The DammedThe Factory Theatre, MarrickvilleThursday, August 20 2019Photos: Monique Simmons
Culturally, Britain was so different to the USA in so many ways in the ‘70s, and that had much to do with distance. The US is a vast place with all sorts of cultures and entrainment influences. The south was different to the west coast and out was again different to the east. And that really showed in the disparate pockets of music that sprang up everywhere.
On the other hand, England was more centralised. Long before the ‘70s dawned, it had the ingrained tradtiion of music halls as its historical DNA.
Music halls were everywhere. At one time there were more than 200 theatres in London alone. They hosted events running for four hours and ranging from comedy, clowning, horror to serious drama. For more than a century, popular theatre was a staple for the working man and middle class alike.
Well, you may ask, what has this got to do with The Damned appearing live in Sydney on a Thursday night? I say, everything. A Dammed gig is like a trip through classic British pantomime and theatre, full of drama and packed with wit and slapstick.
Long term denizens of this scurvy establishment will need no introduction to the names Captain Sensible(nee Ray Burns) and Paul Gray. If there was such a thing as punk rock royalty (and I’m against it on general principle), these guys would at least be Grand Dukes or Princes or some such.
For those of you who are slumming it, Captain Sensible is the more fluorescent face of The Damned. His beret and toilet mat jumper has besmirched the covers of a good many picture covers of hit singles, including a surprise run as a solo star.
Paul Gray came to the world’s attention with fellow graduates of the class of ’76 Eddie and the HotRods. Paul has also had three runs as bass player in the Damned and the kind of resume that would have you blushing with jealousy. He played on Johnny Thunders’ “So Alone” so don’t you go comparing resumes. He’s Paul Gray and you’re not.