February 25th, 2012
In 2003 there was a new UK glam rock band starting to create some excitement in the music world. With rocking guitars, a soaring falsetto voice and a great stage persona The Darkness led by brothers Justin and Dan Hawkins were about to take the world by storm with their debut album Permission To Land and signature song I Believe In A Thing Called Love. I saw them at the Corner Hotel in Melbourne, Australia in 2004 in what was a relatively small concert (I will never forget Justin entering the crowd on the shoulders of a security guy playing his guitar next to me!). Little was I to know that would be the last time I would see them until tonight!
In 2005 they released a followup album One Way Ticket To Hell… And Back it wasn’t quite as successful but still sounded good. Between 2003 and 2005 they won plenty of European awards for their music, but in 2006 they imploded and lead singer Justin Hawkins left the band (tired of the constant touring and media attention, he also experienced drug and alcohol problems). The members of the band started a new band called Stone Gods and Justin started Hot Leg. Luckily in March 2011 they reformed with the original lineup (Vocals/Guitar – Justin Hawkins, Guitar – Dan Hawkins, Bass – Frankie Poullain and Drums – Ed Graham) for some shows in the UK and are back touring the world again!
On one of these 2011 comeback gigs at the Hammersmith Odeon the band was joined by Queens Brian May. Justin and Dan were heavily influenced by Queen (they loved Live Magic from 1986) and Brian’s words “How happy are we, that The Darkness are back together and conquering the world again. How happy are we?” sums it all up for fans around the world.
So tonight the gig at Seattle’s Neptune Theater was the last of their North American 2012 tour. Opening act Foxy Shazam put on an impressive show, their singer Eric Nally has quite the stage persona and the band are very animated (somewhat like a Queen and The Darkness hybrid with their own special eccentric spin)! A keyboard player playing with his feet while standing on the keyboard was unexpected! I suspect a lot of the younger audience members in the packed out crowd were there specifically for them and to also check out this British band they heard on the 2012 Superbowl! For me I had never heard their music before, I was there for The Darkness all the way, but I liked their style and the ethos of “The Church of Rock and Roll” (also the title of their new album that just happens to have been produced by one Justin Hawkins!).
Then The Darkness took to the stage to rapturous applause. What can I say but there were lots of great songs, Justin hit all the high falsetto notes, everyone played brilliantly and there was plenty of crowd interaction and a number of superb glam costume changes for Justin. He looks very different from the old days, now sporting a lot of tattoos and he has a very dapper old school curled mustache and goatee! Oh and Frankie Poullain now has a killer afro! Justin even entered the crowd on the shoulders of a security guy again, working their way through the entire floor area…it was 2004 all over again! Awesome!
Song highlights included: Black Shuck, Growing On Me, Get Your Hands Off My Woman, Love On The Rocks, Friday Night, Love Is Only A Feeling, a new song Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us which is from the long-awaited upcoming third album and of course I Believe In A Thing Called Love! They certainly have a lot of songs with “love” in the title!
They promised to return soon and the crowd roared with approval. Welcome back boys you have been missed from the world’s stage! Rock on The Darkness!