IN 1976 Dave Vanian and Captain Sensible founded the punk movement with The Damned and somehow came through unscathed to bring their 40th anniversary tour to a sell-out crowd at The Tramshed.

Suave goth Vanian glided on stage to the intro of Neat, Neat, Neat as overgrown teenager Captain Sensible bopped about in trademark red beret. These juxtaposed personalities added a theatrical element to the band’s impeccable performance.

Even keyboardist Monty Oxymoron stole the show at times with drunk dad style dance moves.

“We’ll be selling zimmer frames on the merch stall next year,” Captain Sensible quipped at one point, but the main focus was on the music as the band packed debut album Damned, Damned, Damned and many more songs spanning the decades into a two-hour set.

They were joined by a trumpeter for their more epic numbers including Eloise and cover of Love’s Alone Again Or.

Former bassist Paul Gray joined the group on a couple of songs from 1982 album Strawberries and the whole venue got involved singing along to an extended rendition of Ignite. 

The versatile group teased with a lengthy soft instrumental as a prelude to main set closer Smash It Up.

With a dynamic stage show, musical heritage and inevitable retirement on the horizon demand is set to grow for The Damned.

But after an energetic encore fans were reassured that this anniversary tour is not a farewell.

“We may be old but we can still rock,” Captain Sensible declared, “and we’re not going to go quietly!”

Patrick Widdess