The Damned, Leeds O2 Academy

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With a new album (thier first in 10 years), a celebration of 40 years in the business, The Damned are once again on the road showing us that there is not only life left on the old dog, but that  its groomed, fit and healthy and ready to rumble.

Talking of rumble tonights opener Slim Jim Phantom (yes he of the Stray Cats) set a blistering pace with his  outstanding set of Rock and Roll and Rockabilly hits, complete with Double Bass and Slim Jim’s amazing wit and repartee.

With a set in including ‘Cmon Everybody’, ‘Stray Cat Strut’ and ‘Rumble in Brighton’, the Leeds crowd were suitably warmed up and ready for the on coming of The Damned.

The Evil Spirits Tour 2018 sees the grand statesmen of punk on a 17 night UK tour with just 5 nights off .. not bad for band who have every right to be hanging up their safety pins by now. But this is no ordinary band and they are not showing any signs of giving up the stage just yet. Opening with the barnstorming rendition of ‘So Messed Up’, Captain Sensible, David Vanian and Paul Gray, tore Leeds a new one and showed no signs of letting up for the next hour and a half as they ripped through a 20 plus setlist covering their huge back catalogue and tracks from the soon to be released “Evil Spirits” LP.

Vanian controls the stage, both with his huge voice and Victorian theatricals, whilst “Sensible” (as Slim Jim calls him) provides the cheeky cockney side kick along with the gritty punk chops and guitar antics, resplendently dressed in his trademark red beret and sailor shirt. Paul Gray provides bass lines that have the crowd bouncing along to the likes of “Lively Arts” and many more.

New single “Standing on the Edge of Tomorrow” goes down a storm and shows that 40 Years on the creativity that makes this band so unique is still going strong. The Psycho-Gothic catalogue is not forgotten either with ‘Street of Dreams’ sounding huge and of course who could forget the magnificent ‘Eloise’

There is no doubt that there is no intention for these Gothic Punks to head up the steps to Whitby castle just yet.. they have more to offer us and are still prepared to stretch the boundaries of convention. We will see them ‘Smash It Up’ for a while yet and provide us with plenty of ‘Happy Talk’ for a few more years yet …


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Freelance Photographer and lover of all things Metal and Classic Rock ... that's three songs and I'm gone. See ya in t' pit! Don't forget to smile.

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