The Damned were also the first British punk band to release a full-length album, tour America, and break up disastrously, all of which happened in 1977. Although the split didn't last, it effectively set a precedent for the way the group would deal with success -- with death, resurrection, and reinvention, usually with a solid new record -- throughout its career. The best of these resurrections is the 1982 LP Machine Gun Etiquette, the home of Damned classics like "I Just Can't Be Happy Today," "Love Song," "Melody Lee," and the grand punk opera "Smash It Up."
The latest in a string of "final" tours will be a little different: There's no great new album and ex-Sister of Mercy Patricia Morrison (!) will be playing bass alongside Vanian and Sensible. Whatever the lineup, the Damned always put on a energetic show, stocked with the silly antics of Sensible and a set list packed with crowd favorites. This is punk-rockdom.
-- Robert Arriaga
The Damned play Saturday, Feb. 28, at the Maritime Hall, 450 Harrison (at First Street). Tura Satana and Man Will Surrender open. Tickets are $15-18; call 974-0634 for show time.