Unbelievably it’s been ten years since flamboyant hard rock four-piece, The Darkness conquered the world out of nowhere with debut album Permission To Land. Since then, the band have dealt with a second album flop, cocaine addictions, a break up, a mediocre reunion and another album flop. The boys now realise that maybe their earliest stuff is their best, so they’ve gone to celebrate it by playing their debut in full.
Albeit playing the exact same songs they’ve played all tour (which they don’t try to hide) tonight they play in their (near-enough) hometown and there’s definitely an intimate feel to the show. Singer Justin Hawkins tells anecdotes about being sick in the venue when he was a teenager and even a shoutout to his local vet.
With crudely titled tracks like ‘The Horn’, some of the middle aged audience may see The Darkness as an ‘edgy band’. But nothing about them shouts Motley Crue and everything about them screams Spinal Tap. With a mystical golden cowbell descending from the heavens, a drum setup that’s longer than the actual solo and turning the stage into Santa’s grotto; the band put on a hilarious stage show. A lot of people get it, those who don’t haven’t watched enough 80s mockumentaries.
Of course Hawkins shows off his incredible vocal gymnastics that silences any doubt that his voice really can go that high. He’s the ultimate entertainer and not a man to be heckled. Forcing drunk and mischievous adults to get on stage and hold their own in front of 1500 annoyed and slightly jealous punters. Guitarist Dan Hawkins turns into a riff machine reminiscent of Ozzy guitarist Randy Rhodes. Together they give you a slap in the face making you realise how many outstanding tracks they have in their arsenal, or mainly that one album.
Proving through comedy, showmanship and sheer talent that compared to other recent reunions, The Darkness understand their place in the musical climate and they make an hour and half joke of it like they’re still unsure how they’ve managed to collate millions of album sales. Whatever happens next, the fact that they managed to make British rock music fun again is something to treasure for another ten years.