The Damned @ Hammerstein Ballroom

Post Author: Edwina Hay

The punk rock pioneers were NEAT NEAT NEAT in NYC along with openers Lenny Kaye & Friends and The Dictators

Along with The Sex Pistols and The Clash, The Damned are credited with launching the first wave of punk rock in the U.K. and beyond. But unlike those other bands, they’ve been together ever since their formation, touring and dropping albums on a somewhat regular basis – to the delight of day 1 fans and new fans alike.

On top of that, for the first time in 35 years, the “classic” lineup of Dave Vanian, Captain Sensible, Rat Scabies, and Paul Gray (along with consistent touring member Monty Oxymoron) is on tour in the U.S., and last week they came through New York City’s Hammerstein Ballroom and delivered a full-throttle set that reeled back the years and blew the minds of those in the crowd. Opening with “Ignite,” the fiery opening track off their 1982 album Strawberries, The Damned ripped through a set that was high in energy from start-to-finish. They also fired off several songs off 1979’s Machine Gun Etiquette, and made sure to circle back to their all-time anthems, including an extended rendition of “Neat Neat Neat.” They later closed their set out with the iconic “New Rose,” the first track they ever released, followed by a second encore in which they laid down a spirited cover of The MC5’s “Looking At You.”

“I told you it’s a lot better than Ed Sheeran,” Captain Sensible muttered in between encores. He go that right.

Earlier in the night, NYC punk band The Dictators opened the show, with Keith Roth taking over guitar and vocal duties following their reformation and the passing of Scott Kemper last year. Later on, Patti Smith Group member Lenny Kaye warmed up the crowd with help from his friends James Mastro on guitar, Glen Burtik on keys, Dennis Diken on drums, and Tony Shanahan on bass. The unit performed tracks off Nuggets, which was released 52 years ago, and closed out the set with a beautiful rendition of Them’s “Gloria,” which he’s covered before with Patti Smith Group.

All in all, it was a night full of energy and history in NYC. You can scroll through below for all of the highligths.

All Photos by Edwina Hay

The Damned

Lenny Kaye & Friends

The Dictators