The Damned, Nightingales, Live at Alexandra Palace Theatre, April 21 2023

That's not to say the band can't tell a joke or two and provide the light in equal measure to the dark.

Words & Pictures: Adrian Hextall / MindHex Media

Well this is nice. A refurbished theatre that, despite the refurbishment, still has a sense of age and history to it and offers the Alexandra Palace the same opportunity for new music that the IndigO2 does inside the much bigger O2 Arena complex. 

To test drive the newly reopened facility, The Damned, the first, the foremost and the most exciting punk band to hit the charts back in 1976, are here for 2 nights. Aside from very recent changes, The Damned’s formation of Dave Vanian, Captain Sensible, keyboardist Monty Oxymoron, drummer Pinch and bassist Stu West had been together from 2004 until 2017, when West left the band and former bassist Paul Gray, who had first played with the band in 1980, rejoined. In 2019 drummer Pinch left the band and in February 2022 was replaced by new drummer Will Taylor. We got to see the second night at the venue with Vanian, Sensible, Oxymoron, Gray and Taylor the now complete line up and the band that has just released latest album ‘Darkadelic’

Nightingales

Opening the evening were Nightingales (a.k.a. The Nightingales), a British post-punk/alternative rock band, formed in 1979 by four members of Birmingham’s punk group The Prefects. [Per Wikipedia] They had been part of The Clash’s ‘White Riot Tour’, recorded a couple of Peel Sessions, released a 45 on Rough Trade and, years after splitting up, had a retrospective CD released by US indie label Acute Records.

With all of that behind them one might wonder how on earth the band found themselves on stage supporting The Damned. Well, to be fair, they arrived in the right era, carry the same legacy and credibility and ever the important fact, are well respected by their peers. The current line up consists of founder, lyricist and lead singer Robert Lloyd, guitarist James Smith, Andreas Schmid on bass and ex-Violet Violet drummer Fliss Kitson.

Their music fit the bill and the venue perfectly with Robert Lloyd and James Smith working really well off each other. They should have been bigger… as so many bands from every era often should have been. That they pick up support slots from the likes of The Damned gives us hope that their music will continue to be heard live for some time to come. 

The Damned

There are two types of The Damned fan. Those that see the punk fuelled energy of ‘Damned Damned Damned’ from 1977 and the 1979 classic ‘Machine Gun Etiquette’ and those that favour the more commercial years and their subsequent embrace of all things goth when they branched out with albums like Phantasmagoria (1985) and Anything (1986). They might have then had an almost 10 year gap but since Not of This Earth (1995) the band have consistently delivered dark, moody albums that embrace Vanian’s love of the classic, Stoker-esque, romantic imagery surrounding all things ‘of the night’. 

The show at the Alexandra Palace Theatre looks and feels no different. It’s good to see Vanian no longer sporting the beard of a few years ago as the suave debonair master of the night look suits our clean shaven front man far far better. 

The focus is very much on the new album and the band makes no apologies for playing all of the singles in a tightly presented set that, to be fair, covered their career handsomely. Vanian with his microphone looking like a gothic Elwood Blues stalked the stage with grace and majesty. In stark contrast, Captain Sensible, dressed as we always expect him to be, like a man trapped inside a giant Dennis the Menace body sporting his signature beret, is all smiles and charm in-between some of the most captivating and innovative guitar solos imaginable. His playing is one of the main reasons The Damned still sound so fresh and to be honest so unique. There may well be many imitators out there but they pale in comparison to the band that is perhaps the only one that has essentially managed to kickstart two very different genres.

That’s not to say the band can’t tell a joke or two and provide the light in equal measure to the dark. New single ‘Beware of the Clown’ sees the front man put on a red nose and clown hat for the performance. Sensible takes the nose for a stint as well and it’s definitely smiles all round with ‘Motorcycle Man’ and ‘Leader of the Gang’ also thrown in for good measure. 

The hits continue with ‘Machine Gun Etiquette’ and ‘Eloise’ of course going down a storm. They close of course with ‘New Rose’ proving that all music can blend together seamlessly if it’s performed well. And as Carly Simon once said “nobody does it better”. 

SETLIST

Street of Dreams
The Invisible Man
Wait for the Blackout
Lively Arts
Bad Weather Girl
You’re Gonna Realise
Western Promise
Beware of the Clown
Wake the Dead
Follow Me
Motorcycle Man
Leader of the Gang
From Your Lips
Born to Kill
Love Song
Machine Gun Etiquette
Standing on the Edge of Tomorrow
Neat Neat Neat (Incorporating parts of LA Woman by The Doors & Folsom Prison Blues by Johnny Cash)
Encore:
Eloise (Barry Ryan cover)
Smash It Up (Part 1 & 2)
Encore 2:
Girl I’ll Stop at Nothing
New Rose

New Album Darkadelic is out on April 28th 

46 years after releasing their ground breaking debut, Damned Damned Damned, music pioneers The Damned return with DARKADELIC, their first studio album since 2018’s UK Top 10 Evil Spirits.

Darkadelic musically evokes two magical Damned albums, 1982’s Strawberries and 1985’s Phantasmagoria. There are Damned style love songs (the brilliant ‘Western Promise)’, one that laments our political leaders (‘Beware Of The Clown’), ‘Wake The Dead’ for fans to have a killer song for a funeral and many more gems.

It follows on the long dark coattails of last year’s live release A Night of a Thousand Vampires (UK #1 on Official Blu-Ray Charts) and will be released on April 28th 2023 on earMUSIC.

DARKADELIC catches the band once again evolving and expanding upon their unique universe and features some of The Damned’s sharpest song writing and genre-bending performances. Alongside Dave Vanian, Captain Sensible, Paul Gray and Monty Oxymoron, William Granville-Taylor joins the band on drums.

Check out new video ‘The Invisible Man’ below: 

 

About Author

 
Categories
Live GigNewsPhotos
EXTREME’S UNMATCHED MUSICAL MASTERY AND ELECTRIFYING STAGE PRESENCE: A DEFINING FORCE IN ROCK HISTORY LIVE AT MARS MUSIC HALL, HUNTSVILLE, AL
EXTREME’S UNMATCHED MUSICAL MASTERY AND ELECTRIFYING STAGE PRESENCE: A DEFINING FORCE IN ROCK HISTORY LIVE AT MARS MUSIC HALL, HUNTSVILLE, AL

EXTREME’S UNMATCHED MUSICAL MASTERY AND ELECTRIFYING STAGE PRESENCE: A DEFINING FORCE IN ROCK HISTORY LIVE AT MARS MUSIC HALL, HUNTSVILLE, AL

Photo Credit: Myglobalmind

Imminence - The Black

Unveiling Crown Shift: Daniel Freyberg Discusses Band Dynamics, Musical Influences, and Creative Process

Melodic Metal Madness: Insomnium Gatherum Tour Storms House of Blues in Chicago!

Danny Doll of Wicked on Sunburn Album – It’s a Reflection of the Ups & Downs in the Band’s Career!

Andy Timmons on Collaboration with Peter Frampton on “The Boy from Beckenham” – Peter’s Solo is F*cking Amazing!

RELATED BY

G-TQ58R0YWZE