BLACK MARKET BABIES, TRIKE WIPEOUT
STARFISH ROOM, VANCOUVER, MARCH 3, 1998
review by Shawn Merrill
Finally, after 20 years, the Damned decided to return to Vancouver for a "Better late than never" preformance. With adrenalin and anticipation resurging through the veins of the elderly and youthfully mixed mob aggregated outside of the Starfish Room it became evident what sort of cross-generation/genre influence that the Damned had had upon its loyal legion of fans. However, before the people of all ages, sizes, and sub-cultures could witness the Damned's return to power, local openers, the Black Market Babies, and Trike Wipeout, were given their chance to make some noise, noise, noise. In Vancouver there is truly only one way to start a Damned show, and that way begins with the Black Market Babies. They are simply the definitive answer to all of the lost spirit of 77', New York, punk rock, and if there is one bastard son of Stiv Bators or Iggy Pop it's lead vocalist Billy. Whether they're backed up against a wall, or crammed in between the Damned's equipment, the Black Market Babies blast through all barriers with no holds barred and their old-school punk rock leading the way. Unfortunately there is a great deal of lameness that goes with certain Vancouver audiences and their reception of opening bands and tonight was no exception to the lame crowd factor. Seriously, these people wouldn't know the danger and power of rock'n'roll if it came right up to them and kicked them swiftly in the crotch, and the Black Market Babies proved that on this occasion. Not putoff by the crowd's inability to recognize anything beyond the tip of their noses, the band preformed such soon-to-be-classics as: "Bombs Not Food," "Blood Sucking Freak," "Retro World," "She's On Top," "Tune Down Tokyo," and "Fucked From the Start." Imagine the Dead Boys writing better songs musically and lyrically, something catchy as hell, and that's the Black Market Babies. Next were Trike Wipeout, a Korn, Sabbath, Rage Against the Machine, Dayglo Abortions inspired band that seemed extremely out of place on this billing, and, like the Black Market Babies, were not well recieved at all. However, their satanic rendition of the Spice Girls "I'll Tell You What I Want," was rather amusing. As Trike Wipeout exited stage left, the moment everyone had been waiting for arrived as Monty the Moron, looking like a highschool Physics teacher, positioned himself behind his keyboard and began playing an eerie introduction to lure the rest of the Damned away from their alcohol and onto the stage. As Dave Vanian, Captain Sensible, Patricia Morrison, and Garrie Dreadful(AKA the Elephant Man) came out, many people broke into a cold sweat as chills ran down spines. Then, without further ado, the Damned launched into "Plan 9 Channel 7," and the audience went ballistic. After twenty-years the Damned still had "It," and that in itself was stupendous! Captain Sensible, looking like a Pee-Wees Playhouse reject shoved an ice-cube up his arse after the first song, while Dave Vanian possessing the moves of a Vegas-lounge singer, and looking like a cross between Morrisey and Squiggy off of Lavern and Shirley lept into "A Dozen Girls." Patricia Morrison, ex-bassist for the Sisters of Mercy, carried all of England's bust in her tight fitting bustier while maintaining a very rigid stance during her impressive bass playing. However, she did look like she could be a contender for the newest Spice Girl, "Goth Spice." By the third song, "Neat Neat Neat," it was very clear that Dave's voice was sounded phenominal after all these years. In between, "Let's Wait for the Blackout," and, "I Just Can't Be Happy Today," Captain Sensible blew a bubble so enormous that it exploded all over his face, then he began talking about how he loves to shag the Queen mum's arse and wished she'd just die. Although the Captain's guitar sounded like a chainsaw, and he treated it like one, "Disco Man," was easily the best sounding song of their set. Monty the Moron provided a beautiful piano introduction to "Melody Lee," and when the song finally kicked in the Captain wanked his guitar so hard it looked like he orgasmed intensely, while Dave Vanian did his best Elvis impersonations. During their first encore Captain Sensible came out in stunning blue panties and a crown, the self-proclaimed "Sex-King," and sang a ditty called "You've Got to Have a Dream," before suckerpunching the crowd with "Love Song." By the Damned's second encore, the Captain was dressed as if he were Courtney Love, he looked like such a darling in his blond bob and pink school-girl dress! The band then closed the show with its two most notorious anthems, "Smash It Up," and, "New Rose," which ensued multiple orgasms upon many audience members who were having out of body experiences. No matter how perferct the show was, "Stretcher Case Baby," and, "Rabid Over You," should have been on the set list; nonetheless, let's hope it's not another twenty-years before the Damned tour again because a band this smashing must be experienced.