words & photos: Lucas Hackett @lucas_packett_photography
“Visibly happy to be playing to a packed house, the energy radiating from the stage is contagious..”
It is fitting that it is a cold and wet Melbourne evening which sets the scene perfectly as a backdrop to experience The Damned in all their punk/goth glory. We have had the pleasure of being visited by a slew of vintage punk rock, goth infused acts from the last 40 odd years in recent times, and it has been glorious! Over the past twelve months we’ve had Peter Murphy (Bauhaus), Dead Kennedy’s, The Cure, The Jesus and Mary Chain pass through rock n’ roll HQ with The Sisters of Mercy not far away aswell. So when The Damned announces an Oz tour (and you’re never too sure if it will be their last), attendance is mandatory.
Made up of five nurses or ‘health professionals’ as one band member corrected, Wurst Nurse warm up the packed Croxton Bandroom blasting through a number of medical inspired tunes.
Emerging from the darkness not long after, The Damned command the stage, and as Captain Sensible announces, they are not the Sex Pistols and as singer and original member Dave Vanian adds later on, far happier than that Morrissey bloke.
There has been a trend for a number of years now to play albums in their entirety by touring acts, which I hope to see continue, and tonight is no exception. Playing ‘Machine Gun Etiquette’, The Damned’s third studio album, in its entirety is a treat. It was sublime to hear the big singles from this album – Love Song, Smash It Up & I Just Can’t Be Happy Today, all released in 1979. But it was equally transcendent to hear them in context of the entire album. I sometimes feel this should be how live music is presented all the time, particularly when artists painstakingly order songs on albums and often giving added context to the album as a whole…anyway I digress.
Tearing through 20 songs with some added covers – The MC5’s ‘Looking At You’, Paul Ryan’s ‘Eloise’, Jefferson Airplane’s ‘White Rabbit’ and Elton Motello’s ‘Jet Boy, Jet Girl’ to close out the encore.
Even though this tour doesn’t include the full original line-up, it is clear that The Damned have not lost any of their venom. Visibly happy to be playing to a packed house, the energy radiating from the stage is contagious with one and all enjoying what is to be another standout show for 2019.
Long may you run.