Wow, two Fibbers gigs in eight days. Not bad for an old bloke, well two old blokes actually as I was joined by my good friend Simon Hernaman for Ash (supported by Tax The Heat) last week and the Damned (supported by Dohnut) this week. Let me start with tonight’s very different and majestically magnificent support band Dohnut (formerly known as Eating Disorder). What can I say? Well if you like a bit of politics and a bit of an edge to your music then look no further. This band are true performers who seem to enjoy themselves immensely on stage. I’m not familiar enough to name all their songs but I have bought their album ‘Eat More Cake’ and on first listen that sounds bloody good, so much so that I am now really looking forward to their new album ‘I Scream You Scream’ due out in October. I also bought myself a Dohnut tea towel, how many bands have that in their merchandise collection eh? “We Are Dohnut” is a fabulous song with a resonance similar to Devo’s “We Are Devo”. It is a reworking of a Die Antwoord song and it works incredibly well. At times they reminded me of one of my favourite bands of all time, the KLF. You really ought to check Dohnut out.
So on to the main event, the Damned, long running UK punk stalwarts. I first saw them in 1977 and last saw them in 1978. That was so long ago that I was still in my teens. For all the gigs that I have seen in my life I don’t believe that I have ever seen so many middle-aged men in a mosh circle. Incidentally that didn’t include me; not because I’m not middle-aged, just because I’m not sure I could take such a beating anymore! The personnel have changed since I last saw them. The only original members are Dave Vanian and Captain Sensible. Brian James and Rat Scabies left some time ago. But this really doesn’t diminish their power. They are a band who knows how to play really well and perhaps more importantly they know how to work their largely fanatical audience.
All the old favourites were played, I especially enjoyed the early set rendition of “Love Song“. Then we had “New Rose” and “Neat, Neat, Neat” obviously, because how can they not play those two? Both songs have retained their power and freshness for around forty years. Their 1986 hit cover of Paul and Barry Ryan’s sixties classic “Eloise” is a phenomenal live attraction. Part of their encore was another sixties cover, this time “Alone Again Or” by the sublime Love, Arthur Lee’s little combo. The Damned make the song very much their own on the night. This is a band that in the case of the Captain and Dave Vanian have known each other a lifetime and that is very much apparent by their humorous on stage banter. But more recent members Monty Oxymoron on keyboards, Bass player Stu West and Pinch on the drums fit in perfectly and make them a really tight and well rehearsed unit. They took the Fibbers roof off with a stunning version of “Smash It Up” to close the show. It is clear that the Damned still have it and it was a great night for everyone there, even the woman who was a dead ringer for Theresa May. Except for a woman behind us who was disappointed with the show. Really? Personally I think there must be something wrong with her!