-heavy ‘You’re Gonna Realise’ with its sumptuous chorus that changes gears in a classic Vanian way and the trinity of Sensible Riffola meets Gray’s thump topped off with Vanians ear for a twisted melody is majestic.

Next up is the Damned doing their best political commentary on ‘Beware Of The Clown’ built around another impressive chop from Mr Sensibles six-string as Gray weaves in between the strokes. There is more than enough dirt being spat from the speakers as Vanian strokes your ears with his lush deep tones.

So far so good, I hope we’re all sitting comfortable and used the bathroom as ‘Western Promise’ has a ‘Black Album’ meets ‘Phantasmagoria’ feel to it. Another excellent vocal for Vanian. That Gothic haunting style the band do so well jostles to be heard on ‘Wake The Dead’ and half way through this record and I’m quietly impressed so far. This record is instantly gratifying and also slow burning therefore messing with my reviewers ear. I’m waiting for the next one to maybe hit the buffers but its not happening and there is a little voice inside my old head screaming at me, “this si why I love the Damned” they deliver the good when I wasn’t expecting it and thus far in there is no filler only songs that are taking me to various places through their career and dumping me in the here and now 2023 The Damned are churning out excellent songs on an excellent album and I love it.

‘Follow Me’ is a bonafide garage rock stonker. Then, follows that with the barking rabid dog that is ‘Motorcycle Man’ and give to give Monty his props he fingers a mean swirling Garage organ (oo-er Mrs) throughout and it’s not overpowering but sympathetic to the songs and works a treat adding another texture to the most welcome guitar heavy songs. ‘From Your Lips’ lays back as the penultimate offering is lowering the heart rate with yet more sweet solos that elevate already impressive songs.

Finally we reach the end and ‘Roderick’ sees Vanian get his brushes out to paint one last gothinc masterpiece, his tongue firmly in his cheek for a candlelit finale of epic, not too overstated grandiousity that only the Damned can get away with and once again Vanains vocals deliver sounding like a man half his age. since James left Vanain moved forward from the shadows and grew into his role and has spent the last 30 years showing why he is at the top of his trade and has no equal, a masterclass of dark arts and velvet smooth tones a great twist at the end of a very impressive album.

It’s been a crazy half-a-century journey for Vanian and Sensible and all who sail on the good ship Damned. If this is to be their last studio recording then they’ve delivered a smouldering, punchy masterclass, at times sensitive others astute and always on their terms. God I love the Damned and ‘Darkadelic’ is a welcome release into a catalogue that has more ups than downs as well as a smattering of magic moments that haven’t been equalled by anyone. It once again shows how bloody good they are at their chosen craft. Long Live The Damned and their Darkadelic brilliance.

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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

The Damned’s upcoming shows have been rescheduled to 2022.  The events will now take place in Feb 2022-

11th Feb for Glasgow, 12th for Manchester whilst Birmingham is now set for the 16th Feb and the two London shows

Friday 9th July 2021 moves to Friday 18th February 2022   

Saturday 10th July 2021 moves to Saturday 19th February 2022 

They will be joined on tour by the following guests:

Friday : Special guests Skids + TV Smith & The Bored Teenagers + Small Town Tigers

Saturday: Special guests Wildhearts + Penetration + Small Town Tigers


THE DAMNED original line-up has reunited for a UK tour featuring the founding members Dave VanianRat ScabiesCaptain Sensible and Brian James.


*If you cannot attend the rescheduled date, you are eligible for a refund* for the face value of your ticket(s).

All tickets must be returned to and received by us prior to the rescheduled date. Please return them, along with a quick note stating your order number to: Eventim Customer Services, PO Box 75668, London, WC1A 9QE.

(Please note: we recommend sending tickets via recorded delivery, as we cannot issue a refund if these are lost in transit)

If your tickets are TicketDirect (print at home), for venue collection, or if you haven’t received them, please contact our customer service team at customerservice@eventim.co.uk.

*All refunds are subject to our Terms and Conditions of Sale, which can be found here: https://www.eventim.co.uk/help/terms/

2020 has been a year that we all would rather forget due to the pandemic live shows have been sorely missed so any new music we must grab with two hands so that brings me to the latest EP release by The Damned titled ‘The Rockfield Files’.

The Damned has recorded some of their classic material at Rockfield and the welsh studio was where the band decided to record their last album Evil Spirits.

