The Damned @ McMenamins Crystal Ballroom, July 6, 2018 (Portland, OR)

*No video for this show because in every single snippet you can here me singing along FAR too loudly, but here’s a terrible pic:*

Nothing like catching a show of one of your favorite bands while on vacation, eh?

The Damned put on an absolutely killer performance in Portland’s McMenamins Crystal Ballroom – an absolutely gorgeous venue with an admittedly somewhat sub-par sound, which I was mentally prepared for, as I was warned about this aspect from a local. The venue was filled to about 70% capacity, if I were to guess.

This was my first time seeing The Damned play a “normal” setlist, touring behind a recent album. The previous two times I saw The Damned was for their 2011 The Black Album/Damned Damned Damned tour, then in 2016 for their 40th Anniversary Tour (which they played several songs from the excellent Grave Disorder… a seeming rarity from the band!). That said, this is the way I’d like to see The Damned going forward. The setlist was absolutely killer, playing several of their most well-known songs and fan favorites, though mostly skewing towards their earlier albums.

I’m unsure who was filling in for Paul Gray on bass, but he brought a great energy to the stage, and really, the whole band was in top form. For older dudes, it’s really impressive the energy the band has, both in terms of performance and stage presence. The crowd response wasn’t of a very physical nature, to put it lightly, but there were some quite loud singalong moments, filling the entire venue – all the more impressive considering the venue was nowhere near capacity.

The band did a great job mixing up the setlist, adequately portraying how well their different eras can mesh when put in the right order and context. “Standing on the Edge of Tomorrow” from their latest release, 2018’s Evil Spirits, fit in perfectly after “Plan 9 Channel 7”. The band then sped things up with the perfect 1-2 punch of “Anti-Pope” then “Love Song”, both from The Damned’s arguable 1979 masterpiece Machine Gun Etiquette, the album this setlist was most heavily pulled from.

The highlights (and best crowd reactions) include “Ignite” and “Eloise”, both of which feature what are perhaps the best singalong moments of the bands’ setlist and discography in general.

1. Wait for the Blackout
2. Plan 9 Channel 7
3. Standing on the Edge of Tomorrow
4. Anti-Pope
5. Love Song
6. Machine Gun Etiquette
7. I Just Can’t Be Happy Today
8. Devil in Disguise
9. New Rose
10. Eloise (Paul Ryan cover)
11. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
12. Ignite
13. The History of the World (Part 1)
14. Neat Neat Neat

First Encore:
15. Street of Dreams
16. Under the Floor Again
17. So Messed Up

Second Encore:
18. Jet Boy, Jet Girl (Elton Motello cover)
19. Smash It Up

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