The Brook, Southampton

The Damned

Almost a year to the day The Damned are back in town, this time for an Isle Of Wight Festival warm-up show. Hand-picked support for the night are none other than local jivers the Black Kat Boppers. Those who came to the last Damned show at this very venue will remember them, those who didn’t however won’t forget them in a hurry. They move to the front of the stage to deliver some good ol’ RnR/Rockabilly/Swing/Jive (add or delete where necessary).

Once again Roy (vox) takes centre stage (literally)-with his wide smile and overall confident manner. He has a loud, sometimes throaty drawl which totally suits their sound. They knock out 30 minutes of largely original material with their take(s) on one or two covers. “Double Talkin’ Baby” makes me smile and reminds me of that Stray Cats LP I no longer play! Colin (drums) is energetic throughout and smiles and gurns in equal measure, ably assisted by Luca (guitars/harmonica/vox). Dylan (stand-up bass/vox) completes this lively quartet who garner decent applause and some early movement down the front. “Caveman Baby” is a highlight but their re-working of “Brand New Cadillac” is for me their standout cut tonight. Roy is less energetic tonight, with barely enough floor space to swing a Kat (sic), but no less entertaining to observe. After the ‘big sell’ they leave us after 30 minutes of Rocking ‘n’ Rolling to very generous applause.

Black Kat Boppers
Black Kat Boppers 12

On a balmy night as this, one could forgive The Damned just coming on and doing an hour long best-of set. But this is The Damned-Punk Royalty. What we do get is an energy-charged, mixed set that will please all. One by one they take to the stage and the Captain decides to give us an impromptu drum solo, with encouragement from this eager crowd. He’s grinning throughout and it’s clearly not planned. They haven’t treated this show as a warm-up and this crowd duly respond right from the outset. No going in with a slowly tonight, let’s get this crowd moving early! They open with “1 of the 2” and immediately a huge skinhead in the crowd decides to orchestrate the pit into life. This only serves to encourage a few more punters to join in and before long the place is jumping. “Wait for the Blackout” follows and everyone joins in on the chorus. “Democracy” is new to me, (I must update my Damned back catalogue)! For “Grimly Fiendish” they welcome onstage their “one man brass section” Tom. He sticks around for a couple more numbers and (for me) greatly improves “Eloise”, giving it more depth than last year.

On announcing “Love Song” The Captain only serves to encourage the first bout of crowd lunacy of the evening – it must be the South Coast air! This energetic crowd really start jumping now (this 49 year old included)! Before playing “Dozen Girls” Captain goes anecdotal on us, explaining how he could never “pull the girls”. Until of course he donned a guitar and everything changed. Dozen Girls is attributed to the school stud he wishes he could have emulated. “Alone Again Or” follows and is an early set highlight. Vanian’s voice on this song alone is note perfect. “Generals” and “Twisted Nerve” end the first half of the set before they reach for the classics. “Ignite” gives yet more encouragement to the moshers as the pit grows ever larger while ‘Stranger on the Town’ is another excuse for a good ol’ singalong. Before playing “Amen” our skinhead friend earns a rebuke from Pinch (drums) for showering the stage in liquid – his steely stare says all one needed to know about his opinion! “Noise Noise Noise” only seems to increase the volume while “Antipope” is just a prelude to a frankly raucous “New Rose”. Dave (vox) quite literally covers every inch of the stage and this energy remains during crowd favourite “Neat Neat Neat”.

The Damned
The Damned 123456

The band take a 5-minute break before muted calls for their return – everyone is just too tired to shout! A 3 song encore begins with “Melody Lee” before the classic “History of The World”. More banter precedes final song “Smash It Up” from the Captain who goes on to say “we love playing here-you’re very lucky Southampton, this is a great venue”. An opinion I wholeheartedly concur with.

The Damned could be forgiven for just coming along, blowing off the cobwebs and playing a singles set in preparation for their Isle Of Wight appearance 2 days later. But no, this is a band at the top of their game who know what their audience want (and expect). As warm-up’s go this was at boiling point and one would be hard pressed to find any disappointed punters on tonight’s evidence. Great show, great crowd, great venue, great night.

Set List
1 of the 2
Wait for the Blackout
Plan 9 Channel 7
Grimly Fiendish
Eloise (Paul Ryan cover)
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Love Song
Dozen Girls
Alone Again Or (Love cover)
Twisted Nerve
Stranger on the Town
Noise Noise Noise
New Rose
Neat Neat Neat

Melody Lee
The History of the World (Part 1)
Smash It Up (Parts 1 and 2)



Words by Ross A. Ferrone
Pictures & Videos by Dave Chinery (Chinners)

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