It’s a Thursday night in Sydney, and tonight UK punk rockers The Damned are playing a sold-out show at The Metro. After recently wowing audiences at Punk Rock Bowling Festival Las Vegas, the band then conquered New Zealand and are now touring around Australia. Hundreds of goths and punks of all ages have lined up outside the venue in anticipation of the night ahead.
First on stage was the Aussie support band The Neptune Power Federation. The band chugged away playing dark riffs while vocalist Imperial Priestess Screaming Loz Sutch was amongst the crowd enchanting us all. What followed was an impressive set of songs displaying shrieking vocals combined with hellish psychedelic rock. A familiar face on stage was Frenzal Rhomb vocalist, Jay, who tonight was taking on bass guitar and egg shaker duties. The set ended appropriately with a haunting cover of ‘I Put A Spell On You’.
After a short break, the Metro then filled to capacity. The Damned emerged onstage to huge cheers with guitarist Captain Sensible stating “we are the Clash” as he flipped off the front row. Kicking off the set with ‘Street of Dreams’ taken from their album Phantasmagoria released way back in 1985. Singer Dan Vanian resembled a fifties gangster on stage as he crooned his way into our dark punk hearts.
The band are touring in celebration of their recently released twelfth album Darkadelic. Clearly they are proud of the new album as we got to hear eleven tracks from it live. The album sees the band embrace their goth psychedelic side. Live highlights were ‘Leader of the Gang’ for all the glittering glam rock fans and ‘Wake the Dead’, a song made for funerals. Sensible even donned a comical red nose while playing ‘Beware of the Clown’.
‘Born to Kill’ picked the set back up to a faster pace. With ‘Love Song’ getting the first mosh pit of the night down front. As the main set ending with ‘Neat Neat Neat’ one of the band’s signature songs. During the song Captain Sensible even played the guitar solo behind his head, now that’s pretty neat! The band left the stage to sensible saying “thank you Sydney, time flies when you’re enjoying yourself”.
That wasn’t to be the end as the band returned to the stage playing ‘Eloise’. Then dedicating ‘Smash It Up’ to Algy Ward as now a larger mosh pit erupted. Hearing this song live was testament to how punk songs can stand the test of time. The band then left the stage briefly but returned for a second encore. For ‘Girl I’ll Stop At Nothing’ we got to see an impressive keyboard solo by Monty Oxymoron as he resembled a mad scientist at work.
The honour of the last song of the night went to ‘New Rose’ which saw fans throw roses onto the stage. The song also gave Monty a chance to show off his dance skills. As the song finished Captain Sensible said “that was the song Sex Pistols wish they’d written”. Then stating “we may be old but we still fucking rock”.
It was a damn good night of UK punk rock in Sydney!
(photos by Meg Taylor)