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THE DARKNESS Shepherds Bush Empire, London
8 June 2011
Darkness exploded into our collective hearts in 2003, selling out the
Astoria Theatre in London as a then unsigned band and reaching
number 2 in the single charts with 'I Believe In A Thing Called Love'
and scoring a number 1 album with 'Permission To Land' selling over a
million copies. The Darkness had brought FUN back into rock and the band
were everywhere in the magazines and on the TV.
Darkness then imploded in a cloud of the white stuff in 2006. Egos were
getting out of hand, band members were sacked and the singer was marched
off into rehab. The Hawkins brothers Justin and Dan decided to go their
Hawkins had a solo hit with a Sparks cover before a failed attempt at
the Eurovision Song Contest, returned with his band Hot Leg which had
critics cringing into their pint glasses.
Hawkins with the remaining members started up the excellent Stone Gods.
However neither band put bums on seats and in the business side of rock
'n roll this is what it's all about in order to survive.
So it was
no surprise when it was announced earlier this year that The Darkness
were to reform although eyebrows were raised when The Darkness were
given second billing under Def Leppard at this year's Download Festival.
last few years some great bands have filled in the void left behind by
The Darkness. The band were renowned for being influenced by AC/DC but
along came another band from Australia in the name of Airbourne who have
the tightest rhythm section since the Young brothers and if you want
irony or parody then look no further than Steel Panther.
be up for our Lowestoft friends, will they be given permission to land
or will we be giving them a one way ticket to hell...and back?
say that The Darkness are back to where they started tonight as the band
did share a flat just adjacent across Shepherds Bush Green when the band
first moved to the big smoke in a attempt to hit the big time. Tonight
is the third come back show, a warm up before the big one at Download.
Hawkins brothers are original bassist and drummer Frankie Poullain and
Ed Graham, the very line up that we all fell in love with in the first
audience is made up of rockers and surprisngly a large proportion of 'trendies'
who are still in on the 'joke'. Judging by the screams that greet the
band you could be misforgiven for thinking you're at a Justin Bieber
gig. The Darkness still have that buzz!
Hawkins looks like D'Artagnan with his curly moustache and still has the
waistline to wear spandex trousers. The rhythm section can still kick
butt but the falsetto wail of Justin Hawkins does start to grate after a
few songs. But The Darkness are still a whole lotta fun if that is
all your looking for.
album 'One Way Ticket To Hell.....And Back' is largely overlooked with
only the title track and the single 'Is It Just Me' getting an outing.
When the band rock they certainly can do it in style as proved on their
debut single 'Get Your Hands Of My Woman'.
for a smaller show the flamboyance of the stage gimmicks are missing
this time around although there is a cannon of shiny confetti filling
the air for 'Love Is Only A Feeling'.
songs from the forthcoming third album were given a polishing off,
'Concrete' didn't immediately cement itself into my memory bank but
'Cannonball' was a hit with a great gritty riff.
'I Believe In A Thing Called Love' was going to be a no-brainer winner
but the real highlight of the night was the encore of 'Love On The Rocks
With No Ice' which saw Justin Hawkins doing his best Angus impression
coming out into the audience on his roadies shoulders whilst rocking out
on the guitar, splendid stuff which saw giant spaghetti raining down
from the roof at it's conclusion. A nice job for the cleaners in the
world still need The Darkness?....Well it'll be a lot duller without
them. I just wish the band were a bit more serious in what they do,
because they can certainly crank out the riffs. The real test will
be the third album. The Darkness are still growing on me.
Set List : Bareback / Black Shuck / Growing On Me / Get Your Hands Of My
Woman / One Way Ticket / Nothings Gonna Stop Us / Love Is Only A Feeling
/ Friday Night / Is It Just Me / Concrete / Cannonball / Stuck In A Rut
/ Givin' Up / I Believe In A Thing Called Love.....encore ..Love On The
Rocks With No Ice
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