All photography and content © John Raptis Photography 2020

The Damned Live @ Billboard, Melbourne

Smash It Up!

I have fond memories of the Damned’s heyday back in the day. They were clearly my sister’s fave band at the time and I distinctly remember her room plastered full of posters and pinups of Dave Vanian and crew. I also remember driving her to (the now long gone) Venue in St.Kilda to see the Damned on their first Australian tour many, many years ago. A veritable plethora of nostalgia when it comes to the Damned so that made for high anticipation before tonight’s shoot on the band’s return trip to Australia…

Arriving at the venue a little before showtime, I got my camera ready and went to the front to scope the lighting out and to get some preparation with the opening band. Upon getting ready to shoot, I realised I had dropped my lens hood somewhere in the crowd so I had to backtrack and scurry in the dark looking for the lost hood! Not fun I can assure you. I had resigned myself to thinking I had lost it and just as I was about to give up, I spotted it and all was right in the world again.

With that bit of clumsiness out-of-the-way, the Damned’s crew were making final adjustments to the gear so it was my cue to get into the pit and shoot tonight’s show.

Fortunately, the photographers given the right to shoot the entire show – which is an incredibly rare occurrence these days but one which had all the photogs present in extremely happy spirits.

Tthe band were incredibly fun and were genuinely in good form and fine spirits. It was great to be allowed to stick around for the complete set and I left the gig with a smile on my face knowing full well I had just witnessed a great rock n roll show.

And with every passing song, it all reminded me of the years my sis was a teen and that godawful musical racket that would seep from under her bedroom door as she continually played the Damned over and over at all hours of the night.

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