Photos and Review by Steven Paugh – firstname.lastname@example.org
Outcasts, misfits, and people just looking to dance were gifted a high energy and roaring show by Vacation, Suzi Moon and The Damned this past Sunday (8/28/22) at Bogarts.
Rock is such an umbrella term at this point it’s almost not worth using. With so many sub-genres born from those who started what we consider “rock”, it’s nearly impossible to name all of them. However, The Damned has seemed to be the blueprint for a lot more than people realize, inherently making them the true godfathers of rock. From punk, to post punk, to goth rock, many modern bands can have their influences traced back to The Damned. Go to a Ghost show and you can see the influence that singer Dave Vanian has obviously had on the singing style and stage presence of Ghost singer Tobias Forge, whether he realizes it or not. You would think being the start of many modern sounds would be the attitude of the band, but that’s not what I witnessed at all from their show Sunday evening.
Before they came on stage however, the stage belonged purely to the high voltage performances of bands Vacation and Suzi Moon. Vacation is a Cincinnati based rock band with high speed punk tempos and hard style playing. Their drummer alone was hitting the set like it owed him money, and I particularly enjoyed the raspy grunge style vocals of the singer that really tied their sound together. Following them was ex Civet and Turbulant Hearts member Suzi Moon, now performing her own solo material with a band the truly lives up to her punk rock roots. Her theatrical appearance and wicked vocals made for an astounding performance that the crowd couldn’t keep their eyes off of. Never had I seen a performer truly love her audience down to doing meet and greets at her merch table, fully invested in talking to her fans rather than keeping the line moving. All in all, the opening acts perfectly set the mood for one of the founders of the punk rock sound as we know today, The Damned.
The fans of The Damned seemed to all have these things in common: dark, expressive, and not a care in the world. The whole spectrum of imagery of the word “outcast” across decades was present; trad goths, punks, heshers, etc. Almost representing the styles the band themselves have dipped in and out of over the course of their career, and nothing showed this journey more than their set list which seemed to cover their whole discography. From their early punk days to the darker and more melancholic sound of their gothic style. What stuck out to me was the absence of moshing to their mosh worthy songs, as the crowd seemed to just want to dance and sing along no matter the tempo. As someone who had not heard many of their songs before the show, I’m disappointed at my ignorance, because the first note of every song was met with immense applause and every lyric was dearly sung by the crowd. The Damned’s fan base seemed to be very passionate about their music and it was truly wonderful to witness.
But with all this history and love, has it all gone to the heads of the members? Not in the slightest. The band could have easily performed at bigger venues bringing in more ticket sales, but they were performing at Bogarts, a more intimate setting that seems more genuine to their roots in the underground punk scene. For the fans this created a more one on one experience, and with as much as they love the band I’m sure they really appreciate it. This along with the humble attitudes of the members not being afraid to look silly just having fun on stage really shows the mindset they have. Where many bands try so hard to keep a hard and serious composure where it isn’t needed, The Damned (who could easily chalk it up to their aesthetic) are just there to perform for their dedicated fan base and have fun.