Photographs and Review by John Bentley

The Darkness

After break-ups and drug issues, the original four band members are reunited – yes, rock legends The Darkness are back! They’re promoting the latest album, ‘Hot Cakes’, and, boy, are they on form!

The Darkness

First thing you notice before the band come on is that the stage is pretty clear in front of the drum riser and the line of Marshall stacks. It soon becomes clear that this is so the band can rampage around, do jumps, perform handstands and allsorts. We are in for an evening of classic rock entertainment.

The Darkness

Abba’s pastoral instrumental ‘Arrival’ plays over the sound system and then the band enter and the peace is rudely shattered by ‘Every Inch of You’, the opening track from the new album. From the start there is plenty of theatre. Lead singer Justin Hawkins stalks the stage, never still for one moment. He’s in great shape and full of beans. He does some big leaps, especially off the drum riser, and a very well executed handstand. His black and white striped bodysuit is pretty striking too! He demonstrates well his trademark high pitched vocals during the course of the evening, particularly on ‘Get Your Hands Off my Woman’.

The Darkness

What we get for the next hour and a half is a joyful romp through most of their highly successful first album, ‘Permission to Land’, quite a few tracks from the new album, some B-sides and just one track off the less well-regarded second album. Several of the album tracks have been highly successful singles of course, particularly ‘I Believe in a Thing Called Love’. The band quite rightly play to their strengths.

The Darkness

The Darkness clearly want themselves and their audience to have fun tonight and there is plenty of rapport with the audience. They don’t take themselves too seriously. They throw some classic rock poses and towards the end Justin Hawkins takes a trip through the audience, playing his guitar behind his back. However, throughout, the playing is great and they really deliver what their fans want to hear. They are real showmen.

The Darkness

The show ends with ‘I Believe in a Thing Called Love’ and the band leave the stage. There is some frantic chanting and stomping before they return and launch into B-side track, ‘The Best Of Me’. Someone in the audience wants to hear their Christmas song ‘Christmas Time (Don’t Let the Bells End)’. Incredulity from Hawkins, as it’s not that time of year! However, with humour, the band duly oblige with a verse and chorus. All good stuff.

The Darkness

Then the interesting cover from the new album, Radiohead’s ‘Street Spirit (Fade Out)’. It doesn’t sound like a cover, as they’ve done a really good job of interpreting the song in their own style. Finally we get the wittily titled ‘Love on the Rocks with No Ice’ and, with guitars still ringing in our ears, it’s time to go home.

The Darkness

Good support tonight comes from Ginger Wildheart. Band leader Ginger has been around for a while and was a member of The Quireboys, before he formed his own band the Wildhearts. Tonight his current band put on a great show of fun, no frills rock, with good tunes and riffs, and all well played. The drummer in particular visibly puts some effort into the performance!

Ginger Wildheart

Setlist: Every Inch of You; Black Shuck; Growing on Me; She 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 of Me; Christmas Time (Don’t Let the Bells End) (short extract); Street Spirit (Fade Out); Love on the Rocks with No Ice.

The Darkness

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