Just a few gems of video and photos I had lying around in my piles of stuff to do. Best gig I’ve been to for ages – metal, filth, floof and tight trousers. What’s not to like?
I don’t normally link into other site’s articles, but this is exciting news on Billboard! And important, as it gives more certainty of long term Darkness to come.
This time last year, The Darkness were ready, willing and able to go and give bits of the world a few pieces of Dark to hold on to and cherish. Fresh from 2011’s November UK comeback tour, with a host of new songs and the promise of an album, the plan appeared to be ‘Let’s go strike them whilst the iron’s hot. They’ll never know which direction we struck from, but they WILL remember who hit them’. And so it came to be. America was gloriously stunned by the Samsung commercial, beautifully placed in a prime Superbowl ad break. It was also stunned by several stupendous gigs, over the year and across the states. The Antipodes got their share of the glory and are still Tiswassed by the whole thing too. Festivals were rocked, countries graced, and plenty of headbanging done. Here in the UK we had Thetford and Glasgow as headliners, but we are biding our time.
Video poured from the screens, as Every Inch, Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us and Everybody Have A Good Time were all released and created stirs across Darkworld and beyond. Clever animations and damn bizarre storylines gave things to admire and laugh at in equal measure. Plenty of little snippets of video from on the road were most welcome, too. Music both soothed and lashed the ear with the finest riffs and accomplished vocals. One thing The Darkness never got any grief for is lyrics – they remain as eloquent as ever with the gift of saying a lot with a few finely twisted words.
Finally, the album came. One fine day in August was amongst the finest in 7 years. August was full of excitement, plaudits, fan bundles, apps, tshirts and stickers. And noise! Favourite track choosing is still a minefield, so personally I’ve largely given up trying to choose. Why bother when there are more important things? Like.. which order will they come in, on random? Which is the track that suits the day? That’s an easier choice. Hot Cakes belongs on those ‘Best of 2012′ lists.
As the main thrust of The Darkness’ year was sent on its way, The Darkness were also being thrust forward. The real big shock of the year was their support slot on Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Ball world extravaganza – or a good part of it. Since the beginning of August until December they were out on the road playing to tens of thousands every night. It seemed like a travesty to some, but it would have been a travesty had they not done this. I saw two of the gigs, and they were superb. The Darkness were perfect for their slot. The crowds were responsive – in some areas, mental! and took to the rock in front of them like ducks to water. It was a great feeling to see another, entirely different, artist’s fans singing and dancing to your own favourite band. Pretty damn fine to see them wowing huge crowds. I’m not a fan of big stadium gigs, or of seeing The Darkness in daylight, but I couldn’t fault their performances in those arenas to those fans. I’m glad that so many fans got to see them in places that they won’t or can’t visit as headliners for some time, and their comments showed their own delight.
Tonight, a new year’s work starts in Ft Lauderdale, Florida. From now until April, there’s another long road across 3 continents to cart 4 men what do rock, some guitary things, many big speakers, lots and lots of wires, and some other fine men who know what to do with it all. Let Them Eat Cakes is ON (I like mine with lemon and sugar, please). Good luck, and may your tourbus WiFi never fail.
A little something from Thetford Forest.
A little time has passed since my ears were last beautifully dirtied by the nice people of O.W.L.S. , so this night out was well anticipated. A four-band dose of live music is not to be sniffled at in any event, but when it features this band, the night’s going to be a good one. Even if I had lost myself, my nose ring and my oyster card in the 400 yards between tube station and venue…
First up were Evacuees, just after I got there. Perfectly reasonable band, reminded me a little of Glasvegas. Can’t say they hit me where it hurts, but that’s not to say they weren’t any good – just maybe I was nattering too much.
Next were Zodiac N Black. Before they came on, I was told they were well worth watching, and Mr Macfarlaine’s words are usually to be heeded on these subjects. Off my bum and into the crowd… Well, of course he was right. They rock like heck, with energy and aplomb, and are REALLY GOOD. What more do you want me to say? They know perfectly well what they’re doing musically and venues definitely need to be filled with their metalling. A little video… and more details at the bottom.
