`A Night Of A Thousand Vampires` was filmed at London’s prestigious grade ll listed Palladium Theatre on October 28th, 2019, where legendary gothic punk rockers The Damned took the stage for a very special immersive musical and theatrical experience. The group teamed up with The Hammer House of Horror and the cast of The Circus of Horrors to present an evening of merriment and a taste of numbers from throughout their forty year career. The night was billed as “A night to remember for those of us amongst the living… and the undead!”
The film opens with scenes capturing the expectant fans arriving at the theatre all in Victorian dress as a horse drawn carriage arrives with a coffin inside the glass fronted hearse bearing a wreath with the band`s name. The coffin is carried into the theatre and laid on the stage. The musical accompaniment to this black and white scene is the delightfully eerie `Beauty Of The Beast` sung by the band`s vocalist Dave Vanian over a tinkling piano supplied by keyboardist Monty Oxymoron .
As the number closes the film changes from black and white into colour and the band share `Wait For The Blackout as the singer stalks the stage with his menacing presence dressed as the Count himself. We have a couple of blistering numbers with `Plan 9 Channel 7` a song based on Malia Nurmi, otherwise known as America’s, very first late-night TV horror host, Vampira and the supposed lover of James Dean blasts out with a couple of dancers dressed as Vampira accompanying the group. This is followed by what was a recently written number, at the time, in the futuristic `Standing On The Edge Of Tomorrow`.
The wonderful `Grimly Fiendish` is shared with Paul Gray resplendent in a tricorne hat with his bass ringing out and before the flamboyant `Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde` has the singer nursing a child in what seems to be a kind of ventriloquist skit. A dancer sprinkling glitter flies above the band as `Absinthe` rings out before the singer ventures into the audience during `Under The Floor Again`. There`s a searing version of a favourite track of mine with `I Just Can’t Be Happy Today` before Mr Vanian shares that he`s a huge fan of Vincent Price and plays `13th Floor Vendetta` as a kind of tribute.
There`s a thunderous take on Barry Ryan`s `Eloise` probably The Damned`s biggest hit with some orchestrated strings and brass ringing out while zombies infiltrate the stage and pretend to cut some poor souls throat. We have a couple of numbers that I have to say are less well known to me with `Curtain Call` with string accompaniment and the singer venturing into the audience once again, `Tightrope Walk` with trapeze acrobats and fire eaters adding a visual slant and the reflective `The Dog` written after Dave Vanian read the book Interview with the Vampire and based the lyrics around his interpretation of Claudia’s character. They even have a Claudia vampire child walking across the stage as the band play the track.
The pounding `Neat Neat Neat` brings us back to life as Captain Sensible`s guitar solo merges us into a version of the Bauhaus classic `Bela Lugosi’s Dead` before eventually returning to finish out `Neat Neat Neat`. The band close out the show with `Black Is The Night` as the titles roll and we have the opportunity to finally absorb what we have witnessed over the last ninety minutes. The concluding scene was a shot of drummer Pinch (Andrew Pinching) waving to the faithful as it was his final gig with his comrades after twenty years’ service, a fitting farewell indeed.
`A Night Of A Thousand Vampires` was a well thought out and executed occasion and watching this show was a totally immersive experience both visually and aurally and really made me feel saddened that i`d not actually attended the event.
For the lucky attendees and others like myself `A Night Of A Thousand Vampires` is a must have Blu-ray and live cd to add to your collection.
The Damned Original Line-Up Tour starts in London this week, also coming to Manchester, Glasgow and Birmingham. For tickets visit officialdamned.com