Review: The Darkness at Rock City

REPORTER Andrew Trendell went along to see The Darkness at Rock City in Nottingham.

Friday, 25th November 2011, 11:53 am

I’M sorry, you’ll have to shout. There’s still a deafening ringing in my ears - but it was worth it.

At what was without doubt the loudest gig of the year, The Darkness returned to Nottingham’s legendary Rock City with a set that was equally as classic.

Clad in a tartan skin-tight suit, Justin Hawkins steps onto to the stage with his hairy band of brothers backed by Thin Lizzy’s The Boys Are Back In Town - and they let you know it in style with an explosive rendition of Black Shuck, before stepping up to top gear with the infectious rock behemoth of Growin’ On Me.

Looking like Captain Jack Sparrow possessed by the spirit of Freddie Mercury or some kind of seedy pirate wizard, Justin Hawkins stands tall over the sold-out crowd, complete with tattoos and dandy facial hair.

He has three costume changes into different catsuits - each more elaborate and obscene than the last, but never has a true showman looked more comfortable in his own skin.

Watching The Darkness is a strange and intoxicating sensation.

They’re a band with just two albums under their belt, but with a set littered with gems like Get Your Hands Off My Woman, One Way Ticket and Love Is Only A Feeling, it feels like a greatest hits set from a band that’s existed for decades.

On the one hand it feels like they’ve never been away, but on the other you’re thrilled to bits that they’re back, and with guilty pleasures aplenty.

Now, I’m a hardcore Radiohead fan to my bones, which is why I was overwhelmed with a sickening and filthy sense of guilt when The Darkness tore into a speed-metal cover of Street Spirit - and I enjoyed it. I mean really, really enjoyed it. Sorry Thom Yorke, I’ll burn in hell for this.

Snow confetti falls from the sky as the band unite the capacity crowd in song as we sway along arm in arm to the modern yuletide classic Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End), but you know that Christmas has truly come early when you find yourself rocking out to the sight of a man in a fish suit belting out a cover of Queen’s Tie Your Mother Down.

Only at a Darkness gig eh?

Ending the night with an epic outing of stadium rock giant I Believe In A Thing Called Love before Justin sails over the audience’s heads for a seemingly never-ending twiddly guitar solo Love On The Rocks With No Ice, The Darkness have truly blown the cobwebs off with a flamethrower.

This is music exactly as it should be - fun, huge, proud, and really, really loud.

By Andrew Trendell