• Damned, The - Live Live Live: Tiki Nightmare



    Released by: Wienerworld
    Released on: December 12, 2013.
    Director: Robin Bextor
    Cast: Dave Vanian, Captain Sensible, Patricia Morrison, Monty Oxy Moron, Pinch
    Year: 2002
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    The Movie:

    When founding member Captain Sensible reunited with Dave Vanian to record once again as The Damned, the resulting album was Grave Disorder. While this album isn’t regarded as any sort of embarrassment for the band, it’s unlikely any fan is going to rank this one as their favorite, which means that a concert from the 2002 tour that went off to promote this one is, dare I say it, damned to a similar fate. Given that this show, recorded in London in front of a reasonably enthusiastic crowd, was meant to promote that album it only stands to reason that the set list will be heavy with material from that album.

    So yeah, the complete track listing that makes up the performance on this DVD is as follows:

    Street Of Dreams / Amen / Democracy / Plan 9 Channel 7 / Song.com / Wait For The Blackout / I Just Can’t Be Happy Today / Would You Be So Hot / Disco Man / Under The Floor Again / Ignite / She / Neat Neat Neat / Happy Talk / New Rose / Eloise / Smash It Up / Feel Alright / It’s A Love Song

    What about the lineup for this show? Dave Vanian on vocals of course and as mentioned, Captain Sensible is back in the group on guitar. Bass chores are handled by former Bags/Sisters Of Mercy member Patricia Morrison (who would later marry Vanian and have a kid with him, then retire from the group) while Pinch is on drums and Monty Oxy Moron handles the keyboards.

    As to the performance itself, it’s inspired. Vanian has always been a great frontman and he’s full of energy here, leaping and whirling around the stage and if he sounds a little off key for the first couple of minutes that doesn’t last long. He’s not decked out in full vampire garb here as he is sometimes, instead he’s got sort of an evil Elvis thing going on, which kinda sorta works with the ‘tiki nightmare’ theme that the band has going on the stage. Sensible antagonizes the crowd, makes jokes about The Exploited and occasionally tells audience members to fuck off but he too really gets into things here, playing shirtless and on the floor by the end of the set and tossing his guitar into the crowd at the end of the encore. Morrison doesn’t move as much. She stands there and looks impressive – she’s tall and imposing and even taller and more imposing in giant heeled boots – but she plays well. Pinch is rock solid on drums, playing a few songs in a monkey suit before the night is over, while Monty is… Monty. He’s a bit of a nut behind the keyboard but a good addition to the band.

    With that said, ultimately what we wind up with here is a solid performance that is plagued by a lot of ‘Grave Disorder’ heavy material. Understandable enough, given when this was recorded, but because of that not likely to be regarded as a legitimate classic. Fans of the band should definitely appreciate this, however, as it’s not likely they’re going to pull out tracks like song.com on any other tours so it’s a chance to hear them play some more obscure material, even if that obscure material isn’t necessarily their best. The requisite ‘hits’ are included as well, at least a few of them, and the last five songs of the night’s festivities prove that even here, close to forty years after forming, they’re still a band worth paying attention to.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    The letterboxed widescreen transfer isn’t going to blow you away but it is watchable enough. The fact that this was professionally shot on decent equipment helps in that department and the colors look quite good here. Black levels are alright despite the presence of some minor compression artifacts. It would have been nice to see this in anamorphic widescreen but that didn’t happen. No use crying over spilt milk, however, for a 2002 concert video this doesn’t look bad.

    The only audio option on the DVD is a Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound mix, there are understandably no alternate language options or subtitles provided. The rears are used pretty much entirely for crowd noise, everything else comes at you from the front of the mix, which makes sense given the camera positions used in the set up. Clarity is pretty good here, the levels are well balanced and there are no problems with hiss or distortion. The bass maybe could have been a little stronger but otherwise this sounds pretty good.

    The main extra on the disc is a thirty six minute collection of interviews with the five band members who played at this show. Captain Sensible gets the most screen time here, talking about his years spent with the band, their influence and why he likes doing what he does. The rest of the band members speak for less time, though Vanian, whose interview is audio only (the audio plays out over some still photographs) offers up his thoughts on why the band soldiers on. Patricia Morrison lays in bed clad all in black surrounded by antiques as she talks about how Sensible was the one who suggested she start playing in the Damned. At the end of this is a two and a half minute clip of The Damned playing on the Warped Tour.

    Outside of that, there’s a fairly horrible still gallery, a discography for the band, and disc credits. The animated menu features a weird noise that plays over top of it but also offers song selection or a play all option.

    The Final Word:

    This might not be the lineup that the band will be remembered for and it might not capture them at their peak. It might not be the greatest set list of their career and this might not be the most amazing technical presentation you’ve ever seen. With that said, if you’re a fan of The Damned, this is definitely worth checking out. It’s an interesting snapshot of one of punk’s most important bands and of decent quality.