‘I’m in a band with my brother and two best friends…’
A fact that seemed consigned to history, just a few short months ago. But in ‘Every Inch'( a show opener in the vein of the Hot Leg Theme of yesteryore) that’s what’s stated quite firmly, along with the clear intention to rock the fuck out of Britain’s last tiny crevice. This tiny legendary venue was already rocking – crowd entertained by Dark Stares, but just wanting TD badly and making sure it was known. The band were greeted with warm affection and glee – everyone there knew that this gig was going to be a bit special. So intimate a gig couldn’t help but be so, and ‘Arrival’ always sets the nerve endings aglow. Also aglow were the neon bits on that first outfit (do you NEED to ask whose?). I’m as used to a catsuit and skin tight as the next Darkling, but my word… lycra rocks. Is rocked, and copes admirably under the strain. Maximum support and comfort.
The set list is pretty common knowledge now, and there is a photo below. Having ‘Love On The Rocks’ second was a bit of a surprise if you’re used to having it finish just about every gig you’ve been to – it’s made for long crowd walks, anthemic clapping and huge finales. Hell, whatever… this ain’t no tour gig to promote, please and persuade people to the Dark side. It’s warm up, practice, pleasure and a bit of playtime. No one really cares what happens in what order as long as it does. It’s still hard not to pinch yourself – it’s only been 4 gigs and 4 months since the Return.
If you wanted a classic Darkness gig to remember forever, this might well be the one. If you can have raw, polished rock, then we had it by the skipload. Despite the lack of real headbanging space, they rocked their hearts out, giving it everything they had. TD can play all of those songs standing on their heads. TD enjoying them to the max is something to witness. It must have been like this in the Barfly days… Confidence, belief, loving your own music enough to let it take over and showboat itself.
The crowd responded with the sort of adulation that’s born of a critically partisan attitude, not blind worship of a bunch of rock gods. They too knew their stuff, and knew what they wanted. They rocked and sang to the hits. Rocked and sang to the B-sides, which have a special place in Darkling hearts. ‘Concrete’, ‘Cannonball’ and ‘Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us’ have been accepted into the fold since June’s unveiling (or re-unveiling), but there were plenty of opinions and preferences about them. There was a slight break in the head banging for ‘Is It Just Me’, then they listened carefully to ‘Pat Pong’ whilst having a boogie, and gave it a great reception. I though that it was the one they delivered with least confidence, myself, but it was a true TD track. Anyway, lyrics about ladyboys and having two sets of genitals have to be winners. After that, it was nonstop TD karaoke rock until the end, energy pouring from the band and crowd far faster than the sweat. Fee’s (of FeeTV on youtube) vocals were spot on, and I have to give billions of kudos points to the bloke down the other end for his superb ‘MoooootheerrrrrFUUUCCCKEEERRRR’. Brilliant.
There was banter, there were cockups, there was an encore practice. Ed showed the others up by being the only one remembering what came next. Justin’s second catsuit was a delight of gold glitter. Frankie back in black, as cool as ever. Dan down the other end where I couldn’t see him, but I could hear him loud and very clear.
Brian May attended, as did Webbie. Simon Price had a song dedicated to him. All of the Hot Leg boys were there, to my delight. Any Darkness gig is going to be fun, but this one is a rare and precious jewel to lay in the memory bank.
To set the scene – we were in a long narrow room, with stage on the long side. Monitors on the floor in front of the stage, which was about 2 feet high. Stage also narrow, so not much room for cavorting with overexuberant abandon – and also very long, so band well spaced out. Just before TD came on, the monitors, which had been parallel to the stage, were rearranged at an angle, cutting down standing room at the front and also visibility for me, dammit – the stage seemed to curve a little so I had absolutely no view of Dan at all. Sorry, but no photos of him. There were also two very tall and wide professional photographers at the front who stayed for the whole gig, blocking views for a lot of us. There was also someone taking photos behind me, whom I now know more intimately from that angle than I care to remember. He needed to remember that other fans are not an inconvenience at a gig and should not be shoved out of the way or smacked on the head with a camera in the hope that they’ll move. Thank you, fuckwit. I hope all your photos were shit.