If there was a concert that proved that rock is in fact not dead, it was this past week's performance by The Darkness at House of Blues, nestled inside of Mandalay Bay.
The glam rock legends, comprised of Justin Hawkins (lead vocal/lead guitar), Dan Hawkins (guitar/vocals), Frankie Poullain (bass/vocals) and Rufus Tiger Taylor (drums/vocals) finally made it back to North American shores after their 2019-2020 tour in support of their album Easter is Cancelled was put on ice due to that pesky pain in the ass; COVID-19.
Now, they're back with Motorheart, and a nearly two hour show that featured a melodic mix of songs from their seven studio albums, including the 2021 release Motorheart. Kicking of the show with "Welcome to Glasgow", from the abovementioned "Motorheart", the first thing to be noticed is their energy.
The Darkness hits the stage already at a "ten". So, the question remains if they can keep up the pace throughout the show. Anyone who has attended a concert, especially a metal one, knows that there are ebbs and flows. Maybe the song list isn't thought out, or the singer gets tired and needs breather. None of these things apply to The Darkness on stage. The consistent current of energy even flowed toward the sold out crowd, who truly behaved like an audience that was grateful to see live entertainment once again. Compared to pre-pandemic times, the audience was fully engaged and very few cell phones were seen. Talk about miraculous.
With a discography as lengthy (and as good) as The Darkness has, one would think it would be difficult to come up with a set list that best represents the variety over their 20 year career. However, they manage to do that, including songs such as "Givin' Up", "Friday Night" and probably the highlight of the show, "Solid Gold" whose chorus goes: And we're never gonna stop; Shitting out solid gold!
And they continuously did such, with their musicianship incredibly tight. While there is much talk about their sense of humour and flamboyant looks, the fact is that The Darkness are a quartet of incredible musicians and vocalists - with Justin Hawkins leading the way with incredible guitar leads and his trademark falsetto.
After a rousing, and at times rowdy, show (Justin Hawkins at one point had to tell some drunk fans to "settle down" in his best British kindergarten teacher voice); the band ended the show with what remains their most beloved song, "I Believe in a Thing Called Love". Judging by the emotional reaction of the audience, they believe in a band called "The Darkness".
Finally, kudos to the opening band, The Dead Deads, a female trio from Nashville; a great mix of punk, metal, glam, and grunge. The spirited trio gave a great vibe and are well on their way to larger success.
PHOTO CREDIT: All photos by Stephy Hayward for ZRockR Magazine - All Rights Reserved