The Damned - Islington Academy London

UK Punk survivors The Damned have been touting their trade in one form or another for over thirty years!
The band's current line consists of familiar Damned faces Dave Vanian and Captain Sensible, backed by Pinch on drums, Stu West on bass and Monty Oxymoron playing keyboards. The current line up has been together around four or five years and recently took to the road to promote their new studio album "So, Who's Paranoid?"

The band's Islington Academy gig was a showcase for the current release, with the venue extremely full for the show, even with an England football match on TV. There were a few fellow musicians in the audience, including Mike Peters from The Alarm, Ash drummer Rick McMurray and UK Subs front man Charlie Harper stood at the side of the stage, a perfect position for a bit of ribbing from Captain Sensible throughout the set!

The Islington audience seemed in great spirits and were very vocal in their demand for the band to take to the stage. They were rewarded with a slightly strange but successful opening with "There'll come a day" from mid 80's album "Phantasmagoria" kicking off proceedings. It was great to hear the song live again as I hadn't seen them play it in years.

Two tracks from the band's debut followed with "1 of the 2" and "Neat neat neat" speeding along like a runaway train, traveling a bit too quickly for my liking as they were the final two songs of my three song photo pit allocation. It's always preferable to witness slightly longer songs up close as there's more time to snap away!

I like shooting shows at the Academy as I usually manage to exit the pit stage right, squeezing myself into a space at the side of the front row, giving me a decent view for the rest of the evening.
A gorgeous rendition of "Dr Jeckyll & Mr Hyde' was up next, with the "Black album" song one of the highlights of the night.

"Under the wheels" was the first of the new tracks rolled out, slotting in well with the likes of "Under the floor" and "Diamonds" also sounding great amongst the old classics. A lot of the current album is reminiscent of the Damned's output around the time of "Strawberries" and "The black album" so the new additions to the Damned's recorded output didn't sound out of place rubbing shoulders with a few songs from that era, including "Curtain call", "Under the floor again" and "Ignite" , which seemed to receive one of the biggest reactions of the evening, with several people around me joining in with the chorus!

Alongside the numerous songs on offer there's always plenty of fun to be had at a Damned gig due to Captain Sensible's banter with the crowd. Suffering from a cold and moaning about it throughout the first part of the set he blew his nose on his large white towel, throwing it out into the audience after a large blast! It was returned boomerang style, covering his whole head, leading to numerous cat calls and heckling from the audience!

The good Captain was dressed for the show in a military style jacket leading to the band playing a snippet of an Adam And The Ants track towards the end of the set, with Sensible joking that Adam didn't need the coat as he was wearing a different type of jacket these days, receiving a wave of good natured boos from the audience!

Alongside some of the rarer songs on offer the band still had time to blast out the "Hits", with "New rose" and "Love song" creating a lot of "dancing" from the audience. The band finished the evening with "Smash it up", with the instrumental first part building the anticipation, creating an explosive finale when part two kicked in, with the audience far rowdier than when The Damned played the same venue a couple of years earlier.

I thought the tracks from "So, Who's Paranoid?" came across well at the show. It's not a bad collection for a band in the business for three decades as it has some memorable spikey Pop songs alongside lengthier Psychedelic tracks. Several songs from the album are set to remain on my Ipod for a good while yet anyway!

Last updated: 18/04/2018 21:31:55

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