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  NO EVIL SPIRITS AS THE DAMNED IGNITE THE PASSIONS OF A GLASGOW CROWD
The Damned/Slim Jim Phantom: O2 Academy, Glasgow


johnny main
Words: Johnny Main, Pictures: Carlan Braid


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The Damned are currently undertaking an extensive tour of the UK supported by Slim Jim Phantom, so on a cold and rainy Sunday night, we headed into the O2 Academy in Glasgow to catch up with them.

A Rockabilly set from Stray Cats' Slim Jim Phantom kicked off the evening as he sped through tracks such as a cover of the Carl Perkins classic 'Matchbox' and 'C'mon Everybody' by Eddie Cochran with help from long-term friends, James Walbourne and Nick Wilkinson (of The Pretenders) in an energetic performance that was well received by the audience.

It was my first sight of Slim Jim in the flesh, having seen him perform numerous times on tape and online, and I was glad we'd made the effort to get there early. He genuinely seemed glad to be back in Glasgow so let's hope that he returns to the city sooner rather than later for a headlining performance.

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Formed in London in 1976 by vocalist Dave Vanian and bassist (and later guitarist) Captain Sensible, The Damned were one of the very first punk rock bands from the UK to release a single, 'New Rose' back in 1976 and have had nine (count 'em) singles that charted on the UK singles chart Top 40 and six albums in the Top 40 album chart, and I never miss a chance to see them whenever I can.

Their most recent release, titled 'Evil Spirits' is due for release next month and it sees the return of bass player Paul Gray to the fold since his departure in 1996. Owing to the fact that the album is not out yet, I wasn't expecting many new songs to be played but they did include the title track which was held over for the encore showing the band's faith in their new material.

We also heard 'Devil in Disguise' and 'Standing on the Edge of Tomorrow', released via Spotify only a few days previously, which although unfamiliar to most of the audience, did go down well and it seems like they've lost none of their fire or passion when it comes to songwriting.

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"I know it's been 10 years" commented Dave dryly before 'Standing on the Edge of Tomorrow' with a wry smile on his face, but the cheers from the audience show they're more than ready to support the new release.

Dave's still an enigmatic front man, who very much kept his between song banter to a minimum throughout the evening while Captain Sensible grabbed any opportunity he could to be the centre of attention.

Only three songs into the set and it was Captain Sensible who called a momentary halt to proceedings as he spotted the photographers being ushered out of the photo pit.

"Oi! Get them fucking photographers back - this is my big moment!" he joked before adding "I'm famous - I've been in Top of the Pops!" at which point the photographers were allowed back into the photo pit as the band launched into 'Silly Kids Games' with Sensible on top form vocally.

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The thundering bass guitar of Paul Gray during the fast paced 'Anti-Pope' was backed up with the ferocious drumming of Pinch while 'Under The Floor Again', based on a true story we're told by Dave, is driven by Sensible's guitar as he once again made the most of his time in the spotlight.

Old favourites like 'Eloise', 'Love Song' and a storming version of 'New Rose' energised the audience creating memorable moments while 'Ignite' provided the first proper community sing-along of the evening.

Sensible had another moment in the spotlight as he does every night during the encores, but in a departure from the usual encore number, 'Happy Talk', the Glasgow throng were treated to a storming version of the Elton Motello song 'Jet Boy, Jet Girl' with Dave and The Captain sharing vocal duties giving the audience one final chance for a sing-along before The Damned finally left the stage.

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It's clear these punk rockers still have a large army of fans to entertain and they still have the passion and enthusiasm both onstage and in the studio.

Right now though we've got the 'Evil Spirits' album to look forward to which, by all accounts, is set to be one of their best ever albums and hopefully the release will be backed up by another UK tour, so how about same time, same place next year, boys?

Slim Jim Phantom's Set List:
Rumble In Brighton
Matchbox
Runaway Boys
C'mon Everybody
Red Hot
It's All Over Now
That's All Right
Rock This Town

the damned

Slim Jim Phantom's band are:
Slim Jim Phantom – Vocals/Drums
James Walbourne – Guitars
Nick Wilkinson – Double Bass

The Damned Set List:
So Messed Up
Wait for the Blackout
Lively Arts
Silly Kids Games
Standing on the Edge of Tomorrow
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Anti-Pope
Under the Floor Again
New Rose
Street of Dreams
Love Song
Shadow of Love
Eloise
Gun Fury (Of Riot Forces)
Devil in Disguise
Ignite
Dozen Girls
Neat Neat Neat
Seagulls
Generals
Evil Spirits
Smash It Up
Jet Boy, Jet Girl

the damned

The Damned are:
Dave Vanian – Vocals
Captain Sensible – Guitars
Monty Oxymoron –Keyboards
Paul Gray – Bass Guitar
Pinch – Drums

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