Review by Jason Guest and photos by Samantha Knight
Darkness. A black curtain. On walks Justin Hawkins. Applause. A lot of it. Of course. It’s The Darkness. And that’s Justin Hawkins, the Russell Brand of rock. Bare-breasted, with only a black and white striped and flared unitard and a Gibson between he and the crowd, he begins ‘Every Inch Of You’ and with “Suck my cock”, down comes the curtain and The Darkness’s reverent homage to all things classic rock commences. And it’s like they never went away.
Strutting his stuff like an unkempt Freddie Mercury, Hawkins is flanked by Malcolm Young dress-alike guitarist brother Dan and Bolan/Bowie/70s-and-80s-glam-clad bassist Frankie Poullain. And with “he’s single, girls” Ed Graham hidden behind the kit, The Darkness bestow upon us an evening brimming with never-ending energy, over-the-top flamboyance, and tongue-in-between-the-cheeks humour. Power stances, foot-atop-the-monitor pomposity, scrotum-splitting leaps, and foot-tapping handstands, we get every rock cliché in the book. We even get a drum solo. Thirty seconds of silence. Heaven! Tighter than the proverbial, The Darkness fire on all cylinders. Tracks from Hot Cakes sit well in the set and stand up to tracks from their début Permission… and the over-produced One Way Ticket…
Whether you think The Darkness a parody, a pastiche, or a clever joke, there’s no denying that live, their shows are outstanding. The crowd parties from beginning to end and so when the audience sings their Christmas song – “That’s the first time that’s happened this year!” – despite it being “fucking March!”, Wolves get the first verse all to themselves (Ha! In yer face, everywhere else on this tour!). Charismatic in presence and material, crowd and band become one. Thusly, the Civic is transformed into a stadium.
Set List: Every Inch Of You; Black Shuck; Growing On Me; She’s Just A Girl, Eddie; One Way Ticket; Nothin’s Gonna Stop Us; Get Your Hands Off My Woman; Love Is Only A Feeling; Friday Night; Concrete; How Dare You Call This Love?; Givin’ Up; Stuck In A Rut; I Believe In A Thing Called Love
Encore: The Best; Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End); Street Spirit (Radiohead Cover); Love On The Rocks With No Ice
And you can see more shots from the show below or by clicking here: