The Damned. O2 Academy, Bristol.

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With a long career spanning several decades The Damned are out on tour to promote new album Evil Spirits.

The tour, arrives in Bristol tonight, and I soon discovered there were people that were at last nights gig in Cardiff and some taking in Bournemouth too the next night.

Overheard outside the venue people talking about how they’d seen the band several times, Over the years and they felt they had improved over that time, always a great thing to hear.

Intrigued I walked into the venue, to find loads of people in red berets and stripy tops, just a co-incidence, I think not. It’d be far to easy to assume the audience would be old school punks and goths, but it wasn’t, Both young and old were hear to see The Damned. Although the band celebrated forty years last year with a special show at the Royal Albert Hall. Tonight’s show embraced the back catalogue very well.

Opening proceedings tonight was Slim Jim Phantom of The Stray Cats, who had assembled a band to play some old classics featuring a great rendition of Eddie Cochranes C’mon Everyone to an audience that loved it, while at the same warming the audience.

As the into music dies down The Damned launch into several of their earlier songs from the black album before treating us to new single Standing on the Edge, described as more ‘contemporar by one fan, although personally I thought it went down a storm with the Bristol crowd

Vanian with his usual theatrical look and distinctive voice led the guys through the initial set that lasted an hour and a half, he owned that stage I would say, but for Captain Sensible, with his traditional red beret and stripe shirt combination.

For a band with punk roots they still dabbled in the political comments Captain Sensible for instance talking of the ‘absolute disgrace of the miners strike, and how we now import coal from South America, while we still have supplies to last for at least 100 years’.

Both he and Vanian commented between songs, The music was taking the foreground, as it should, with songs from many of their earlier albums, Dammned Dammned Dammned, Machine Gun Etiquette, Strawberries and the gothic themed Phantasmagoria.

Before they launch into their well know cover Eloise, a Bristolian could be heard shouting ‘come on my luvver’, no chance of forgetting where you were, ha ha.

Streets of Dreams sees plenty of woo hoo’s from the Bristol crowd although I’m not sure all were in the right places, not that it bothered anyone.

‘Sensible commented of the song Ignite, ‘anyone need a cigarette, I could do with one’. I did smile when I noticed an unlit one in his mouth as he played.

Ending the set with Neat Neat Neat. He left the stage telling the Bristol audience ‘you lot were great singers up there, the other lot, you get a chance later, as they returned to stage with two encores.

For me, the highlight of the evening was Smash it up, saved until the end of the encore, or was it when I tapped on the shoulder by Captain Sensible, as he mentioned ‘make sure you include plenty of good ones of me’, as I left the photo pit

For a band that started in London back in 1977, they are still going strong, and I’m looking forward to hearing Evil Spirits when its released.

Always loved music live, enjoy all genre's. Adding photography into the mix has been more recent and enjoying combing the two together. Self confessed vinyl junkie, so if not down the front, often found searching through record shops.

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