A New Documentary Makes it Clear The Damned Matter | Our guide to this week's shows | Indy Week

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A New Documentary Makes it Clear The Damned Matter

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Of course The Damned deserve a documentary. The band was the first of the UK's original punks to issue a recording; even after peers in the Sex Pistols, The Clash, and Buzzcocks caught up, The Damned remained one of the best. Over time, they moved from brash, flamboyant punk toward new-wave pop, into a goth phase, and, finally, into its present role as legacy punk act trotting out old hits for eager crowds. It's hard to imagine anyone else, short of a hologram Joe Strummer, representing the Class of '77 at Coachella.

Still, The Damned is often overshadowed by its more famous, martyred peers. Lacking Strummer's firebrand politics or the sneer of Johnny Rotten and Sid Vicious, The Damned remain mostly cult figures.

Wes Orshoski, the filmmaker responsible for Lemmy, seems eager to change that perception with The Damned: Don't You Wish That We Were Dead. Featuring the band's founding quartet and a legion of famous fans like Lemmy, Chrissie Hynde, and Keith Morris, the film celebrates the band's fortieth anniversary by campaigning for The Damned's place in the punk pantheon. Really, it's not a tough sell. Archival footage of the band through the years is plenty to pique interest, but, for the uninitiated, consider this doc an enthusiastic introduction to one of punk's all-time greats.

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