That’s the better quality of the vids – my camera is broken so filming done on the iPad – but see OI’s channel for the other.
A short break for vodka, guitar lead/cable/wire swaps and it’s time for O.W.L.S. I’ve described their approach to the cleanliness of sound before, and I can’t say that’s changed at all. Starting with Only Joking, we were straight into hardness. No pussyfooting around here (Toby’s footwear excepted)! Go To Your Happy Place is a singalong of dark proportions, Hurt Janine an oddly delightful, joyous thing, Vitamins and Kibosh as moshy and headbangy as I remember. She Can Open Doors is below. I just watched it without sound, accidentally, and the rocking still shines through.
The sound pouring forth was something with a harder edge than back in February, with a surer performance. This had more punk and more assurance. February was no means lacking anything, but after a longish break, such a great performance was brilliant. O.W.L.S are brilliant, in a darkly shining way.
Get your vinyl copy of double A-side single Hurt Janine/Vitamins as soon as you can, as it’s a strictly limited edition.
Velvet Star were on last. Hmm. Sorry… not my thing.
Let’s get everyone out there to see both O.W.L.S. and Zodian N Black. You can see the former on 9th Dec at Emma Scott Presents, The Flapper, Birmingham.
Twitter – @OWLSHQ @Zodiac_N_Black
Phillip Rogers is a dedicated sort of man. Earlier this year he took his convictions in his hands, examined them closely, and found them worthy of doing something about. What followed was just a bit of a whirlwind…
Finding little joy in the UK music scene, he decided that it needed a bit of an arsekick. Where on earth was a home for unknown and unsigned bands? Who was championing the cause of the talented but largely unheard? Hmm… and in the best traditions of those blessed with vision, courage and a bit of madness, he did something about it.
BritRockArmy is the result of the musings, and the start of something else. Reviews and interviews are breeding like rabbits on the blog. Just a few short months after the first post, there’s an event showcasing bands, including acoustic sets, happening at the Birmingham Roadhouse on Sunday 11th November (see flyer below). A compilation album of donated tracks is in progress – the tracks are being whittled down, and this is proving to be a hard job. ‘BritRockArmy – Uprising’ (temporary title!) is to be a double album, and voting for the 15 bands to appear on Part 2’s People’s Choice is underway on Facebook .
BritRockArmy marches on behalf of everyone in music – we are all in it together, and one part can’t exist without the other. If you have anything to say, need a place to play, want to praise/promote/play your trade, then there’s room to do it.
A great example of following your dreams. Long may BritRockArmy fight for music’s unknown soldiers.
(BTW, this is not officially Darkness-sanctioned! – Laurie)
Day 1 – Nashville, Tennessee, May 22
“Long-distance information , get me Nashville, Tennessee…” – Yup this is Music City, indeed! I have flown into town after a weekend in El Paso, TX and am ready to get my Darkness groove on. My friends Dre and Becca arrive at my hotel to get me for the road trip, and soon we’re off on a venue-finding mission and then off to our friend Patti’s house.
The gig is at an old auto manufacturing plant, hence the name Marathon Motor Works. We’ve taken quite a long time to socialize/have dinner/get ready, so we arrive while opening band Black Box Revelation is on. This is a two-man band from Brussels consisting of a singer/guitarist and drummer, and they are not Foxy Shazam, but they will do. Their songs are very White Stripes meet Led Zeppelin. My friend Leslie and her bestie Phil arrive late as well, and soon we are parked second row ready for THE DARKNESS!
