The word ‘legend’ is bandied around a lot in music – but it’s definitely true in the case of both bands on this bill.
The Damned became legendary by releasing the first UK punk single, New Rose, and album, Damned Damned Damned, and it’s the 40th anniversary of these events that’s the reason for their latest trek around the UK.
The section where they play that seminal album from start to finish is the undoubted highlight. Songs like Neat Neat Neat, Fan Club and Born To Kill not only feed the nostalgic thirst of the mainly middle-aged crowd but have truly stood the test of time.
Other numbers like Eloise, Love Song and Smash It Up show that they were no one-trick punk pony and have continued to develop while outlasting contemporaries like The Clash and the Sex Pistols. Respect is definitely due.
Pompey’s own surf punk legends, Emptifish, have also achieved legendary status, having come back from the dead this year with a retrospective best-of album, 6.57, recorded in their 1980s heyday. Back then, they rode the garage punk wave before being wiped out by gig violence and mainstream ambivalence.
But their sound is very much in vogue again, they look as sharp as ever and, with new material promised for the new year, we can only hope they reach a 40th anniversary show too…