Live review: The Damned at O2 Academy Bristol, 14th April 2023

Last month at the O2 Academy in Bristol brought legendary punk rockers The Damned, who were formed in the mid 70’s, and were back on tour with their brand new album Darkadelica which promises to be among their best. There was a large crowd eager to hear what’s on offer.

The set kicked off with a visit to 1985’s Phantasmagoria and the opening track Street of Dreams which gets cheers from the crowd. Next we are treated to the first new song The invisible Man, with it’s eerie sounds at the start then the beat kicks in with powerful drums and punchy guitars, and this gets the heads banging in the packed audience, it’s great to see them still working a crowd after all these years and with new songs too. Next up, two songs from The Black Album and we hear Wait For The Blackout start closely followed by Lively Art’s.

What follow’s is a bold move as they start a run of 9 songs from the new album. With strong vocal harmonies and melodies we all enjoy it proves to be a very good move. Powerful songs including Leader of the Gang which is about the fate of a certain Glam rock frontman.

The Damned have always been visually stimulating when on stage and this evening is no different, as front man Dave Vanian who is dressed in a stylish three-piece suit and tie with a equally matching fedora and shades, he looks the part and his vocals are as strong as ever.

Once the new tracks are out of the way its back into the old tunes as Born To Kill, Love Song, Second Time Around, Standing On The Edge of Tomorrow and the absolute power track Neat Neat Neat.

Next follows the encore with the ever popular Eloise and Smash it Up which has the whole crowd singing along and the band leaves the stage, but the lights don’t come on and no exit music sounds, and they take the stage again and for the second encore we are treated to one more new song, in the shape of Girl I’ll stop at Nothing which hits hard and is worthy of an encore slot. Finally a blistering version of New Rose, a wall of energy and noise coming from the stage and the frantic voices of the still packed venue.

Tonight has shown that The Damned are still as relevant today as they ever were and don’t look to be fading away anytime soon.

Live review and photos by Martin Smith – to use without permission.

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