Friday 9 August 2019

On Stage: The Damned @ Melkweg

It's been forty year since The Damned released their famous record Machine Gun Etiquette. They are now touring around to celebrate this iconic album, by playing it in its entirety. It's about time I go see this legendary punk band for myself.

The Damned at Melkweg Amsterdam, August 7 2019

In those forty years a lot has changed, including the line-up of the veteran rockers. A few years ago, bassist Paul Gray rejoined long time and founding members singer Dave Vanian and guitarist Captian Sensible. Gray had been out of the band for a while, but with his return the line-up consists of musicians that have been involved with the band for a long time.

Machine Gun Etiquette showed the variety of the group, exploring new directions besides their powerful punk. The band experimented with psychedelic rock and pop and clearly the album hasn't lost any of its touch, even after four decades. Hearing the entire album live proves it still stands tall The songs still sound very strong and are full of that Damned energy. You can hear this is no ordinary punk band, but one that has a lot more to offer.

They don't stop there tonight of course, but play a lot more songs, including later work. I have to admit I'm not very keen on their goth rock songs, although they paved the way for many bands in that genre. I really like their punk and rock songs though, those little explosive balls of energy, with Captain Sensible shredding away on his guitar. Because man, you'd almost forget that these guys can play! Vanian's baritone voice is deep and clear and doesn't seem to show any wear after all those years. Best of all, they are having so much fun playing together.

Not only are they having fun among each other, cracking jokes, but they are also having fun with the crowd. Especially Captain Sensible and Vanian are bonding with the people at the front. The whole band is playing in a lively way and it turns this show into a punk and rock 'n' roll feast. These guys are true legends indeed and I'm really glad I got to see them.

All Pictures

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