The Damned recorded their pre-pandemic Halloween show, A Night of a Thousand Vampires, in London. The extravaganza features a night of the macabre, outlandish, ghoulish, and, yeah, what seems to be a thousand vampires. Released three years later, it’s a raucous gathering of bloodsucking fans (in this particular case, a good thing) and the band that was goth before that was a thing. Using the aesthetics of various horror movies from the ’20s up to the ’50s, playing music across genres created in the ’60s and ’70s, to a crowd that caught the group in the ’80s and ’90s, in a live show that the band has perfected in the last two decades – it’s fair to say it’s a smorgasbord of a century packed into one performance. And it’s one hell of a show!

Part of this is thanks to the acoustics, which are incredible, considering this is all a live performance. That’s likely thanks to the gig being thrown at the Palladium, which is about as lavish a venue as one can hope to enlist for such a performance. And to add to that lavishness is a rotating cast of vampires, ghouls, fire breathers, contortionists, and dozens more. The performers punctuate each song as a type of set piece, adding to the theatre and ambience of each song’s theme.

But of course, it’s the band themselves who shine. David Vanian’s role as frontman and lead artistic director makes his presence loom, especially as his picture-perfect rendition of Bela Lugosi’s Count Dracula, even when he’s simply walking across the stage. Brian James (Captain Sensible for those who know him as such) on guitar continues to carry the virtuosic power he’s maintained since the band assembled in the ’70s.

It’s remarkable how tight the band plays, and despite the number of years that have passed, they still play with an energy and dynamism that makes this one to watch over and over. While the band plays across a catalogue spanning decades, they also manage to get a couple of covers in that bear worth mentioning: Bauhaus’ “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” and The Doors’ “People Are Strange.” Both covers are phenomenal and come at points in the show that only ramps up the energy until it’s finally over and Vanian returns to his coffin as Nosferatu.

A Night of a Thousand Vampires is the perfect dose of the macabre and theatre for Halloween and for those with their musical tastes firmly embedded in the era of classic rock and goth rock.

The Damned, photo by Dod Morrison

A Night of a Thousand Vampires Track Listing:

1. Beauty Of The Beast
2. Wait For The Blackout
3. Plan 9 Channel 7
4. Standing On The Edge Of Tomorrow
5. Grimly Fiendish
6. Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde
7. Absinthe
8. Under The Floor Again
9. I Just Cant Be Happy Today
10. 13th Floor Vendetta
11. Eloise
12. People Are Strange
13. Curtain Call
14. Tightrope Walk
15. The Dog
16. Neat Neat Neat/Bela Lugosi’s Dead
17. Black Is The Night

Run Time: 1 hour and 33 mins
Release Date: October 28, 2022
Record Label: earMUSIC

Author

Communications Manager @ V13. Lance Marwood is a music and entertainment writer who has been featured in both digital and print publications, including a foreword for the book "Toronto DIY: (2008-2013)" and The Continuist. He has been creating and coordinating content for V13 since 2015 (back when it was PureGrainAudio); before that he wrote and hosted a radio and online series called The Hard Stuff , featuring interviews with bands and insight into the Toronto DIY and wider hardcore punk scene. He has performed in bands and played shows alongside acts such as Expectorated Sequence, S.H.I.T., and Full of Hell.