Live Review

Happily Halloween: The Damned at Irving Plaza

Happily Halloween: The Damned at Irving Plaza

SONY DSCThe last time The Damned played Irving Plaza was in 2011, part of their 35th anniversary tour. Opting to play a Halloween show in Anaheim, Calif. instead that year, it was only a matter of time before they would make their way back to New York for the special day. This time around, the punk legends even dedicated a five-night, east coast mini tour called Hallow’s East, centering around a Halloween show in NYC.

Covered in a black, priestly habit, Dave Vanian played the wicked clergy about to orchestrate a punk sermon. Costumes rarely a necessity for a band like The Damned, they were still in the spirit. A Guy Fawkes mask planted drummer Andy Pinch’s face, while bassist Stu Teller was covered in a full-body, masochist’s suit to keep with the Halloween theme. Some understated, groovy garb for organist Montyoxymoron Milton with Captain Sensible dressed sensibly punk and topped in his signature red cap, rounded out the dress up party. Halloween or not, it was The Damned in true form.

SONY DSCThe band moved non-consecutively through half of its 10 studio albums—the odd B-Side or single mixed in. Picked apart, there was a quintet from Machine Gun Etiquette and some pieces of fourth album, 1980’s The Black Album with “Silly Kids Games” “Lively Arts,”  “The History of the World,” “13th Floor Vendetta,” and “Wait for the Blackout.” By the end of the set, everything went back to the beginning—to Damned Damned Damned—finishing the audience off with “New Rose” and “Neat Neat Neat.”

Captain opted for a lobster suit during the encore, which started out “Nasty,” a song the band released in 1984 and once performed just as long ago on Brit punk sitcom “The Young Ones,” before closing the night with a more epic, punk sonata “Smash it Up.”

The clock struck midnight, but the evening was far from over. Vanian and Pinch DJayed at the newly re-opened The Hills, formerly Don Hills, which abruptly closed back in April 2011, while the Captain performed a similar service at the Beauty Bar.

Earlier in the night, ghostly apparitions (or Seattle punk foursome The Briefs covered in white sheets) opened the show, and tendered the stage just enough for T.S.O.L., the Long Beach, Calif. hardcore rockers, who joined that punk beat not long after The Damned.

Set List

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Plan 9 Channel 7
Love Song
Machine Gun Etiquette
I Just Can’t Be Happy Today
Wait for the Blackout
Lively Arts
Silly Kids Games
History of the World
13th Floor Vendetta
Ignite
Stranger on the Town
Melody Lee
Eloise
Disco Man
New Rose
Neat Neat Neat

——————
Curtain Call
Nasty
Smash it Up

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Photographs by Patrick J. Eves, Hippie Death Bed Photography