It’s been nearly 20 years since The Darkness exploded on the scene with their debut album, Permission To Land. It had been a while since a band came along and brought the over-the-top and in-your-face rock and roll the band exhibited on their first single, “I Believe In A Thing Called Love.” Through great success, a lengthy hiatus, and some lineup changes, they still appear to be having a ball on stage. The crowd at Park West in Chicago was turned up to 11 with anticipation and the electricity of the opening act, The Dead Deads.
The audience was made up mostly of people in my demographic-people who have been following The Darkness since that first album came out in 2003. The band knows who they’re playing for, and delivered exactly what their fans want. A few songs from the newest album, Motorheart, which was received well by critics and fans alike, a couple off the other albums, and a healthy scoop of their debut.
With about half the show made up of songs like “Growing On Me” and “Friday Night,” they kept the feet moving and hands clapping as if they had just been released. And it’s hard not to get hyped with frontman Justin Hawkins playful performance. He gets right in with the fans, hi-fiving and laughing with all the people who came out to see him. It’s no surprise that they won Classic Rock Magazine’s award for Performer Of The Year some years back. It is surprising that they still manage to bring the same energy as they approach their 50’s as they did in their 20’s.
The Darkness seems to hit the US every couple of years with a new tour, and they don’t show any signs of slowing down. If you like their stuff and haven’t had a chance to see them yet, I recommend you do so. They have a lot of fun on stage and that joy and energy reverberates through the concert hall, giving everyone a great night they’ll remember for a long time.
Now a quick personal note on something that occurred during the show-something I’ve never had happen before in the eleven years I’ve been covering concerts: Somewhere around the midpoint of the show Justin saw me taking pictures and came over and took the camera from me. He proceeded to take some pictures of the crowd (which actually came out pretty good!) and returned it to me. Then he kind of roasted me for taking pictures beyond the first three songs (normally the rule, but I was told I could shoot the whole show) and everyone around me was looking at me like I was a dumbass. Not my favorite moment, but certainly one I will never forget.
At least he got a good photo of me enjoying the show.