House Of Blues
Emerging from the U.K. in an era before MTV completely gave up on music and internet piracy crippled the record industry, The Darkness rode to the top of the charts on the strength of their 2003 debut Permission To Land and it’s top 40 hit single “I Believe In A Thing Called Love”.
In the 13 years since, the band has gone through the typical rock n roll turmoil, substance abuse, new members, break ups, and comebacks.
With newest member Rufus Taylor, son of Queen legend Roger Taylor, now occupying the drum throne, original members Justin Hawkins (guitar / vocals), younger brother Dan Hawkins (guitar) and Frankie Poullain (bass) are winding down the second leg of their “Back To The USSA” tour in support of 2015’s well received Last Of Our Kind.
Preceded by local sleaze metal favorites The Last Vegas and bluesy power trio and fellow countrymen RavenEye, The Darkness finally took the stage of Chicago’s famed House Of Blues at 9:50 to the raucous howls of the “Darklings” pressed against the barricade.
As the last strains of ABBA’s “Arrival” faded from the P.A. the band plunged straight into the hard rocking “Barbarian”, it’s chugging riff assaulting the ears while banks of lights from behind the band seared retinas all the way to the back of the near capacity house.
The hour and a half set that followed was exactly what one would expect from The Darkness, big, silly, hard rocking, fun, fueled by snarling Gibson Les Pauls and the elder Hawkins wailing falsetto. The 16 song set contained the bulk of Permission To Land as well as choice selections from the rest of the band’s catalog.
The music itself is a captivating mix of outlandish cock rock bravado, Queen like majesty and ear worm pop hooks. For all it’s grandeur, it doesn’t come off as self-important, both fans and band alike share in the delight of every knowing nod and wink of the almost Spinal Tap like absurdity of it all.
Hawkins is an excellent front man, continually engaging the crowd throughout, whether he’s climbing the barricade to let lucky fans join in on the gang vocals of “Black Shuck” , leading the crowd through an ever increasingly difficult call and response of “mother fuuuuuuucker” during “Get Your Hands Off My Woman” or just stage diving into the crowd to conclude “Love On The Rocks”, it’s all about participation, camaraderie and fun.
There are only a handful of East Coast shows left before the band heads back to the U.K, catch them while you can.
Head over to thedarkness.co.uk for all things The Darkness.