It’s rare that a band like The Damned would confine their uncontrollable punk chaos and occasionally majestic goth fantasies to a small club like Alex’s Bar, but here they come with two nights of performances re-creating their brilliant 1979 opus, Machine Gun Etiquette. That masterwork captured the best impulses of The Damned — rabid punk bursts of incendiary romance (“Love Song”), sacrilegious daring (“Anti-Pope”) and apocalyptic despair (“I Just Can’t Be Happy Today”) mixed with unexpected gracefully melodic interludes, such as “Smash It Up (Part One).” This tour also marks the return of early-’80s Damned bassist Paul Gray (who wasn’t on the recording of Machine Gun Etiquette). While it should be a guilty pleasure to hear the complete MGE live, one hopes that The Damned won’t turn into a permanent oldies act.
Alex's Bar, 2913 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach; Wed.-Thurs., May 22-23, 7:30 p.m.; $80. (562) 434-8292, www.alexsbar.com.
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