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The Damned Return to The Legendary Stone Pony Sans Toilet

The Damned Return to The Legendary Stone Pony Sans Toilet

By: Kim Palumbo

One of the things I love most about rock and roll is the sense of community it creates. When you combine that with a band that clearly loves what they do for a living you have the perfect recipe for a stellar show. It’s hard to believe the band has been performing for over 40 years because they still retain their youthful exuberance and delight in working the crowd.  The band returned to The Stone Pony after playing to a sold-out audience last year. With Captain Sensible on a toilet. Yes, you read that right; their appearance in Asbury Park occurred shortly after Sensible injured himself while on tour. The perpetual jokester thought it fitting to appear on a throne. And the crowd of course loved it. This wacky sense of humor has remained intact since the band’s early days.


The Damned was formed in London in the mid-70’s by Dave Vanian, who by the way, hasn’t aged a day in all those years, and Captain Sensible who are still in the current line-up, along with bassist Brian James and drummer Rat Scabies. They launched into the punk scene with their goth flavored song “New Rose,” which quickly made an impression on the scene. They transitioned through different sounds throughout the years though they always maintained their unique style. I first discovered the band in the early 80’s and was instantly hooked because they were so unlike other bands who played goth-inspired music. The others always struck me as a bit gimmicky but not the case with The Damned.


The night kicked off with a couple of great performances starting with The Darts, an all-girl band based out of Phoenix with a heavy sound and an energetic stage presence. The band has only been together a couple of years but they work well together. The played for roughly 30 very loud, very fun minutes and the crowd really got into it.

The Darts | Listen to their music | BMl






Next up was Radkey, a young up and coming band of brothers from Missouri who really tore the place up. They entertained the group with ear-splitting tunes and wild onstage antics and of course we all ate it up. Mark my words these guys are ones to watch!  

Radkey | Listen to their music | Sony Red






But on to the main attraction – The Damned!


We got off to a good start with one of my all-time fave tunes, “Nasty” which was famously featured in an episode of The Young Ones, a hilarious British 80’s comedy. A string of their most well-known numbers quickly followed and included “Eloise,” “New Rose,” “Love Song,” and “Ignite,” complete with Captain Sensible leading the crowd to chant “[Eric] Clapton is a wanker” while Monty Oxymoron tickled the ivories for a bit of extra flourish. It’s important to note that Dave Vanian has not lost his vocal abilities in the least – his voice is as deep and rich as it has ever been. Not to mention how great he looks in a slim-fitting suit and leopard shirt. Not many 61-year old men could pull this off; he does so flawlessly.


The band is on the road promoting their new LP, “Evil Spirits” and they performed “Devil in Disguise,” and “We’re So Nice,” off of the record which are both fantastic classic Damned with a modern feel. Though honestly, even their 70’s-era songs stand the test of time and sound completely fresh and relevant to this day.  


Despite having some minor technical issues, the band persisted for a killer set which ended with not one but two encores that had patrons spilling out unto chilly Ocean Avenue with smiles on their faces and an extra bounce in their steps. The Damned continue to wind their way through the states; up next are multiple dates in the western part of the country, and then back across the pond to spread their delicious brand of gothy-punk-rock goodness across the U.K. and Europe. If you have the chance to catch them, I highly recommend it you won’t be disappointed!

The Damned | Listen to their music | Spinefarm









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