The Damned at the House of Blues Anaheim Last Night
Rebecca Carter/OC Weekly

The Damned at the House of Blues Anaheim Last Night

The Damned
Oct. 31, 2011
House of Blues - Anaheim

From their sound to their aesthetic, The Damned has had an all-encompassing influence in their 35-year tenure. Before "punk" came with a ten volume rule book, The Damned were pioneering the genre and forming their own unique niche tinged with Gothicism and psychedelia that set them apart from their peers, laying the groundwork for everyone from The Misfits to AFI.

The Damned at the House of Blues Anaheim Last Night
Rebecca Carter/OC Weekly

To celebrate their 35th anniversary, the band has been playing two of their landmark albums in their entirety: Damned Damned Damned and The Black Album, but this isn't some rehash type of "reunion" tour for The Damned. While many bands of their generation have been content to rest on achievements that are now decades old, The Damned have been releasing relevant material since the late '70s and the choice of these albums shows two sides of the band. Damned Damned Damned is original, early UK punk at its tongue-in-cheek, snarling finest while The Black Album displays their transition into the musical equivalent of Tim Burton on mushrooms.

Before kicking off the set, Captain Sensible introduced the album they were about to play by saying that if it wasn't for Damned Damned Damned, Johnny Rotten would have playing Rod Stewart covers. (Several jabs were taken at Rotten and Vicious over the course of the show... a little bit of a rivalry maybe?) They kicked off with "Neat Neat Neat" and while tonight was Halloween for the crowd on the floor, every night is a dark carnival for The Damned on stage. Every member of the band is a larger than life character. Sensible was rocking his trademark beret and zebra striped pants, front man Dave Vanian's gentlemen vampire with a hint of Freddie Mercury puts all of Johnny Depp's goth-fopping to shame, bassist Stu West looked like he could be in Slipknot with his ripped up flesh mask and Monty Oxy Moron wigged out every so often behind the keys.

They ended the first set with the last track on Damned Damned Damned, the perfect high energy sing along "I Feel Alright". After a break they took the stage again, this time Sensible was wearing a clown outfit that had some French maid trim... it was classy. They launched into The Black Album and it was a completely different experience from the first set. The second half of the show showed off just how versatile they are as a band. The set ended with Sensible and Monty on the synthesizers providing the eerie soundtrack to a straight up psychedelic light show. And this is what is so great about The Damned. While other bands of their time were quick to reject and ridicule anything outside of their narrowly inclusive set of standards, The Damned weren't afraid to embrace aspects of their influences no matter how uncool it may have been to cover a Jefferson Airplane song or work a member of Pink Floyd, and that's punker then any amount of safety pins you can jam into your face.

The Damned at the House of Blues Anaheim Last Night

The Crowd: Lots of Halloween costumes. Several Jack Sparrows, a couple of Alexs from Clockwork Orange and plenty of random zombies. Kid Dee, drummer for The Adicts, was also in the audience.

Overheard: "I can die now! I can die now!" - a man dancing in front of the bar on the second floor during "History of the World".

1. "Neat Neat Neat"
2. "Fan Club"
3. "I Fall"
4. "Born to Kill"
5. "Stab Yor Back"
6. "Feel the Pain"
7. "New Rose"
8. "Fish"
9. "See Her Tonite"
10. "1 of the 2"
11. "So Messed Up"
12. "I Feel Alright"
13. "Wait For The Blackout"
14. "Lively Arts"
15. "Silly Kids Games"
16. "Drinking About My Baby"
17. "Twisted Nerve"
18. "Hit or Miss"
19. "Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde"
20. "Sick of This and That"
21. "History Of The World"
22. "13th Floor Vendetta"
23. "Therapy"
24. "Curtain Call"
25. "Love Song"



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