Objectivity is supposed to be the hallmark of journalism.
However, when it comes to British rock legends The Darkness, fairness goes out the window.
I love The Darkness. Love. Love. Love.. When Justin Hawkins arose from that pod in the now classic “A Thing Called Love” video 20 years ago, I knew the band (Dan Hawkins, lead guitar; Rufus Tiger Taylor, drums; and Frankie Poullain, bass) was destined for greatness. And I was right.
With that sentiment in mind, you know I was not going to miss the band’s upcoming concert on Sunday, October 8th at Brooklyn Bowl. Throughout the years, I have met a lot of people who have heard of The Darkness, and as I have waxed rhapsodic about them to anyone who will listen to me, the most frequent question I have heard is “Are they that good?”
Yes. And here are the reasons why you should love “The Darkness.”
- The hooks. Through seven albums and working with diverse producers such as Pedro Ferreira, Roy Thomas Baker, and lead guitarist Dan Hawkins,The Darkness’ repertoire is filled with incredibly melodic yet complex songs that transfer to the live stage well. “Rock is such a broad spectrum that you can’t really nail it down,” Justin Hawkins said earlier this year. “I guess it just boils down to a chorus, or a hook, that everyone can sing along to. It’s impossible to say. If everyone knew what makes for a good rock song then we’d have a mountain of great tunes being released every day. There’s a lot of songs you hear that seem to have the magic formula – the arrangement is perfect, the chorus is catchy – but there’s something about it that doesn’t grab you. There’s always got to be an intangible ingredient.” The Darkness’ songs have that intangible ingredient.
- The humor. “We’ve always wanted to divide people, and being cheesy and positive means that you’re making the choice between having a good time and being a miserable ****,” the vocalist and main songwriter once said. I, myself, have discovered that people who don’t like the band lack a sense of humor. You either get them, or you don’t. Their videos are usually colorful, brazen affairs, filled with ironic homages to various periods in time, interesting wardrobe choices and verdant landscapes..
- The stage presence. The Darkness live is an experience that not many bands are capable of these days. The only comparison I could make here is that watching them on stage reminds me of classic Van Halen circa 1981. There is a lot of joy, excitement, theatrics, athleticism, audience interaction and just fun. You can tell the band enjoys playing live and that is reflected by the audience’s excitement. There is reciprocity.
- The ability to bounce back from hard times. Shortly after the release of the band’s second album, “One Way Ticket to Hell…and Back,” in 2005, the band crumbled, falling apart after the departures of Poullain and Justin Hawkins. It was a rough time, with Justin Hawkins forming the band Hot Leg, and his brother Dan reframing The Darkness as Stone Gods. Neither venture really worked out, and The Darkness reunited in 2011 (THANK GOD) to begin a slow, steady climb back to the top releasing five studio albums in the past 12 years, with the latest being “Motorheart” from 2021.
5. The band is fucking awesome. That’s it. Period.
PHOTO CREDIT: Live photos by Stephy Muzio for ZRockR Magazine 2022 – All rights reserved