Iconic British punk rock outfit The Damned are getting ready to release their first new studio album in a decade.

The album, which is titled Evil Spirits, is currently penned for release on the 13th April, but in the meantime, The Damned are touring the UK whilst simultaneously road testing their new material. The band’s current jaunt brings them back to Tyneside as they kick off their UK run at the O2 Academy Newcastle.

Opening the show is Stray Cats sticks man Slim Jim Phantom. Performing with his solo project this evening Slim Jim takes to the stage armed with a copy of satirical Geordie comic ‘The Viz’ – much to the pleasing of the locals. Phantom along with his very talented British trio provide a thoroughly entertaining set for the huge crowd present early on.

Slim Jim Phantom’s set largely draws from the Rockabilly superstar’s expansive body of work. Classics like “Rumble In Brighton”, “Red Hot” and “Rock This Town” take many in the audience back to the early 80s when the Stray Cats would perform at the city’s now sadly missed Mayfair Ballroom. Imminently Slim Jim will be reprising his role with the aforementioned iconic outfit as they embark on a reunion tour across the US; here’s hoping that a few UK shows make their way onto the band’s itinerary too.

As tonight’s headliners hit the stage they delve deep into their back catalogue spanning over forty years. The Damned open their set with a triple whammy of “So Messed Up”, “Wait For The Blackout” and “Lively Arts”.

Frontman Dave Vanian is dressed all in black as he prowls the stage clutching his vintage microphone. On the other hand guitarist Captain Sensible who is donning a red beret and sailors outfit, is full of fun and frivolity as the fans would want and expect.

Early in the show, Captain Sensible remarks that his brother is in attendance. He reminisces how the group had stolen the song “Anti-Pope” from his sibling’s band The Cowards. The latter of which of course features in the show.

Mid-set it’s all about the classics. The crowd hangs on every word of the emphatic “New Rose”, the frantic fan favourite “Love Song” and the anthemic “Eloise”. Each of these tracks whips the audience up into a frenzy and transport many back to their youth. Of course, Captain Sensible approves as he mischievously quips ‘moshpit – steady on now grandad’, much to the audiences amusement.

The Damned recently joined forces with producer extraordinaire Tony Visconti whereby this star-studded alliance entered the studio and recorded their new album Evil Spirits. Of course, the group showcase several tracks from the record this evening.

New tracks like “Devil In Disguise” are so fresh that they have only ever been played live once before. The band’s latest single “Standing On The Edge” also features early on. Judging by the strength of the three songs performed from Evil Spirits tonight the album is definitely going to be one to watch out for in the spring.

As The Damned hurtle towards the end of the show, they break into an explosive performance of “Ignite” during which Captain Sensible drags his microphone stand around the stage whilst extending an invitation to the audience to sing along too.  The quintessential punk rockers close out their main set with their 1977 single “Neat Neat Neat”, which certainly leaves the audience wanting more.

The Damned’s encore features a subtle blend of old and new that includes a rare performance of the Black Album’s “Seagulls”, one of the band’s freshest cuts and the title track from their new album “Evil Spirits” before full-blown pandemonium ensues as the band break into “Smash It Up”.

Forty years on The Damned have still got it and are showing no signs of slowing down.

The Damned
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Event Date: 26-Jan-2018

About The Author

Adam Kennedy is an experienced music photographer based in northeast England. He has been shooting concerts for several years, predominantly with the band Vintage Trouble. In 2013, he was one of their tour photographers, covering the UK and Ireland tour including the headline shows and as opening act for The Who. As an accomplished concert photographer, Adam's work has been featured in print such as, Classic Rock Blues Magazine, Guitarist Magazine, Blues in Britain magazine, broadcast on the MDA Telethon on ABC Television in the US, used in billboard advertising for Renaissance Hotels in the US, and featured online via music blogs such as Uber Rock and Guitar Planet. He is also the official photographer at Newcastle Rock and Blues Club.

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