‘Keep em’ alive’ is the first track on Rockfield files and it doesn’t disappoint with a chanting intro the track then bursts into life with guitars and drums crashing in and with Dave Vanian’s glorious vocals over the top the tune is a sure-fire winner.

‘Manipulator’ is next up and is a melodic punk ripper with sneering vocals from Dave and some great slashing chords on the guitar courtesy of the Captain.  This track also contains some powerhouse drumming from Pinch who sadly said goodbye to the band and with the Palladium and now this EP as his swansong he is leaving on an extreme high.

The spider & the fly’ is an interesting track as the beginning sounds like something off ‘Phantasmagoria’ but quickly morphs into the psychedelia of “The Black Album” and shows what a diverse band The Damned are.

The last track ‘Black is the Night’ is a song most Damned fans will know as it was the bonus track on the anthology of the same name released last year albeit this is an extended version and a welcome edition here for any fan who has not picked it up.

Overall this EP is top quality with some more great songs from such a great band.

Do yourself a favour and go and buy it and cheer yourself up cause after the last couple of months we all need some happiness in our lives and what better way to do that than with music.

Buy ‘The Rockfield Files’ Here


Author: Gareth ‘Hotshot’ Hooper

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!


Author: Dom Daley

Bryn Merrick was a member of Cardiff-based punk band Victimize long before he joined the Damned. He joined The Damned where he survived as bass player from 1983 to ’89. He’d replaced Paul Gray, who had left for UFO. Merrick’s first release with the Damned was the single “Thanks for the Night” b/w “Nasty”. As bassist on the bands most commercial and commercially successful albums  ‘Phantasmagoria’ and ‘Anything’ Bryn had arrived in the big time. 

Bryn made his TV debut on the set of the Young Ones where the band performed the fantastic single ‘Nasty’ still with the Captain on board but, it would seem not for long before he fell overboard. Bryn played the two dates at Finsbury park under the circus tent for the bands Tenth Anniversary Tea Party celebrations and was then featured on the Old Gray Whistle Test recording in Denmark where the band had a pretty decent feature.  The band had never had it so good at that period and after the success of ‘Grimly Fiendish’ and subsequent singles around the album there were high budget videos recorded as well as plenty of sold out shows. The high point of this period had to be the bands cover of ‘Eloise’ which saw them hit the top three in the UK singles chart. The band managed to stay a stable entity for several years thanks in no small part to the inclusion of Jugg and Merrick although stable might be a poor choice of word seeing as the tomfoolery and high jinx would continue a plenty with Merrick complaining of being set alight by Scabies as well as trashing the set of Rock the Dock in Liverpool on a promo performance of Anything ahead of the album release.

They rode the success as they pushed on with the more commercially accessible ‘Anything’ album the band was playing to big crowds every night and with Bryn and Roman occupying the guitar department the band seemed to be doing well but something was indeed rotten in the heart of Denmark and the band imploded after a time of inactivity and sitting around waiting for something to happen which did but this time it was without Jugg and Merrick. who bowed out when the ‘Light At The End Of The Tunnel’ was released at the tail end of the ’80s.  It was fun whilst it lasted and Bryn enjoyed the trappings of success and the fast living of Proper tour busses and half decent hotels.

With the return of Captain several years later Bryn only became newsworth in Damned circles due to his health issues and one we hoped he would win.It was during the making of the movie ‘Don’t You Wish That We Were Dead’ it became apparent that both Bryn and Paul were being treated in the same place by the same Doctor.  Sadly the last time I saw Bryn was during a questions and answers session when the film had a screening in Cardiff Chapter Arts Centre where both Paul and Bryn were present with the film maker and seemingly in good spirits taking candidly about their time in the band.  Sadly Bryn never fully recovered from his diagnosis and on this day in 2015 he lost his battle with the disease.

His time in the Damned will be fondly remembered by many fans and I personally loved following the band around during that period at some pretty amazing shows.  Bryn was a character and filled some pretty hefty shoes in The Damned from Captain, Algy and Paul He last played with the band at a show at Cardiff Point where the Damned had 4 bass players on stage at the same time not something you see every day.  Captain, Paul, Stu and Bryn it was great to see but I think there were a couple up there who’d had a sherry or two but it was fun to be there for that.  Bryn sadly lost his battle on this day in 2015 but not before signing off Facebook with,”Goodbye, Signing out for a while”.  Gone But Not Forgotten Rest in peace Bryn Nos Da for now.