I’m sorry, Nashville, but part of the crowd seemed like they were too cool for school. Even Justin had to coax them to make some noise by saying Dan wouldn’t play a note until they did, and the only time everyone seemed to let loose was for IBIATCL and the encore, which has been revised to Hazel Eyes and LOTR. But for us hardcore fans, this was a stellar show from the boys! They include a new song called “With A Woman,” and other set list changes were dropping Can’t Believe It’s Not Love/Out of This World, She’s Jut A Girl Eddie, Physical Sex and Bareback, and adding Every Inch of You and Everybody Have A Good Time. Justin’s dive into the crowd and crowd surfing prompted him to announce that someone had grabbed his testicles and any misshapen children would be named “Nash” (and Leslie, Dre and I happen to know the culprit! Hahaha!) Justin and Frankie also drop on bended knee to Dan as he plays on the riser at the end of Hazel Eyes, and that was new and fun to watch!
I know some really devoted TD fans who waited years for The Darkness to return to Nashville (Leslie, Tyler!) and they were not disappointed. I’m really happy that they got to meet the band afterwards. YAY! Frankie informs us that the band will be doing a photo shoot for Q magazine in New Orleans’ French Quarter, so be on the lookout for that, kids! Now it’s time to get back to Patti’s and wake up early for our drive to New Orleans.
Day 2 – New Orleans, Louisiana, May 23
Urgh. It’s raining as soon as we get outside of town, but luckily it all clears up by the time we get to the venue, which is the House of Blues. Dre, Becca and I meet up with Dori, Sam and Missy, and then it’s time to RAWK!!
It’s a no-brainer that New Orleans knows how to party, so the vibe is immediately electric and the band is awash in adoration from the get-go. The whole band seems to respond in kind and are just what can only be described as “on fire!” J I think this is one of my favorite gigs on both U.S. Tours this year. Justin opts not to crowd-dive this gig, but after his walkabout he decides to pose directly on the barrier and have fans help hold him steady during the sing-alongs on LOTR. Let’s just say some fans got a glimpse of him up close and personal! 😉
We have a day off the next day, and enjoy the sounds and sights of New Orleans. We make a side stop at the Royal Orleans hotel, which Led Zep once wrote a song about on the album “Presence.” That was way cool and one of the workers there let us go to the rooftop pool and observation deck to check the city out. What service! Then it was time to hit the road once again. Quite disappointingly, the only alligators we saw were in the gator bites we had at a restaurant on Bourbon Street!
Day 3 – Austin, Texas, May 25
Why hello there, Texas! Austin also has a reputation for being a party city (this seems to be a trend!) AND it has a big music scene as well. The gig tonight is at a place called Stubb’s, which is a BBQ restaurant with an outdoor amphitheatre. We’ve not booked a hotel yet, so it’s straight to Stubb’s for some BBQ and drinks and waiting and waiting.
The radio station sponsoring the gig is having a meet and greet and three of our new friends are picked to go, and one of them wins a signed Epiphone guitar! Sweet! I also learn that Justin had asked the meet & greeters that if he climbed on the balcony, would they catch him if he jumped? I say I can totally see him doing that. We’ll see….
We and all of our new friends all score a place along the barrier, so we’re all happy. It’s hot and there is no breeze at all but that’s part of the fun. The opening band is an all-girl band called Girl In A Coma and they’re a pretty decent punk-ish band, but everybody wants THE DARKNESS! If I thought New Orleans was electric, Austin had them beat by a country mile. At least 15 people got thrown out for crowd surfing, and there was lots and lots of pogo jumping, and what can I say but it was a hell of a set!
The boys were dripping with sweat by the end of the first song, but it was oh-so-fun! Every Inch of You has become a fun song to rock to and scream “Suck my cock!” along with Justin. Concrete is easily my new favorite, though. There’s just something about that song performed live and in your face and makes me want to bang my head. There was a touching tribute to a friend of the band’s named Fred before LOTR, and Justin has since Tweeted asking if anyone has video of this tribute to let them know. I didn’t have video as my phone died, sorry lads! And Justin DID climb onto the balcony and dived into the crowd…not surfacing for long enough for one to think “Oh geez, I hope he’s okay!” before merrily popping up onto the crowd and crowd-surfing to the stage. Thank GOD!
