The Damned @ Birmingham Town Hall – Thursday 13th April 2023


A quick check of the t-shirts around Town Hall tells you that The Damned audience are a diverse bunch…The Cramps, Motorhead, Nirvana, Stiff Little Fingers, Blackberry Smoke to namecheck just a few. And their appeal seemingly not only spans genres but also generations, with grizzled veterans of 70’s and 80’s gigs rubbing shoulders with younger faces, some no doubt experiencing the joy of seeing them live for the first time.

The Damned – Birmingham Town Hall – 13th April 2023

Captain Sensible and Dave Vanian were here in Birmingham at the end of last year when, temporarily reunited with Brian James and Rat Scabies, they played the nostalgia card and revisited their early years with a show based around Damned Damned Damned and Music for Pleasure. This time around it was most definitely not about reliving their former glories as the pair, joined by bassist Paul Gray, keyboardist Monty Oxymoron and drummer Will Taylor, offered up all of their new album Darkadelic. In true Damned style the album was expected to be released to coincide with the tour but has been delayed until the end of the month, meaning apart from a couple of tracks roughly half the set is made up of songs the audience is hearing for the very first time. Not that anyone seemed to mind, with the sold out Town Hall crowd listening intently to the new tunes and becoming suitably animated for the handful of old favourites.

The Damned – Birmingham Town Hall – 13th April 2023

Apart from the Captain’s occasional spot of banter there was little in the way of introduction to the newer songs, the band preferring to let the music do the talking. ‘Western Promise’ was remarkable for its dreamlike melody, the creepy malevolence of ‘Beware of the Clowns’ is in instant Damned classic and the garage rock twang of ‘Motorcycle Man’ and ‘Leader of the Gang’ kept the show moving along at an intense pace. That said, there was a noticeable upturn in energy amongst the audience when they launched into ‘Born to Kill’ which kick started the final act; ‘Love Song’ and ‘Neat Neat Neat’ seeing the front rows transformed into a jumping mass of bodies. The encores included the Gothic camp of ‘Eloise’ and slowburn of ‘Smash It Up (Part 1 and 2), before it all ended in the riotous euphoria that is ‘New Rose’. 47 years and counting, The Damned are approaching their half century in fine form.


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
Second Time Around
Standing on the Edge of Tomorrow
Neat Neat Neat

Smash It Up (Part 1 & 2)

Encore 2:-
Girl I’ll Stop at Nothing
New Rose


  1. I particularly like Rich Ward’s photo of Paul Gray about to give his bass a Pete Townsend bashing… Sounds like a fun gig!

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