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The Darkness At The Glass House, Friday October 9th 2015 Review


The Darkness


Mid show, the Darkness frontman Justin Hawkins brought his age as an excuse for not being able to do some acrobatics ‘That’s because I just turned 28’… ‘He is 28?’ I heard from a guy behind me, ‘I thought he was older than this?’ Of course Hawkins is older, he is 40! But the fact that this guy believed him is what makes the Darkness interesting, for a few minutes, I was wondering to myself, ‘Are these guys serious? Should I take anything that comes from the mouth of Hawkins seriously? How should I consider all this raucous energy, were they a total show-off band? A parody? And that was the point of the whole show, you never knew where to stand between seriousness and rowdy parody, but all I know is that Hawkins was very funny.

For the first three songs of the Darkness show at the Glass House, I was in the photo pit, suddenly plunged in a hurricane of mighty guitar riffs, blinding flashing lights and a formidable stage energy. The Darkness is anything but dark, there is way too much glitter in this obscurity, they are flamboyant and funny like kids who have grown up with a heavy diet of glam-rock-hard-rock, listening to AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Queens and Def Leppard, and the most amazing part is that they can bring up all this influences together and make it work. They even recently replaced their drummer with Rufus Taylor, yes the son of Queen drummer Roger Taylor, so you can’t go closer to the original than this. Part Freddie Mercury, part Mick Jagger, frontman Justin Hawkins screams like a rock glam god and their show becomes a restless and explosive ball of fire from start to finish.

The foursomes immediately owned the place but it could have easily gone over the top if the raucous music hadn’t been wrapped inside a large dose of British humor and self-parody, these guys don’t take themselves seriously for a minute but deliver real entertainment. But I knew very little about them, and I always prefer to discover a band live than doing my homework before hand, so it was a real chock, the music was reminding me a lot of things, and each song was bringing a new reference straight from the mid 80’s. However, it wasn’t question of parody anymore, the music was rocking, all swagger and giant guitar riffs, overthrowing clichés upside down, sounding like a hard rock metal band fronted by a diva with an operatic falsetto howl, resuscitating rock & roll in all its colorful grandiosity, like the missing link between AC/DC and Queens. This is a band which cares about its outfits, although Justin Hawkins first came with a very glam striped costume and a dandy look, but he was losing layer after layer as the show was progressing, still staying decent thought. He came back for the encore only wearing a short and a signature Thin Lizzy t-shirt, just like his brother Dan, as if they wanted to make the expression ‘wearing their influences on their sleeves’ the perfect euphemism.

Their setlist was mixing a bit of each of their four records, heavy on their break through album ‘Permission to Land’ released in 2003, doing a few with a piano (‘Friday night’, ‘English Country Garden’, and they even covered Radiohead according to the setlist, but this totally escaped me as I was caught in the tumultuous ballet of their guitars.

The crowd was very enthusiastic, with some epic singalongs, and although there was a girl next to me who was living the songs and Hawkins’ wild screams in each fiber of her body, the main action was on stage with the giant riffs, the excess and excessive solos, the numerous guitar changes between Hawkins high tenor voice… They may have been all about 70’s-80’s rock but there was no doubt about the power of their musicianship, which makes of the Darkness a sort of enigma, if they had existed at least 35 years ago, they would have been crowned guitar heroes! Not that they didn’t have their hour of glory with platinum albums, British awards and unavoidably alcohol and cocaine abuse… But their way to turn everything in derision was refreshing, mixing glamorous style with a youthful abandon which would easily turn into a debauchery worthy of the Black Lips… ‘This is a song about a time I put all my money in my nostril,’ said funny guy Hawkins.

They put absolutely no barrier between them and their audience, at one point, Hawkins put on his head every bandana and hat that the crowd was throwing at him, even a fox fur hat which made him humorously furious ‘You should be ashamed of wasting a life, like this’, he repeatedly said giving the fur coif to his drummer… ‘but enough about my career!’ Ha, all the laughs they could get with his jokes. Of course, all the songs had this grand finale, with leg apart and big jumps, and Hawkins made a tour on the room climbed on the shoulders of a security guard, touched people’s heads trying to keep his balance on the thin barricade. They threw almost everything they could to the crowd before leaving, from guitar pics to sweatwrists, and I was almost disappointed to not see the Thin Lizzy shirt fly over my head,

At time, they looked like a goofy side project of Queens of the Stone Age if Eagles of Death metal didn’t already exist,… they could be their British alter-ego, and start a battle of riffs. They seemed to be the last survivors of this genre and their silliness was a pleasure to watch, it’s rare to see a band which has this much fun on stage, and if they screamed ‘I Believe in a Thing Called Love’ just before the encore, everyone believed in a thing called the darkness all night long.


Growing on Me
Black Shuck
Givin’ up
Roaring Waters
One Way Ticket
Love is only a Feeling
Friday night
English Country Garden
Every Inch
Rack of Glam (new song)
Get your Hands off my Woman
Stuck in a Rut
I Believe in a Thing Called Love

Open Fire
Street Spirit (Radiohead)
Love on the Rocks with no Ice

Many pictures of the show here.

1 Comment

  1. Joel Pangborn on October 12, 2015 at 2:55 pm

    FANFUCKINGTASTIC SHOW !!! … and the Pics, Vids, and Review are right on. First, I am 60 years old, and this is what Rock ‘n Roll is all about !!! Second, The Darkness represents what is missing in music today, and they proved it by bringing back the memories of the days when I was blessed to be able to see Queen, Kiss, Rush, Black Sabbath, etc., etc., etc. in venues like The Glass House. The DJ that opened the show played all the greats, and the opening intro The Darkness use before hitting the stage, brought chills to the tip of my fingers in anticipation of the explosion that was about to engulf us all in attendance. This is the first, but not last, concert I will see by The Darkness, These guys should be bigger than they are, and rightly deserve to be on major tours and major stages throughout the world. It was great to see Justin in top healthy form and the band kicking major ass throughout the show. Again, FANFUCKINGTASTIC SHOW GUYS !!! THANK YOU !!!

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