Not only was it an awesome way to end my part of the tour (Dre and Becca went on to Dallas), but I also got to see THEE one and only Rock Blonde AKA Angie, and her new husband Bill. We’ve always known that Angie was spiritually Texan anyway, and it was great to see her so happy in her new home state of Texas, ya’ll! I’m also really happy that she and Bill ran into Justin outside of Stubb’s and they got to say hello to the lads, minus Ed J
I was supposed to have gone on to Rocklahoma and Dallas, but duty called and I had to return home. And just so you know, guys, my friends and I are NOT the only U.S. fans who hit more than one gig. There were quite a few people met on this tour who went to as many shows as they possibly could in February and May, and that speaks volumes to the dedication of fans who have waited 8 years to see you perform in our country again. Thank you, The Darkness, for returning once again to the good ol’ USA and we hope to see you again soon!
Recorded at three different 2011 festivals, this DVD and/or CD set is a memento of, an introduction to, and an ‘arse, I couldn’t make it to’ Motörhead’s live performances. With an 80,000 crowd quoted for Wacken, they’re not exactly small and insignificant ones, either. Wacken’s dominates, being the whole set, and by virtue of its production. The film isn’t in parts, the sound wavers a little – but it gives an accurate idea of what it’s like in a festival crowd and from stage. It’s real, just like it really was, and works for me. I’ve seen footage of gigs before and thought ‘it wasn’t like that at all’ so it’s rather refreshing to see something more honest. Reality gigging! It’s a long set in the rain for fans, but there are thousands throwing horns all the way through and their enthusiasm is unflagging. Opening with Iron Fist, there are 17 songs – Metropolis, One Night Stand, In The Name of Tragedy, Bomber, Ace of Spades and Overkill being just a few. It’s quite a thing to see, legends in action.
Both Sonisphere’s and Rock in Rio’s sets are much shorter, with much slicker film production. A good contrast, especially as Sonisphere’s set is in daylight, which seemed… unusual. Motörhead are a band for the dark, with afternoons a hidden, lost place – surely? It seems not! Both sets look and feel as good as Wacken’s, in a different way. Ste he could not have had. But let’s not get bogged down in video production details. Both approaches have a place, and show Motörhead’s performances in equally good lights. Good hard solid rock throughout, delivered without frills or fuss but with consummate ease. No pretence, no need of any. Sonisphere’s gig was the day after ex-member Wurzel’s death, as announced by Lemmy, so must have been rather a strange day for band and fans alike, but a greater tribute he could not have had. It was a good watch, and the CDs will make damn fine driving music on those dark rainy nights. Look out for the Festival Impressions W:O:A extra – it made me laugh, has lots of beer and a few interviews.
Watching HAS made me want to go and see them live, as I’ve never had the chance. So, job done! Oh, and I’ve fallen in love with that bass.
Out now, from the usual places.
Motörhead, noisemakers extraordinaire, are releasing a second live extravaganza on DVD and 2 CDs on 24th September. The Wörld is Ours Vol 2 – Anyplace Crazy as Anywhere Else was recorded in 2011 at Sonisphere (July), the headline appearance at Wacken Festival (August) and Rock in Rio (September).
If you want to get your rock mitts on this little package of mayhem, just answer the following questions.
1. Who designed the iconic Motörhead logo?
2. What is a motörhead? (Oh come on. That one you can do in your sleep.)
3. Hawkwind released ‘Motörhead’ as an A-side single. What was the B-side?
Anyone wanting to also experience this in a more physical way can get dirty in person on the European tour in November and December.
Entries are restricted to the UK, and my decisions are final, etc.
Just a bit of fun that grew out of a tinker – bit tricky sticking to the original scansion. I liked it so I thought I’d keep it somewhere safe.
