Legendary London Punks the Damned Headline A Fun Filled Show at Seattle’s Showbox, by Holly Homan

On Easter Sunday I finally got the privilege of seeing legendary London punks the Damned. I’ve been waiting a long time. Last time I was set to see them it was Halloween Eve maybe 2007, but their visas didn’t come through and they had to cancel.

The show began with keyboardist (Monty Oxy Moron) coming on stage and playing some macabre sounds before switching to something more lively and melodic. This went on for a minute or two before the rest of the band came out. Then the fun really began.

Captain Sensible was back in the band and wore a bright red tam the entire time (except for the time he swapped hats with a stage tech and later with a member of the audience), which contrasted beautifully with his platinum hair. He was non-stop energy and non-stop jokes, quipping that they just came to save us all from having to listen to shitty music, because there’s plenty of that around.

The only slow song the band performed was their cover of Alone Again Or. Everything else was wild and fast. Lead singer David Vanian wore his left arm in a sling, the result of an apparent dislocated shoulder, but this in no way impeded his performance. No one in this band stayed in one spot for more than a few seconds including Monty who often left his keys to flit about the stage and shake his mop of curls about.

At one point, a rather portly dude got on stage and did a flying leap onto the crowd. He was so fast security didn’t realize it happened until it was all over.

When they played Wait for the Blackout Captain Sensible made his guitar strings screech and wail as if screaming for mercy. Hearing this harkened me back to the early 80s when I first discovered the Damned. They ended their first set with the classics New Rose and Neat Neat Neat, which got this mostly sedate (by punk rock standards) crowd bouncing. They returned for an encore that included Noise Noise Noise, but when they left the stage, the house lights didn’t come on so everyone clapped and cheered for more until the band returned for yet a second encore.

They did indeed return for a second encore which ended with Captain Sensible mooning the crowd.

The rest of the Damned consisted of Pinch on drums and Stu West on bass.

The Damned put on one hell of an energy filled show. All members were expert entertainers. Even with their now increased age, the Damned performed with as much energy as any of the young upstarts out there performing today. The sound was impeccable, the lighting not so much. I’m upset this was a 21 and up show. Young people need to see who started the whole punk movement and they’re denied the privilege when shows are booked as 21 and up. This is something I’ve been complaining about for 30 years and will continue to do so.

Opening the night was LA’s Bleached

This almost all female quartet could rock out! They were loaded with charm and tons of enthusiasm. Their music was a mixture of punk and power pop with lots of shredding power chords. I hope Bleached returns to Seattle to do a show of their own and I hope this happens sooner than later. And judging by the enthusiastic response from this crowd, I’d say they’d attract a good sized audience when they do play Seattle. Bleached are, Jennifer and Jessica Clavin with Micayla Grace and Nick Pillot.

Holly Homan

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