The Darkness fell upon the stage at The Fillmore Silver Spring, full of vigor and hijinks, ready to rock the night away on Sunday.
Frontman Justin Hawkins often prowled the stage like a cat, calling upon members of the audience in the very full house to sing along with the lyrics of his songs or to jump on stage and dance.
Justin ripped through one such fun number to which you can sing along — “Mudslide” from the band’s new album, Last of Our Kind, released in May of this year via Canary Dwarf. The band visited The Fillmore Silver Spring on a stop in the tour (called “Blast of Our Kind” and brought to us by L.A. music blog The Noise) in support of the album. As Justin tells us, the song “Mudslide” isn’t a metaphor or a double entendre. It’s just a song about a big natural disaster.
When it came time to call out the lines at the end of the song, Justin sought out a man in the audience in front of him. Justin tentatively offered the fellow his microphone.
“Do you have any herpes around your mouth?” Justin cried out, withdrawing his microphone.
And then after a pause, “Do you want some?”
The pair reignited the song when the man completed the lyric: “It’s a fucking mudslide!”
The audience kept singing song through the next song, “Givin’ Up,” from the debut album from The Darkness, Permission to Land, released in 2003.
Watch The Darkness perform “Mudslide” live for q on CBC in Canada on Oct. 23, 2015, via YouTube:
It was good to see The Darkness in such great form, particularly as those of us who followed their careers weren’t certain there would be any more material after the band’s second album. But after a seven-year break, The Darkness returned with a third album, Hot Cakes, in 2012, and they surely have declared they are sticking around with their worthy new effort.
Justin carried on a great tradition of frontmen from a period of UK glam rock epitomized by Freddie Mercury and Queen. So much does Justin wear his influences on his sleeve that he wears the images of the four members of Queen from the album Hot Space on his fingers as part of the weave of tattoos covering his body. The glam metal favored by Justin sometimes turns up in the music of Queensryche, KISS or The Scorpions, but The Darkness fully embraces it in such a way that gives their music an extraordinary level of continuity and dance-ability.
And dammit, it’s just really fun.
Soon, Justin recruits a woman by the name of Carla from the audience to dance during a sonic burst of guitar antics. Justin and his bandmates are suitably impressed by Carla’s dancing, and she’s invited to stay on stage for the next song, “Love Is Only a Feeling,” again from the band’s debut album. Justin offers Carla his monitor — “It’s not doing me any good!” — and prevails upon stagehand Kenny to give her anything she requires.
“That’s Kenny — he will give you whatever you need to make your vibe more vibey,” Justin says.
The Darkness roll through “Love Is Only a Feeling,” showcasing some great work by all of its members. Justin’s younger brother Dan sets the tone with a catchy guitar lick; bassist Frankie Poullain gives the song depth; and new drummer Rufus Tiger Taylor impresses mightily with some continuous snappy drums.
After “Love Is Only a Feeling,” The Darkness take up “Friday Night,” a tremendous fan-favorite that hails from the first album. It’s a simple song about the joys of anticipating dancing with a girl from school on Friday nights. Justin lends the song some intimacy by sitting down at a keyboard for a spell, regaling the audience with his sometimes hidden chops with synthesizers and the like. As the show goes on, he recruits more dancers to the stage through “English Country Garden,” before thanking the five or so members of the audience that have joined the band and sending them on their way.
Another show highlight toward the end is new song “Rack of Glam,” which Justin introduces as “so new that it’s from the future!” The dynamic song gives each member of the band again opportunities to do what they do best as Justin hits some great heights with his tenor voice and joins his brother on guitar. As the song says, it is indeed a big “rack of glam.”
Watch The Darkness perform “Rack of Glam” live at the House of Blues in Chicago on Oct. 20, courtesy of Yahoo! on YouTube:
The Darkness continue their tour tonight, Tuesday, Oct. 27 in New York City and then wrap up their current US tour with a show in Boston on Sunday, Nov. 1. Please do yourself a favor and go see them. Have some fun, dance and shout and mosh, be carefree and sing at the top of your lungs. The Darkness returned to you for that reason — so you could indulge in those antics — and they are quite good at putting a smile on your face and a lift in your feet.