How do I love thee? Let me count the riffs.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
Justin’s voice can reach, when soaring out of sight
To the ends of hearing and highleaping grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most rocking need, by volume control found.
I love thee freely, as men strive for sound.
I love thee surely, as men turn from crap.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my dancing, and with my singing out of tune.
I love thee for a rock we seemed to lose
With rock’s lost saints. With my breath I love thee,
Smiles, tears, of my fandom; and, if Hope choose,
I shall love thee better after album three.
Many apologies to Elizabeth Barrett Browning.
2012 in the UK has had some momentous moments, one way or another. One of the more startlingly wonderful ones is due on 20th August – a new album from The Darkness. Previously a thing of Darkling dreams/longing, it’s now a thing of reality. REAL reality won’t happen until I have the precious bits of plastic/vinyl in my hands, but they’re so very nearly here!
Whilst the interminable wait ticks by, minute by minute, I cheated. Thank the Lords of Rock for Rolling Stone’s stream, which is on (manual) loop.
YouTube, streams and the official releases have been your friend over the last months. Fans are familiar with the thrust of the whole new thang, if not with the fine detail. By now, Hot Cakes has become a favourite acquaintance with whom you are about to become very much more intimate. You’re going to delve and explore what you thought you knew, savour the discovery of the unknown, slowly peel away layers of sweet rock to uncover more enticements.
Back to Darkness basics. This is a far cleaner and stripped back production than OWTTH…AB, as promised. Nick Brine’s expertise comes in very handy when applying clarity and restraint to the natural Darkness leanings to excess. It works beautifully – controlled musicianship with the underlying promise of glorious chaos highlighted. There’s a delicacy of touch, in Forbidden Love particularly, that’s delightful to witness.
In fact, that song’s a treasure. Seems like a slip of a thing, but it has plenty of strength. Living Each Day Blind is an epic rocker made for the stage, easy to get lost in. Classic rock lives on in Keep Me Hanging On, which was the personal surprise of the album – great vocals. Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us brings its normal moshy anthemic joyousness, rising to the trademark crescendo of sound and voice. Concrete – a crowd favourite for over a year – wonderfully headbangy with stupendous rock screams to finish. With a Woman has a damnably catchy chorus and great lyrics and should be a live hit with the way it builds. She’s Just a Girl, Eddie is another crowd favourite already. Street Spirit has long been a little Darkling treasure, and fully deserves its inclusion. The original is fairly iconic, but this version will become the definitive version for a different audience. It’s a song that asks to be screamed out with frustration, despair and longing, and pretty much gets it.
The two releases – Every Inch Of You and Everybody Have a Good Time have intros that instantly mark the songs as TD’s own brand – no mistaking them for anyone else’s. Very different in tone, as a pair they are TD embodied. Fun, serious, defiant, feelgood, loud, potty mouthed and utterly relative to everyone’s lives. With some nice dirty guitar solos and falsettos thrown in, whom else could it be?
The stream includes the long version of Cannonball which has some more delicate touches than the full blown live extravaganza, but is brilliant in its own right. There is also an acoustic demo versionof I Can’t Believe It’s Not Love, which quite frankly is one of the best songs they’ve ever done. It could be performed in any version and still stand up, and the lyrics are some of the most adept. The other demo version is of Love Is Not The Answer, which is on the album ‘proper’ in the final cut version which shows off Justin’s vocal prowess beautifully – but I think that this acoustic version actually suits the song and its sentiments better. Or maybe just suits my temperament? I prefer it anyway.
Pat Pong, one of the more bizarre things TD have done, is happily there as a mastered version. It’s such a great thing to listen to – ‘with both sets of genitalia’ is a lyric I’ll not forget – just so wonderfully TD. It was great live at the 100 Club, and deserves to be heard live again!
