Event Details Page

The Damned
Premier Concerts and Manic Presents:

The Damned

with The Dictators
Doors: 7:00 pm | Show: 8:00 pm
All Ages
District Music Hall
Norwalk, CT

** Important Update: Wall Street Theater has been rebranded to District Music Hall. Rest assured, this change will not affect the date, time, or any other details of the event. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to reach out to us. We're here to help! Thank you for your understanding and continued support. **


This event is General Admission Standing Room Only on the Floor, and Reserved Seated in the Balcony.

THE DAMNED

People have been arguing about punk rock since the big bang that created that high decibel universe. The Damned were at the heart of that revolution and have returned like resurrected vampires to take back the(ir) punk rock crown.

Few bands have managed to maintain their manic muse, few bands have been key catalysts to a musical genre, few bands have managed to improve like fine old wines and few have managed to do it with such fantastic chaos, captivating style and shape shifting music as The Damned. Their mix of theatrics and raw power combine to create their vaudeville immaculate and gothic horror shivers, dark music hall anthems and a perfect punk rock.

In the rules of rock ’n’ roll most bands fade away but then the Damned were never playing by the rules. One of the originals who sparked the punk rock riot doesn’t mean they had to stay there. Their trip has been long and thrillingly strange and ‘Darkadelic’ is a late period triumph that entwines their core obsessions of garage/psyche/punk rock old black and white Universal horror film soundtracks and even moments of sweet jazz which they sieve with a brooding and enthralling melody. This is a tasteful aural experience with exquisite guitar playing delivered with a breath taking virtuosity but never loses its inventive punk rock edge.

It feels they have been waiting for decades to deal this hand that sees them surpass their early 80s classics such as Machine Gun Etiquette, Black Album and Strawberries whilst nodding at what was loved on all those classic albums.

From their 1976 formation to the new album this has been a wild creative trip. Playing by their own rules, The Damned were the first punk band to release a single in Nov 1976, the first punk band to release an album and six months later they were the first punk band to release a second album, they were the first punk band to tour America and then the first punk band to split up. They did this all by the autumn of 1977 before most people had cut their hair and even woken up to punk rock.

The Damned were then the first punk band to reform and came back with all guns blazing with their third album, 1979’s Machine Gun Etiquette, and then lurch through the years with their powder keg music, sartorial style, innovative takes on psyche and goth and even a brush with pop stardom in their grandiose pop goth phase of the late eighties.

For a form of music that was meant to be of the moment and flash in the pan, punk has become a much loved historical epoch and it’s perfect that one of the form’s key originators and one of the most prestigious bands coming out of the 70s scene are the only true survivors and are still, somehow, at the top of their dark game.

Few classic bands still have the inspiration left to make albums and few make albums as good as the aptly named Darkadelic. 2018’s Evil Spirits finally established the band in the top ten of the album charts giving the band the confidence to make an even more guitar driven album that celebrates their garage psych influences that have always been a part of all their best work. Taking advantage of the enforced down time of the pandemic they have been in creative overdrive in the past year either working remotely or in Thomas Mitchener’s studio just outside Watford.

The Damned may have been the punk pioneers but their muse has always been multi dimensional. From their first rehearsal onwards the band were beyond the cliche. They were the only “classic” punk rock band to combine gothic sounds and horror aesthetic with punk music, shaping a strong identity of their own. They had a baritone crooning vocalist instead of a shouter. They also had great songs and an intense manic energy plus a wild abandon of ideas. The new album brings all these threads together into a perfect whole. Their unlikely strange brew of psychedelia, garage rock, punk rock with a gothic twist has never sounded so well realised. It’s this seamless combination of all the dark and fascinating forms of music that is the key to the band, a combination that reflects the oddly diverse core members of the group.


You could not get a more unlikely combination of characters into one room if you tried. After four decades the two leading members of the original line up are as chalk and cheese as ever. The vampiric stylish sex god singer David Vanian is still dealing that 24 carat gold croon that pioneered Goth and gives the band a unique dark flavour. The singer is ageless as the mad, bad and dangerous to know Byronic vampire and is still immersed in the attendant B movie culture that he is so imbued with. His partner in crime is the manic songwriter and guitarist/bass player Captain Sensible whose wild stage personae, hilariously perfect monicker and off the cuff quips sometimes masks his brilliant guitar playing and timeless knack for melody and a creative sensitivity that is peaking on the album.


It’s this fantastically phantasmagoric bizarre core to the band that is key to their genius. They are the sartorial and stylistic creative tension that is the representation of the band’s music. Like all the great bands, the Damned were always a combustible creative arms race from the start. They were formed by the foresight and genius of Brian James who was famously described by The Clash’s Mick Jones as having the vision for punk a year before anyone else. Brian also had a fist full of anthems to back his perception up with. Their classic November 1976 New Rose debut single was released a month before the Sex Pistols ‘Anarchy In The UK’ putting a spiky cat amongst the pop pigeons.

The Damned should have been huge. They had the tunes, the style, the moment and the momentum. They hit the road with Trex, threw up all over the music press and were a thrilling surge of lunatic energy but they were hamstrung by being on an indie label and fell apart as other punk bands were catapulted into the mainstream by the majors.

Their influence from that period though hangs over the worldwide punk scene. The 1977 debut album with its short sharp shocks of songs was a template for many teenage youth working out what punk was and then its insane speed and wild energy was key to American hardcore and beyond. The album’s darker moments and shivering aesthetic were riders on the storm harbingers to goth and death rock. As the years rolled by The Damned have been acknowledged as one of the fundamentals of alternative rock history and one of the most influential groups of all time. They have been acclaimed by a diverse selection of bands that includes Guns N´Roses, who covered New Rose on Spaghetti Incident, The Foo Fighters, Depeche Mode, Minor Threat, The Misfits, Black Flag, Bad Brains, Green Day, The Offspring…

That would have been enough for any band but the Damned have remained restless and have survived and thrived. Evil Spirits showed there was still plenty of creativity in the tank and Darkaledic takes this up several notches. Where once they were almost feared for their wreckless and wild abandon the Damned now are respected for their talent and influence and Darkadelic is the perfect document of this sea change.

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THE DICTATORS


Considering that the first Dictators album came out in 1975, scads of credit is due these hearty pre-punk New Yorkers for blazing a long trail, melding the essentials of junk culture -- wrestling, fast food, TV, beer, dope, cars, scandal sheets -- with loud/hard/fast rock'n'roll and thus creating an archetype that has been adopted and adapted by countless other bands. Although wavering wildly in terms of style and track-to-track consistency, all of the band's albums are great. As protégés of genius music journalist Richard Meltzer, the Dictators helped translate a lot of intellectual fandom's crazed hypothetical theorizing about rock'n'roll's possibilities into wretchedly wonderful reality. Originally formed as an homage/response to the MC5, Flamin Groovies, New York Dolls and the Stooges, the Dictators wound up playing a similarly crucial and inspirational role to the generations that followed them. Even more amazingly, the group has endured to compete (artistically/conceptually if not commercially) with those acolytes -- and their progeny.


Connect: Official Website / Facebook / Instagram