Damned great show by punk rock trailblazer
100 Club, London
Friday, August 23, 2019
While the Damned are busy touring Oz, Brian James, the band's co-founder and architect of their "Damned, Damned, Damned" album, is playing a solo band show at the 100 Club.
Now there’s too much academic analysis over who invented punk. Some people refer to The Sonics from mid ‘60s America as the first punks, or The Ramones; some (well from Australia. anyway) will plump for Birdman or The Saints. Who issued the first single is beyond debate. The Damned's “New Rose” was the first punk single.
In a manic period from late 1976 to late ’77, the band recorded and released two albums, toured relentlessly in the UK with Marc Bolan and then assaulted the USA (their first UK punk band) before the departure of Rat Scabies and the band’s implosion.
Brian James, after dusting himself down, formed Lords of the New Church with Stiv Bators and has regularly toured and recorded with assorted punk rock royalty.
Support act De Rellas and their terrace chant vocals whet the appetite on a steamy Bank Holiday weekend and will be well worth a re-visit.
Trilbies are now the choice of hat for bands of a certain age - Brian James sports one, as does his drummer. He and his band waste no time when they take to the stage.
We are hit between the eyes with a scarifying “1970 (I Feel Alright)”, the Stooges classic, given a thorough caning on the Damned’s”Born to Kill“ before James dips into his own back catalogue. The standout is “The Regulator”, with his guitar sandpapering the walls and floor.
A throwaway take on the Stones' "The Last Time" precedes a couple of pearls in a warp speed “Neat, Neat, Neat” and the incomparable “New Rose”, the latter 42-years-old but still packing enough youthful energy to jumpstart a truck.
James is no Dave Vanian or Stiv Bators but does a decent job on vocals, but it’s his guitar that defined the scene and it shines tonight.