Monday, October 24, 2011

The Damned - The Legendary Shack Shakers -- Black Cat - Oct 23 2011

The Legendary Shack Shakers - "The Damned asked us to be here. It's blues stuff, so try and get into it". Hmmm... if you have to explain it... I am not sure what feedback the singer was getting up front, but it was odd that not only did he say that early, he again mentioned that the Damned invited them and they were on the full tour. This is 2011 after all. If it was 1977, yes, they would have been gobbed off the stage at first sight of the stand-up bass player. Still, this sound did challenge a few people. It was uptempo punkabilly rock'n'roll that reminded me of some of the Denver sound bands, but not as complex. The rhythms were classic and the singer played some mean harmonica. The real fun was in the guitar work by the former soundmeister from the Jesus Lizard. I did not know that early in the set and was thinking it sounded a bit like John McGeoch (Banshees, Magazine) on steroids. He provided similar sharp edges that were heard in JL, while playing some nice punishing chords as well. This was fun and maybe some people were looking at their watches for this 45 minute set, but I was not one of them.

The Damned - There are some very unpredictable moments that make me feel really old in a crushing way. The latest was seeing that the Damned were playing on their 35th Anniversary tour. The math may be the same, but the Zombies 50th year did not bother me at all. But the Damned helped me get into punkrock with their dangerous performance (along with the Sex Pistols) on NBC in the nascent days of punkrock. But to heck with all that, there may have been a late sellout or something very close with two generations of fans and plenty of people in between. The Damned decided to play their first and fourth albums for the tour. I would have chosen the first and third, but the fourth was the next best choice. They ripped through the first album and aside from the usual slow moves from the soundman, the songs were ripping hard and fast. But this is the Damned, so there was a delay as Captain Sensible switched guitars and could not get it working quite right much to the amusement of Dave Vanian. But by "Born to Kill" they were flying all the way to their great rendition of the Stooges "1970". They did the songs in order and then it was break time after this 36 minute set. They came back and played an album I liked but have not listened to in years. I recall that I loved the first two songs and it was spotty thereafter. And aside from needing a couple of lines to get the harmonies right in "Lively Arts", they did great on those songs. They then proved me wrong by reminding me that I did like Side One a lot, but didn't always flip it over. Side 2 is spottier and led to the their pop music direction, but sounded great tonight. And "History of the World" is a very well written song, so my memory was being sent on a marathon and not merely jogged. I was surprised that they did the sidelong Side 3 song on the special two disc set. I thought it was akin to the dull Love song that lasted a full side, but again it worked tonight with lots of dual psyche keyboard moves. And after a couple of encores from their third album, they called it a night leaving a very happy crowd behind. The Damned were a brilliant punk band, yet changed their style steadily through at least five albums through new members and desired genre additions and shifts. It still works well in 2011 in whatever format they deliver it and I will be with them as long as they care to keep it going.

Quote of the Night:  "What are you doing over there... you lazy bastard."  Captain Sensible making fun of the keyboardist Monty Oxy Moron (who looks a bit like Rob Tyner, but is more a fall guy like Marty Allen). He had to stand there for the first album with no keyboards and sing a couple of backup lines now and then.

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