Seattle gig review - Wednesday March 4th, 1998
With guests - Girl Trouble, The Catheters.
RKCNDY, Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.
Last night the Damned appeared in Seattle for the first time in nearly twenty years; the show was sold out. Their performance was awesome, featuring a better set-list than any show I have seen with Captain in the line-up (I've only got to see him before in the reunion shows). It was an all ages show, but the crowd was mostly and older crowd by 60 to 40 ratio. It was strange seeing them up here in the Pacific Northwest. I've seen 'em many times in L.A., where their cult-like following is much more obsessive. No one was taunting Sensible, or spitting on Vanian, or throwing foreign objects. In older L.A. shows, the crowd always chanted things like "Sensible's a wanker, or Scabies is a wanker" but not here (However, they did change Noise Noise Noise to Nose Nose Nose in honor of the Rat!) I got the feeling that people didn't know quite what to expect. The show was packed however, in fact there was virtually no room whatsoever to walk around...one had to fight through the crowd.
To those who've been commenting on Sensible's guitar sound...It was fine in Seattle. Apparently he used a back up amp (his other still being repaired according to crew), but he wasn't happy with it during sound check. He changed something later...and the guitar screamed! He seemed happy. Vanian...Need I say more. I will say that his vocals were better than I've ever heard them. His range was much wider than shows in the late 80's/early 90's. He could actually hit those higher notes as heard in albums 1 & 2. Patricia was great, and looked like she was having a blast. She was wearing this long, black tight leather dress. Hmm, she sort of looked like someone else I remember long ago... . Monty is a nut, but was awesome, especially on Curtain Call/Melody Lee intro. Unless I'm going senile, I think that Monty's keyboard sounds, at least through the P.A. were better than Roman Jugg's--LIVE that is. It seemed to parallel the records more than Roman's did, but that could just be better equipment, I don't know. Gary held his own, though I did miss the flames rising from the drum set when Scabies was in the band (some may remember when he partially set the curtains at the Hollywood Palladium on fire during an encore, w/ ligher fluid!) Opening with Plan 9... they had pretty much the same set as described in other reviews of the tour. Though Captain did give the crowd a nice teaser asking if they wanted to hear Jet Boy, Jet Girl! To no avail, Love Song instead! What was really cool was how the Damned treated the opening acts. I got the priviledge of watching the soundcheck. When they first arrived at the club, Cap't, Gary & Monty all played some whacked out psychadelic stuff...very cool, sounded a bit like Cap't's solo stuff. When Vanian got on stage, Patricia was nowhere to be seen so Captain asked "who wants to play bass for the Damned?!" This probably under 18 year old guitar player for the Catheters (Seattle locals and first opening band) ran up on stage, grabbed the bass and went to town playing New Rose. They fucking rocked. Song over, Cap't says "next!" So another young kid runs up on stage and plays Neat Neat Neat...really fu*% cool! I grew up in the O.C. California punk scene, and know quite a few old schoolers down there who would have cut of their hand for a chance to play bass for the Damned. I wonder if those kids really had any idea how cool their moment was...?
Back to the show itself... Captain did all the same antics that have previously been reported, joking, swearing, farting, burping, pink dress, wig, (Courtney Love?), bananas, bananas up the ass, etc. Nothing out of the ordinary...burp! He did go on telling the people up front that they were a bunch of dancers, saying they should appreciate their "Seattle Culture," and that Kurt Cobain was their "heritage!" It was a riot! They dedicated Looking At You in honor of Mr. Cobain's "heritage." Also, Captain thanked all of the Seattle bands that played on the "Another Damned Seattle Compilation." That was really cool. He asked if any of those musicians were in attendance; a few hands rose in the crowd. (performers on that CD included Mudhoney, Young Fresh Fellows, Skinyard, Gruntruck, The Fastbacks, etc...). I don't think that Captain actually knew any of the bands that did that tribute. By the way, I did ask Captain if he would ever bring the solo band out here, and he seems to be skeptical of it having any success....what is everybodies thoughts about that?
In sum, the Damned were fucking awesome in Seattle...and it's a Damned shame that we may have to wait awhile longer for them to return. I hope another twenty or so years doesn't pass again. Jed, their merchandising girl is really nice, so In case you see her: Don't be rude, she is a class act! For all of you about to see the rest of the tour...enjoy and stay Damned Damaged forever.