The boys were back in town, the glam rock band from Suffolk who formed in 2000 were on form despite trouble over the years. Having only got back together officially in March, things were looking weary for the group, but with a new album on the way it seems the band are over their troubled past and looking to make a difference musically. Justin seemed withdrawn when communicating with the crowd but the quality of the music, the outfits and of corse the fake snow made up for that, nothing can stop this band and they will “see us here in Birmingham next year.”
Hawkins has a massive ego on stage and during 2003 he was at his prime, wiggling around in cat suits and skinny jeans with a successful album things couldn’t be going better. But drugs got to him and years after this success he makes a failed attempt at Eurovision. Now to get back on stage after everything is something in itself but to get back on stage with the energy and passion Hawkins gave here at in Birmingham o2 academy is something of a phenomena. His soaring falsetto and charismatic persona has served him well over the years.
The novelty should have worn off by now with hit “I believe in a thing called love” saved to the end but the audience still loved it and are very loyal. The academy was full to the rafters with people of all ages. Justin, sporting a moustache looked 50 rather than 36 but the costume changes still took place and the handstands happened with the scissor kicks and crowd surfing to match. With influences like queen it seems a shame that the group only have two real hits. So I’m hoping for a biggie in next year’s album that will bring The Darkness back into action. A Christmas number maybe, or an attempt at a Christmas number one, because I have to admit “Christmas Time (Don’t like the bells ring” gets me in the Christmassy mood and brings back fond memories from years ago as too for the swaying fans arm in arm.
What I love about The Darkness is that there not afraid to let people know their having fun, they are different to recent bands and remind people of the days of other glam rock bands, the good ole days. Too many people are too quick to dismiss them as novelty. However the darkness do write a lot of cover songs. But it doesn’t matter because the hits are there and so’s the fun.
The boys stayed on stage for nearly two hours and even had time for some covers. Hawkin’s rendition of “Tie Your Mother Down” really showed off his talent. The range he can get too is immense; maybe he should try some ballads in the upcoming album or acoustics. When Justin mentioned it was Friday night the crowd went wild even though “Friday Night” was from his upcoming album along with “Givin Up” they still received the same reaction from the crowd as “I Believe In A Thing Called Love” and “Growing On Me.”
The Darkness were humbled by the reaction they got and tracks from their new album seem as if the group are serious in their bid to save Rock N Roll. The incredible hooks and guitar riffs show that the guys haven’t lost it. I look forward to their return. Well played Justin, well played.
Review – John Kirby
Photos – Ian Dunn