This really shouldn’t work. And not just live but, like, at all. Seriously, if someone had told you just a month ago that come today members of Anthrax, Fall Out Boy, and Every Time I Die would be taking to a tiny London stage to show off their new band’s new songs, you’d probably have asked them what they were smoking. But here The Damned Things are. And hell if they don’t sound superb. In fact, from feedback-powered start to big riffed finish tonight, they sound like they’ve been playing together for decades. And you can actually see people- it doesn’t matter which stars they’re here to see- working that out as this gig goes on.
Rob Caggiano stands strong and seems real rock of the band while Scott Ian betrays his elder statesman status and plays like a wild-eyed kid but third guitarist Joe Trohman is the biggest surprise. Dude might have been propping up pretty pop songs for the last few years but he can’t half shred too, adding both ripping solos and true grit to ‘Bad Blood’, ‘Grave Robber’, and the potentially world-beating ‘We’ve Got a Situation Here’. And Keith Buckley is a revelation too. Sure his voice has improved with every album and tour that Every Time I Die have done but it pays huge dividends here, the dude pretty much encapsulating rock god with every gravelly drawl, great hook or gigantic chorus.
There’s really no need for all three guitarists, you could probably make the exact same noises with just one, but that is perhaps The Damned Thing’s one nod to excess and the sort of pomp so regularly associated with any outfit dubbed a supergroup. Because this is no flabby vanity project or dull distraction, no part-time hobby for rich dudes from rich bands, but a group with a palpable fire and fury, a band making music that’s often more than the sum of its parts, and an outfit that feel like they could take over the goddamn world.
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