Alexandra Palace: The Damned and The Nightingales lead a punk gathering

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The Damned are promoting Darkedelic, their first new album in five years.

The theatre at Ally Pally provides a rather grand stage for a punk gathering.

This was an occasion for The Damned, of course, but the night (April 21) kicked off with a bruising set from The Nightingales, whose profile is as high as it has ever been, thanks to Stewart Lee’s King Rocker documentary.

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The stand-up was in the crowd to enjoy Robert Lloyd’s stand-off with the audience - like an Easter Island moia looking down on a ship’s crew.

A cabbage gets casually peeled during I Needed Money At The Time, demonstrating it was “just the same old cabbage”.

There’s no natural segue between that and The Damned, except that both bands are idiosyncratic members of the punk and post-punk diaspora.

The Damned at Alexandra Palace.The Damned at Alexandra Palace.
The Damned at Alexandra Palace. | André Langlois

The Damned may have claim to the first punk single, but they are not entirely route-one punk. For a start there’s Captain Sensible, the hugely charismatic guitarist.

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“The good news is we’re still alive. The bad news is it’s quite loud and some of you might lose your hearing. But who cares - it’s rock’n’roll.”

Next to him is the gothic chic of singer David Vanian, whose voice is still in fine working order.

A 22-song set features tracks from new album Darkedelic, as well as the classics.

Album opener Invisible Man is a crashing rock stomper (“I walk into the room and you just see through me”), while You’re Gonna Realise is a guitar anthem with a great hook.

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The band are enjoying bashing through the new tunes, but they’re also aware of what the fans demand.

“We’ve turned into Deep Purple,” exclaims Sensible.

Neat Neat Neat is rapturously received and cut with The Doors’ LA Woman and Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison Blues, and New Rose is as explosive as when it all started.

The Damned in 2023.The Damned in 2023.
The Damned in 2023. | Martin Gooch

The Damned Setlist

Street of Dreams

The Invisible Man

Wait for the Blackout

Lively Arts

Bad Weather Girl

You're Gonna Realise

Western Promise

Beware of the Clown

Wake the Dead

Follow Me

Motorcycle Man

Leader of the Gang

From Your Lips

Born to Kill

Love Song

Machine Gun Etiquette

Standing on the Edge of Tomorrow

Neat Neat Neat (Incorporating parts of LA Woman by The Doors & Folsom Prison Blues by Johnny Cash)

Encore:

Eloise (Barry Ryan cover)

Smash It Up (Part 1 & 2)

Encore 2:

Girl I'll Stop at Nothing

New Rose

Darkedelic

Darkadelic is out on Ear-Music, and available on CD digipak, 1LP black vinyl (gatefold, 180g), limited 1LP transparent vinyl including slipmat (gatefold, 180g), and digitally.

The track listing is:

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Side A: The Invisible Man, Bad Weather Girl, You’re Gonna Realise, Beware Of The Clown, Western Promise, Wake The Dead.

Side B: Follow Me, Motorcycle Man, Girl I’ll Stop At Nothing, Leader Of The Gang, From Your Lips, Roderick.

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