It wasn’t quite “The Sex Pistols at the 100 Club”, but many who saw The Damned in Grappa’s Cellar, Central, in January 2012 still speak of the blistering experience in reverential terms. Here was that rarest of beasts: a band that could play – and fast – and who were happy to interact with the crowd. If you weren’t at Grappa’s, Live in Margate – recorded in December and available only through “direct-to-fan” website Pledge Music – will give you a sense of what you missed, or can look forward to when the veteran punks reappear, at Kitec, on February 28.
Margate was the last stop on a UK tour celebrating the band’s debut, Damned Damned Damned, which was released 40 years and 10 days before the date of their second Hong Kong show. They may not play the entire record at Kitec, as they did on the Kent coast, but you can be sure the likes of Neat Neat Neat, Born to Kill, I Fall and, of course, New Rose (the first punk song ever committed to vinyl) will be aired in all their ferocious glory. The other 19 songs in this two-disc set are taken from the band’s fertile, 1979-86 period and 2001’s Grave Disorder. All are delivered with the urgency you might expect from the 60-something stars of a documentary called Don’t You Wish That We Were Dead. To Donald Trump, Captain Sensible dedicates Generals (last line: “The whole world is going insane”).
If the Margate and Grappa’s shows are anything to go by, February 28 is going to be neat, neat and neat.