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The Damned | April 14, 2016

Every April, the San Francisco Bay Area benefits from the Indio overflow from bands that book mini tours around their Coachella weekend appearances. This year, The Damned made a return appearance at the Great American Music Hall with support by Long Beach, California’s very own Tijuana Panthers.

I first saw The Damned somewhere around 1986. A DJ at my college radio station had tickets and I had car so we trucked on down to UC Irvine for the show. I was familiar with the band but not so much the music but the chaos during their cover of the Doors L.A. Woman made a lasting impression. Thirty years later, the band and the crowds may be older but the Damned are still ripping up stages around the world.

The Great American Music Hall was packed by the time the Damned took the stage. The beer and booze were obviously flowing, lubricating the crowd enough for some action in the pit that one would not normally expect from a crowd with the average age hovering around 40. One can only hope that through that rambunctiousness, the concert-goers didn’t miss what was going on on stage … Damned-near perfection.

Vanian’s vocals were powerful yet clear as he paced the stage, gradually shedding layers as the evening progressed. Try as he might, Captain Sensible’s shredding guitars could not be over-shadowed by his on-stage antics during classics such as Eloise, Smash It Up, Neat Neat Neat, Love Song and New Rose … helped in no small part by Pinch (drums) and Stu West (bass) holding down the bottom end. And then there’s Monty Oxymoron who, tucked away to the side of the tiny stage, was at first easy to miss. But once you saw him, it was hard to avert your eyes as his wild arms and hair flew about. Together they are the Damned and together they sounded downright awesome.

Celebrating 40 years as a band, the Damned are still ferocious and, dare I say, better than that day I first saw them.

Supporting act: Tijuana Panthers

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© 2016 Alan Snodgrass | Please do not use without express permission. If you like what you see, leave a comment below and subscribe so you can be notified of new posts. You can also become a fan on Facebook.

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