The Damned Live @ Big Night Live, Boston, MA [05-29-24]

The Damned Live @ Big Night Live, Boston, MA [05-29-24]

Thursday, 30 May 2024

YOLO. You only live once. And for a music fan that’s important. A few years ago I realized how important it is the seize the moment, get off your ass, and see a band you like, because you only live once. They only live once. I once drove 2 hours to Western Mass to see Lee Scratch Perry and then beat myself up about it a little because I just could have seen him in Boston the next time. But I didn’t get to see him that time. And then he died. And then I felt really lucky to have seen him when I did. That’s like a bucket list show, you know?

I felt the same way when I saw the Damned a few years ago opening for Blondie. Essentially it was just Dave Vanian karaoke because Captain Sensible couldn’t travel to the USA because they wouldn’t let him in because of THOSE reasons (wink wink). For someone who calls themselves “sensible” it was an odd choice. But I was still happy I saw them.

Now the gods smile upon us and we’re getting an OG lineup of the Damned, touring with Rat Scabies back on drums, and no one holding Captain Sensible back. I also got to see a show at Big Night Live for the first time. Not the newest venue in Boston, but one I’ve been meaning to visit, conveniently located a 15-minute bike ride from my home.

Right away, entering the venue, it was good to see a healthy mix of people, both young and old, and both ladies and gentlemen (for the sake of simplicity). There were dudes in cargo shorts, and ladies in full makeup, bustiers, and goth attire. I knew this was gonna be a good show.

And of course it was. The Damned aren’t spring chickens but they still know how to make compelling music. With this particular lineup, it makes sense that the setlist was heavy on songs from the Black Album and Strawberries. Scabies was a little slower that I had anticipated but fierce behind the hit. Captain Sensible is so masterful at his guitar that still, after all these years, he’s the sole guitarist for the band and makes enough noise to fill an auditorium. Dave Vanien is always the consummate professional and showman. Truly a smile permanently plastered on my face during the entire setlist, which included Blackout, Ignite, Eloise, History of the World, Melody Lee, some new ones like Beware of the Clown and Invisible Man, and of course some classics like Love Song, Smash it Up, Neat Neat Neat, and New Rose.

I always thought of myself as a big fan, but this crowd was singing along to every word, which was great, even if the old guy behind me kept playing air guitar to himself and yelling “ROCK AND ROLL” and “AMERICAN BEER IS GOOD” was not.

The Damned’s current lineup continues to tour and, yes, it’s a privilege to see them. Get out there!

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