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Live Review: The Darkness – 13th November 2015 – Enmore Theatre, Sydney, Australia

5 min read

If you were one of the many revellers that went along to catch UK foursome The Darkness rock out at Sydney’s Enmore Theatre last night, your ears are probably still ringing from the powerful performance that the go-getters of glam rock unleashed.

Twelve years on from their ground breaking debut Permission To Land which introduced the world to the wonder that is lead singer Justin Hawkins and his impressive Freddy Mercury-esque vocal magic through signature hits I Believe In A Thing Called Love and Growing On Me, the band are currently globetrotting with fourth album Last of our Kind in tow. The record was released earlier this year and is the first release minus founding drummer-boy Ed Graham who left the outfit following the bands previous release, only to be replaced by none other than Rufus Taylor – son of iconic Queen drummer, Roger Taylor.

With a whole new set of songs and spandex outfits to flex for their legions of fans, the bands latest stop saw them take on the Enmore Theatre with as much spunk and pizzazz as their launch onto the world stage back in 2003, and the fans who were lucky enough to catch the guys doing their thing last night were treated to one hell of a set from the spritely outfit.

Throughout a robust set of 19 songs, Justin Hawkins, brother Dan and mustached bassist Frankie Poullain, along with new member Rufus, impressed a sold out Enmore crowd with performances of songs plucked from each of their 4 studio records and, while there has been stints in rehab, a temporary departure of their frontman and the loss of a founding member over the last few years, we witnessed a unit as tight and committed as ever.

Justin dominated the quaint Enmore stage as if it were Wembley Stadium; strutting from side to side with mic in hand and demanding attention from an all too willing crowd who lapped up every moment of the frontmans engaging showmanship. His delivery of falsetto driven gems like signature hit I Believe In A Thing Called Love and Get Your Hands Off My Woman were a couple of the finer moments within the set. The former was performed in identical shape to the original recording and had the crowd cheering along during the songs steely guitar solos and Hawkins’ seemingly effortless delivery of the chorus’ high notes while the latter saw the singer balance upside down in front of the drum set and clap along with the beat with his feet.

The show was as much about the the singers theatrical personality and engaging showmanship as it was about the bands impressive catalogue. Retaining an ability to belt out the hits with his impressive vocal range which has remained unweathered despite the bands relentless touring duties, vocally, Justin was on fire! Dressed in a black and white stripped suit with shiny Ziggy Stardust inspired lapels, it wasn’t long before the singer stripped down to reveal a heavily tattoed torso for Black Shuck, dismissing the upper half of his outfit for the majority of the show. He was also keen to get up close and personal with his fans; diving into the audience for a spot of crowd surfing early on in the set and being carried on top of a security guards shoulders while unleashing one of many stellar guitar solos, at times with the guitar wielding away behind his head, for the bands set closer, Love On The Rocks With No Ice. He was however less willing to entertain the occasional stage crasher; at one point hurling an over enthusiastic male fan into the crowd and announcing “get off my stage you fucking moron” before offering out all of his guitar picks to those in the audience who suffered a blow from the fan falling into them.

While Justin and his operatic rock vocals may have reigned as King during last night’s show, his band mates also managed to steal a bit of the spotlight with brother Dan Hawkins offering the set many of the its principle guitar solos and bass player Frankie proving very popular to the crowd. During their performance of One Way Ticket, fans were invited up on stage with cow bells in hand to perform alongside the mustached musician while the bands encore performance was opened by Frankie with a delicate solo of Conquerors which saw the singer sitting dapper in a grey suit and shiny red shirt; jacket slung over one shoulder and an afro as big as ever while fans cheered his singing skills on as he traded places with Justin who stood to his side in skimpy white shorts and a Thin Lizzy t-shirt and who was all too happy to stand outside of the spotlights view for his bandmate.

The stage, though small for a band who would feel much more at home in an arena, was decked out like a mini stadium; lights displaying crude words and images of penises through their performance of Every Inch Of You, the band rocked out and the fans joined them on a journey through 12 wonderful years of The Darkness. Always taking into consideration their fans requests for early hits, the four-piece’s set was pieced together with their fans needs being met. While the y may be promoting new album Last of our Kind, the set was structured so as to throw in new and less familiar numbers like Mudslide and Open Fire around spectacular performances of notable hits like Growing On Me which was offered early in the set and quickly administered a heavy dose of nostalgia to the fans who have followed the collectives career right from the beginning.

As Justin announced during the show, a new album is set for release at some stage in 2016 and a tour was also promised to follow next year so we can only hope for more shows of this standard to come from one of the best rock acts in the industry.

Setlist:
Barbarian
Growing on Me
Black Shuck
Mudslide
Givin’ Up
Roaring Waters
One Way Ticket
Love Is Only a Feeling
Friday Night
English Country Garden
Every Inch of You
Rack of Glam
Get Your Hands Off My Woman
Stuck in a Rut
I Believe in a Thing Called Love

Encore:
Conquerors
Open Fire
Street Spirit (Fade Out) (Radiohead cover)
Love on the Rocks With No Ice