I have family there. Hmmm…
Perfectly formed of course. Made by our friend Jamie for other fans to enjoy.
Fans of the greatest original multi platinum selling rock and roll outfit ‘The Darkness’ will travel and traverse the world over to get 90 minutes of pure “pants shitting” ecstasy. Interviewing several fans on the final night of the ‘Blast of our Kind Tour” of the USA leg, Jamie “Pyjamas” digs deep into the psyche of fans, asking the hard questions like, “how many times have you seen The Darkness” and gets a wildly varied array of answers from “never” to “twenty”. Digging deeper still, “Pyjamas” gains the trust of these super fans, who, without hesitation, tell her, where they live and their last names. Some have crashed open their piggy banks, called in a sick day, driven 24 hours with no sleep, all to see the rock and roll space vaudevillian act of the century. Dressed in slick new custom made threads and wielding pure rock force second to none, The Darkness live show cannot be understated. It is, without any doubt, the greatest live act ever, anyplace, any time. The fans can attest to this magnificence, and eagerly await entry to what will be one of, if not the greatest nights of their lives.
Venues are often places we rush in and out of with little thought of the story behind the place in which we spend a few hours listening, waiting, moshing, watching, laughing, rocking and generally having a good time. (Ok.. there are some ‘hope they stop playing soon’ gigs as well. Best not talk about those nights.) We look around to locate the important stuff like stage, toilet, bar and merch stall. Do we really care all that much about the place, or notice much? Probably not. One venue in Norwich, however, is a place worth investigating.
OPEN Norwich, on the corner of Bank Plain and London Street, was for many years a branch of Barclays bank. Old School in the extreme, it had high domed ceilings of white and gold plasterwork. The presence of cashier desks, glass and corporate logos was made insignificant by the splendour and size of the place – it was worth going in just for a look, and it was probably in some visitor guidebook, too.
In 2003, the building was bought by the Lind Trust, who established a Youth Forum. A need had been identified – the SOS bus facility (a seriously excellent thing) was available at weekends to support young people, but there was nothing during the week and that needed to be addressed. Two years later, charity status was awarded and in 2009 the current OPEN Youth Trust was formed. Every single penny of profit made goes to youth charities. OPEN provides early intervention of all kinds to over 4,000 youngsters using the drop-in facilities, supporting the next generation from ages 7-25.
OPEN hosts every sort of event you can imagine – art exhibits, musical workshops, shows of all sorts by young people, boxing, quizzes, lectures, book launches, drop in centre, recording facilities, dance studio, conferences, Body Art conventions, life skills courses, adult education, Christmas markets (a first this year) and awards nights. It is also registered as an exam centre. Several more new things are in the pipeline for next year, too. When I visited there was a weeklong dance workshop for kids going on. There’s a café, a climbing wall, ICT facilities and a wealth of access to advice and support. The vaults are also still in use – secure storage is a steady income.
Regular music events began back in March 2012, in a main hall holding 1400, with the more intimate and rather nice Club room holding 300. The range of music is pretty varied – London Grammar, Belle and Sebastian, Craig Charles’ funk night, jazz, Machinehead and a Queen Extravaganza. This month, The Darkness are welcomed – the fastest selling gig the venue has seen. Rick Lennox saw The Darkness in 2000 at The Barfly with 150 people, loved them, and has wanted to put them on ever since. It’s only days away…
At the time The Darkness’ tour was being mooted and promoters were ringing round venues for free diary dates, OPEN had a booking for the preferred Saturday night so Monday was arranged – the other booking then fell through, much to Rick’s annoyance – too late to change by then. Whilst tour itineraries are being finalised, the venues will hold dates as long as possible and chase if another enquiry comes in, but confirmation from the promoter can come in as early as the next day, so things can move very quickly. Dates for official announcements from the band and ticket sales are confirmed for release after the information goes on the band’s website. After that, the venue tech team will have liaised with the band’s production team, marketing will have sent the artwork and any posters, and the venue will have made sure as far as humanly possible that everyone knows where they should buy their tickets from.
OPEN itself is hired by the promoter, Live Nation, so there is no contract direct with the band. Rick is there to communicate, problem solve and make sure that everything runs smoothly (ie not letting Justin see the balconies). Which isn’t always as easy as it sounds…
This isn’t just an excellent venue. It’s a force for good in an increasingly bleak world for the young. If you’re there for The Darkness next week, stop, look around and think. Every venue has a story – some are helping the future happen, not just the now.
