As regular readers of this blog will know, back in August we interviewed Captain Sensible of the Damned, when he was rehearsing at the Complex, regarding the forthcoming tour. We mentioned that the band were playing at the Roundhouse. Were we there? You bet we were !
The show was a special. It was to commemorate 35 years since the release of the very first punk album – Damned Damned Damned. This was one of the very first albums I bought, back in 1977. As it was the only punk album for a while, it was a must have for anyone who was into the music. I was 14 years old when I first heard the album. I think I bought it from “Mill Hill Television” which was the local record shop, about three days after I saw the Ramones on July 6th 1977, which was my first punk gig. Until that moment, I’d not really been into music. I’d loved T Rex and my sisters collection of Bowie singles, such as Jean Genie and Rebel Rebel, but by 1976, the music scene was totally boring.
I only went to see the Ramones out of boredom. I’d never heard of them and it was purely the fact that my sister had a free ticket and she said she’d buy me a beer that tempted me. My mother warned her “If he becomes a wrong ‘un, it’s all your fault”. Little did she realise how she’d come to rue those words ! As my first punk gig was the Roundhouse and my first album was Damned Damned Damned, how could I possibly miss this show. To make it even better, the Damned were playing the album in it’s entirety. Even though I’ve seen the band dozens of times, there were songs I’d not heard them play live from the album. They also played “The Black Album”. As they played them in the order of the album, I won’t list the songs here, apart from the Encore – Disco Man. Love Song and Anti Pope.
For me the highlights of the set were “Feel the Pain” and “I feel alright”. They both sounded as fresh as a daisy. Captain introduced the set with a little preamble about how before the album was released the charts were full of “Little Jimmy Osmond and twenty minute drum solo’s”. The Damned have always been one of the best and most exciting live bands. The band played the 1st album and then retired for a break, a change of clothes and a change of set dressing. The Black album is a very different beast from Damned Damned Damned. Given the title as a riposte to the Beatles White Album, it marks a major musical progression for the band. It was interesting hearing the songs, many of which the band haven’t played since they recorded the album. Given the format of the show, the band didn’t leave the stage for the encore with the usual crazed crescendo. They did however come back for a turbocharged encore.
The band have lost none of their energy and none of their excitement. I could have happily listened to them play their entire catalog. I am of the opinion that the Roundhouse has always been Londons finest rock venue. This was anothe great gig to add to my collection of special moments in Chalk Farm.
I just hope it’s not too long before the band are back in the studios and not too long before they are on the road again. A new album is long overdue.