The album, as always, is about life and love, and sticking your two fingers up at both of the buggers because even when it’s going right, disaster is not so far away. Or vice versa. Especially that Love stuff – should be approached with caution as it can get you into a whole lot of joy/mess/trouble (the path of true love never runs smooth, so if it’s less than true love and more of a eye for a roll in the hay, take care. Just in case, like). Thank heaven, though, for the spirit that bore Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us ten years ago, because without it, there would be no Darkness – this time OR last.
Whatever your Darkness preferences, they are catered for. Slow and seductive, hard and fast, enthusiastic, bouncy and energetic. You will have in your hands something that you can enjoy over and over again, alone or with likeminded individuals. Just don’t try and keep quiet during the process.
Fan bundles are still available, and iTunes, Amazon etc also all have lovely things ready to ship to you.
Presales of The Darkness’ new album have been available for a few days now, but fan bundle news has been released today. If they don’t appeal (and why not??) then there are lots of other places to buy – I ‘borrowed’ the links below from TD’s site.
and some others :
I wasn’t expecting to do another one so soon, but Laurie Whitecloud donated this prize so it would be churlish not to let someone have it!
To win this signed T (black, size large, US tour dates on back (1st visit) ) all you need to do is use the upload form above to submit photos of your Darkness related tattoos, or design a new one! Open to the whole wide world.
Entries will be judged on Friday 15th June, after the Sweden/England game. Good luck!
Celebrations have been loud and plentiful this weekend, I suppose you’ve noticed. Days off, parties, outings, rain – all the usual Bank Holiday gubbins. However, hidden amongst all the Jubilee extravaganzas, there’s a small but very significant anniversary that deserves a mention too.
A year ago, The Darkness played their first gig together after 5 years.
It wasn’t hard to judge the response on the night, or the clamouring for all things TD before, during and after it. Since then, things have happened thick and fast. Download, which proved that the appetite for Dark is still strong. The UK and Ireland tour that delighted us all on home soil – especially the BRIAN MAY GIG (capitals a must there). America’s first taste for many years went so well that they got seconds, with Australia going nuts for what they’ve wanted and never thought they’d get. I think we thought TD had hit it big with the Samsung Superbowl commercial, because it was a bloody brilliant piece of exposure.
But HELLFIRE, wtf? Lady Gaga’s announcement of her support acts blew everything out of the water for everyone. TD are probably still pinching themselves, never mind what Monsters and Darklings are doing. It’s going to be a hell of a tour.
We had about long enough for a whole weekend recovery before album news started to emerge – dates, name, tracklist, single, video, next single news, confirmation that limited edition bundles will be available. Whatever you think of the name and the track listing, it’s going to be here and on your media player in just over 2 months. Things are as they are. We HAVE an album coming that’s going to shape Darklinghood for months and months ahead.
The year’s been a good one. Dave Ashworth, Darkling of over a decade’s standing, says ‘its been a bit of a quiet reunion in many ways, I guess because they’ve aimed to hit so many areas so soon and do the album.’ Agreed. There’s been a definite lack of blaring fanfare, more of doing the job – it was going to take a lot of effort to re-establishing the base before World Domination restarted , and they’ve never let up. Not for a minute, either onstage, on task or online. It’s been loud where it needed to be, and quietly determined in other areas. So much hard work in one year, and don’t forget the management, crew, PR or anyone else. Festival season started this last weekend and from here, it’s all go until October and the Lady Gaga tour ends.
Raise your glasses and hats to The Darkness, today, and remember how we got here before taking a breath and wondering…
What the fuck’s next?
Hot Cakes is out on 20th August, so get your budget sorted.
The track list is confirmed as:
‘Every Inch of You’
‘Nothin’s Gonna Stop Us’
‘With A Woman’
‘Keep Me Hangin’ On’
‘Living Every Day Blind’
‘Everybody Have A Good Time’
‘She Just A Girl Eddie’
‘Love Is Not The Answer’
‘With a Woman’ was confirmed in Kerrang! today as being the next single, out on 30th July.