Many thanks are due to Rick Lennox and Hayley Gerrard at OPEN Norwich, whose help and time was much appreciated. Have a look at some photos they provided – it’s an amazing building!
The excitement starts here!
TOUR ANNOUNCEMENT – THE DARKNESS IRELAND 2015 – ACCESS ALL EIRE:
That’s right – we’re taking off to the green lands of wonderful Ireland, the place where a lot of the material for our forthcoming album was written or completed. We’re doing intimate venues to cater for our hardcore fans so contact your local venue directly to obtain tickets as they will sell very fast. – most tickets will go on sale today / tomorrow.
Fri 6th March – Spirit Store Dundalk
Sat 7th March – Nerve Centre Derry
Sun 8th March – Whelans Dublin
Fri 13th March – Monroes Live Galway
Sat 14th March – Dolans Warehouse Limerick
Sun 15th March – Bridge House Tullamore
From the band’s Facebook page.
Hi Australia and New Zealand.
We’re sorry. We wanted you guys to be the first to know this, but the promoter jumped the gun and then we couldn’t get access to Facebook in time.
There’s really not a lot we can add to the below. We hate cancelling shows and letting people down, but this is beyond our control.
Hope we see you soon.
J, D, F & Ed X
“It is with great regret that we are having to cancel The Darkness’ planned April dates in Australia / New Zealand. As some of you maybe aware, Ed has had some prior history with hip problems, which resulted in extensive surgery a few years ago, and caused him to miss some US dates in 2012. Unfortunately, over the course of the past few weeks’ touring, Ed has been feeling that all is not right in that department, and has been advised to undergo some rest & tests before potentially taking a backwards step and making matters worse.
He will continue with the last few European shows and will then take some time out immediately to ensure him back to 100% fitness. This very sadly results in the immediate cancellation of the Antipodean tour. We will of course look to reschedule dates into our scheduling and itinerary as soon as possible but have nothing solid to be able to make work currently hence this being a cancellation rather than a postponement. All ticket holders can get refunds from the point of purchase.
The Darkness also feel that to visit countries which do not get enough shows by them as it is, and not have the full, proper and original band line-up, is simply not the right thing to do. To that end there won’t be any possibility for stand in’s or alternative Ed’s for these shows and we won’t be touring with any ersatz model! We hope to have details of re-scheduled shows very soon. The Darkness sends its most heartfelt apologies to everyone involved”.
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?
A little something from Thetford Forest.
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.
This morning, Darklings were ready and waiting for the announcement promised for today, mostly expecting (not unreasonably) some news about the album release date, maybe some gigs to look out for. Lady Gaga’s little monsters were also waiting for news on her Born This Way Ball tour dates in Europe. Neither had ANY idea that the news was going to involve each other… At 7.30 this morning, Capital FM’s site posted the tweeted news that The Darkness would be supporting Lady Gaga on 21 European dates through August to October. Two were in the UK – London and Manchester – and a third in Dublin. Retweeted, it flew round the Darkling set.
Twitter went into an absolute frenzy. Both Darklings and monsters were relaying their shock, awe, amazement, and initial disbelief. WTF? REALLY? It came like a bolt from the blue, this one. Leftfield. Both sets of UK fans were split pretty much down the middle. Awestruck wonder and fairly vehement disgust were both expressed, along with disappointment. There weren’t many neutrals. A good many monsters will need a bit of a Darkness learning curve by all accounts. Some had set off to download albums and watch youtube – result! For over 5 hours ‘The Darkness’ trended worldwide, longer in the UK.
Let’s take ‘Awestruck wonder’ then, first. Why? Being fans of both helped with that one, to start with. If you are, then this is going to be one special night! Then there’s the ‘The Darkness/Lady Gaga gig’ phenomenon, whichever one you prefer. An expensive one, but Gaga gigs are few and far between here at any time, and Darkness ones also this year, so far. Then once those feelings had ebbed, and the bank balance had been checked, there were so many other things to consider.
