Photos & Show Review: The Damned & Cute Lepers @ Showbox Market, 10/27/11
At some points in the night, there was absolutely nothing that I could do to take a good photograph of The Damned at the Showbox at the Market. Nope, I just had to wait it out, because sometimes the floor was bouncing so much from people jumping and dancing, I might as well have been trying to shoot during an earthquake. This phenomenon made me smile greatly and I thoroughly enjoyed my unintended pit pogos, for The Damned put on a damned good 35th Anniversary show. I really didn’t want it to end.
The Showbox crowd this night was an interesting mix: elder past punks like me who bought The Black Album and Damned Damned Damned when they were first released (in 1977 and 1980, respectively, and performed in full this evening), black-clad goth-y present-day punks in their 20s and 30s, and most surprisingly, a good amount of enthusiastic teens. I was especially thrilled to see a few of the younger fans at the front shouting out lyrics and reaching out to shake hands with lead vocalist Dave Vanian, who sported his elegant and mysterious Victorian-vampire-Vincent Price look. The garrulous Captain Sensible was also in fine form on guitar, keyboards, and vocals, warmly addressing the audience (and also definitely not disappointing in sartorial splendor). Pinch on drums and Stu West on bass made for a thunderous rhythm section, and 74-year-old Monty Oxy Moron put musicians half his age to utter shame with his energy on keyboards, not to mention supreme leaping-lord skills.
From the opening 100MPH charge of “Neat Neat Neat,” through the entire night (with a short intermission and encore breaks) The Damned gave a master performance. Damned Damned Damned, which I felt had a thinnish Nick Lowe signature stamp in production values, truly came to life onstage with every song fully powered up, sounding more unique with time and less directly Stooges-influenced; classic breakneck UK punk. The Black Album, more melodic and experimental, was equally enjoyable, and concluded with the 17-minute keyboard epic “Curtain Call.” The encore picked up the pace again with “Love Song” and “Smash It Up,” igniting another furious dance frenzy at the front. At the end, Captain Sensible thanked the crowd, gave a positive shout-out to Occupy Seattle, and The Damned left the stage, looking damned happy about the reception they received, and deserved.
Local punk pop faves The Cute Lepers were a good pick to open the show, with their Buzzcocks-influenced sound, and ripped through a too-short but well-received 30-minute set. (They dedicated a song to The Damned, and Captain Sensible returned the nod later in the evening.) They continued on The Damned’s tour for several California dates.
A damned-big thanks to AEG, the Showbox, The Cute Lepers, and of course, The Damned!
The Cute Lepers
See Marianne Spellman’s photos of The Damned & The Cute Lepers via her flickr galleries as well: