Yeah, we're back in the Spiegeltent Majestic in freezing cold King's Square, Gloucester, last Monday night. ( When I say "we" that's me, Glenn and about 300 or so other Damned fans, in the unusually plush venue that is the S/Tent, a welcome change from The Damned's usual haunts such as the dreaded Rock Cafe, Stourbridge, and other such dives. )
After a seemingly-pointless website competition to find a support band ( what about Chinese Burn?! ), The Damned are now playing 2 sets, the first one featuring new material and their more psychedelic side, the second slanting to crowd-pleasing punk rock. This is an extra gig, tagged on to the end of their tour with Motorhead and Girlschool ( is it 1981 again? ) so there's a definite end-of-term vibe to the gig. Much banter between the band members and the band/audience members. At one point Sensible's guitar goes wildly out of tune, he spends ages tuning up ( wot no spare? ), Dave Vanian takes the mickey mercilessly, someone in the crowd shouts "It won't make any difference!"..... Poor Captain! Later on he starts to sing his party-piece, Happy Talk, but the rest of the band bundle him up in a roll of carpet (!) and drag him offstage.
In amongst all this lunacy the band play brilliantly, digging up a lot of rarely-heard gems from back in the day: Generals, Fanclub and Curtain Call all get an airing, along with the expected New Rose, Neat Neat Neat, Love Song etc. etc. And the sound is amazingly clear for what is basically a big tent - even 'though the band manage to blow up the PA at one point, leaving the drummer bashing away by himself.
Before we know it, it's all over. As this is a council-run venue there's a strict curfew of 11:00pm on the dot ( fun-suckers! ) so no encores ( Boo! ). We do get the traditional last-song anarchy of Smash It Up, preceded by the Captain's plea that we don't take the lyrics too literally and rip the lovely Spiegeltent apart. Vanian, Sensible and co. say their goodbyes to a happy but knackered moshpit, the drummer throws some drumsticks into the crowd ( I got one! ) and that's yer lot. On the way out we stop for a chat with Mark, ex-demon guitarist from the almost-mythical Death Planet Commandos - good to see him! - and end up talking dodgy punk bands and dodgier comics. Just like old times in Massacre House, the charitable institution caring for threatening, ugly men with guns and unstable personalities :-)