This was the first time I’d seen The Darkness since the One Way Ticket tour hit Glasgow way back in 2006, so after five years of anticipation I was somewhat excited going to the gig in the first place. Unfortunately I missed all but the last song of Crown Jewel Defense and therefore I don’t think it would be fair to pass any comment on their performance, and I’ll try not to spoil too much of the set list from The Darkness (partially as my memory is terrible!).
As the title suggests the gig was in the O2 Academy which can of occasion be a bit of an annoying venue, mainly as the sound can be problematic, but there were no real problems tonight. Anyway, back to the actual events… Foxy Shazam were the first band I saw and I am already a fan and knew what to expect from them live. They did not disappoint, Eric was rolling about all over the stage and the rest of the guys were equally as watchable. I especially recommend trying to keep an eye on every member of the band, as you never know when one of them is going to do something spectacular, for example keyboards being played by Sky. They played mainly songs from their 2010 album Foxy Shazam, one from the album Introducing and their most recent song I Like It, which I believe is the 21st Centuries equivalent of Baby Got Back… minus the rapping element (which makes it better really!). Anyway, I thoroughly recommend going to see Foxy Shazam, or if you are going to a Darkness gig throughout the tour turn up early enough to see them.
Now to the main event, The Darkness came on and went straight into Black Shuck, suddenly the place was bouncing! Ed was caged like some wild drumming beast. The guys sounded every bit as good as I remember and had all the stage presence and charisma from the old days. These are things that a lot of bands are severely lacking just now (in my opinion), and this is one reason why it’s fantastic that the guys are back. The guys played all the songs from Permission to Land, a couple from One Way Ticket to Hell (And Back), some b-sides sneaked their way in to the set list. There were a couple of new songs to wet our appetites for new releases from the band, a couple of special covers and indeed an early festive offering (no prizes for guessing which song it was). In every single song Justin’s vocals were absolutely spot on; his voice has remained as powerful as it has always been. The guitar parts and indeed all the instrumental bits were every bit as good and powerful as I remember (from the good ole days!). These elements all combined perfectly to have me bouncing about and screaming along to every lyric (that I knew, admittedly I did not know the new songs!).
The between song banter was back and evident throughout the interactions with the crowd were fantastic. One such interaction came before the song that most people would know the band for (were they not a fan of the band) where Justin referred to its recent use on the X Factor and dedicated it to a series of people, eventually deciding to dedicate it to all of us who had turned up! He also played about with the riff to that song, commenting along the lines of “don’t you just hate it when a band comes back and re-does the song they are most famous for?” There were further interactions (including dedicating a song to Frankie’s Mum, who happened to be in the crowd), but I won’t go into them all; partially as I can’t remember them all! There were the usual couple of costume changes from Justin, which adds to the occasion. I swear he was wearing the cat suit from Get Your Hands off My Woman, or at least a very convincing replica at one stage during the gig (which appeared to glow in the dark… I may need to question my pre-gig drinking if this was part of my imagination!). There was some dismay on my part when Dan was Thin Lizzy t-shirtless during the initial phases of the gig; this was remedied for the encore. I was a little surprised that there was pyrotechnics in the gig, just given that it was in a mid-sized venue and because it was the comeback gigs. I just thought it would be a back to basics approach, however they added to the spectacle and magnificence of the occasion and I suppose they also reminded everyone of what The Darkness offered in the past. It is also opportunity to add to the fun of it all. There was also a crowd walkthrough from Justin during the final song of the evening… in which a large amount of people rushed to touch him (in a non seedy way I assume), although in this walkthrough Justin had a shoe stolen! He continued to finish the song shoe-less and I’m sure the shoe in question is either on ebay as we speak, or in someone’s room… unless they did the right thing and returned it!
I absolutely loved this gig, it had everything for me: it reminded me of the classics, providing me the chance to scream along to them again, had a couple of covers to maintain interest and a couple of new songs to show us what is still to come. The Darkness are still one of the top live bands around, if not THE top and certainly would entertain everyone, I would have thought. There is humour, charisma and most importantly great songs in abundance. The gig had all the elements I love; sweat, bouncing about and great songs that I love. It was the first gig in about 4 years where I woke up the next morning with no voice, and I love that! I can’t wait to hear the future releases from the guys and hopefully they will play Glasgow again at some stage next year… I will certainly be there if they are! I would suggest if there is a gig near you and there is still tickets left for the Every Inch tour, you get your arses into gear and get down there! If you have got a ticket enjoy your gig, I’m positive you will. Hopefully it won’t be another 5 and a half years before The Darkness grace Glasgow again!
Thanks to Anthony for doing this for OI!