This is a HUGE thing for TD to have secured. Main support to a woman of international renown, critically acclaimed, and truly individual. There’s no one like her right now, and she has power. She also has brains, and if she wants TD on HER tour, then she has good sound reasons for doing so. Impeccable taste, too, obviously. The amount of exposure that this will give TD is so immense it can’t be quantified. Not only will they get the captive audience exposure to thousands, but the PR benefits are just staggering. Even just being associated with the tour is like a rocket launch – especially as Justin tweeted in the middle of this afternoon that the album will be out this summer, which is before or as this tour starts for them. The Samsung SuperBowl ad has been blown out of the water! Next up is the creativity bit. Apparently the stage set took 18 months to build. Now, if you’ve got a main act who can pull off the sort of stuff that Gaga does, aren’t you going to take a little advantage of that when it comes to your own stage act? I doubt the stage will be completely bare for TD. I doubt the general atmosphere will encourage toned down costumes and restrained performances. Oh wow.. the costumes… I think that we’re going to see something very special, in all sorts of ways. I also think that actually, these two acts aren’t so very dissimilar and that they will understand and gel with each other very well. They seem to me to have the same sort of attitudes and desires in what they do and what they give to their fans. This has the potential to be completely mental, in a stupendous way. Bring it on.
I don’t want to do the ‘fairly vehement disgust’ bit. Leaves a bad taste in the mouth. But why oh why is this tour such bad news for some people? It’s true that the album news Darklings want was not what emerged today. Nor was a list of UK and Europe tour dates. Since when has THAT been an excuse for some of the things I’ve seen today? I can’t comment on some of Gaga fans’ comments. They have their likes and dislikes, and some wanted another band instead. BUT… I didn’t want to believe some of the things I read from both sides. Losing respect for their idol for arranging this. Saying that you’re not going to see your idol because TD/Gaga would spoil it. Accusations of selling out. Pouting and stamping feet because things weren’t going their way. Objections because the other band just weren’t right for ‘your’ band. TD knew this was going to divide people, and their small warning wasn’t without substance. Sadly.
Sheesh. This is a tour, and a damn prestigious one. It’s not a joining at the hip. It’s going to be a learning curve on both sides in some degree, it’s going to be incredibly beneficial for bands and fans alike in one way or another. No one is losing any credibility and no one will have a career damaged. I hope people get their heads round this, because this IS happening.
“It was put to me as a question – do we want to be a main support band on one of the biggest – if not the biggest – stadium, worldwide mega-tours that have ever been? And, I think I replied, ‘Yes please’.
“It was really straight forward.”
and Frankie added on FB: Haha, well said Justin! Why would The Darkness shy away from something this ridiculous?
And it is, gloriously so. Right up The Darkness’ street.
Quite right, too.
Capital FM have this morning broken news that The Darkness will be supporting Lady Gaga on the UK and European legs of her world tour. Tweets have flown, with both Justin and TD retweeting the link, though uberofficial confirmation still to come. This from their site:
‘Marry The Night’ star confirms details of gigs in London and Manchester as part of European dates. Lady Gaga has announced two UK dates as part of her ‘Born This Way Ball’ world tour.
The gigs, at London’s Twickenham Stadium on 8th September and Manchester Arena on 11th September, will mark the ‘Marry The Night’ star’s biggest ever shows in Britain. They form part of the European leg of the ‘Born This Way Ball’ tour, which kicks off in Bulgaria on 14th August and includes a show at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium on 15th September. The European dates are currently set to conclude in Barcelona, Spain on 6th October.
Support at all of the European shows, including those in the UK, will come from The Darkness and Lady Starlight.
Ticket prices will range from £50-£80 for London and £60-£80 for Manchester.
Gigwise state that tickets for the two UK dates will be on sale on Friday 13th April, though if I were you I’d check out ticket sites for presale dates.
Lady Gaga tweeted these tour dates:
Direct from TD’s Facebook:
The bewitching hour is upon us with more show announcements at the helm. The following shows will have a special Facebook presale on Wednesday, March 7th at 10am CST as well:
You need to Like the page to get any presale details, if you haven’t already.
The lovely Brandi Lukas has allowed us to share some of her photos on OI – they’re from Boston, New York and Washington. Follow the link for them all. Thanks, Brandi! She also has a blog where you can see more of her work.
The Darkness will be playing at the above Rock bash in Columbus, Ohio – the event runs May 18th-20th. Foxy Shazam are also listed. For more info and ticket sales, see the event site .
From TD’s FB page:
Darklings, as predicted, three more tour dates are being added to our February roster:
There will be a ticket pre-sale available for our Facebook friends only on Wednesday morning. Join us in celebrating this news! xx
Excellent news, Darkdudes!