The Darkness are a very guilty pleasure of mine. I have been a Darkling from the start so imagine my excitement when I heard they had reformed and would be playing the Norwich Waterfront.
In my eyes they had a lot to live up to.
The gig wasn’t perfect but it was the first live gig in years. There were some tuning issues to begin with and some really odd vocal effects that didn’t really do the band any favours.
And then there was the lighting. The band seemed to be backlit, which meant we were looking at their silhouettes for most of the gig. While bassist Frankie Poullain’s hair is a joy to see silhouetted, the novelty soon wore off. I wanted to look at this band I’d missed so much!
In true Darkness style there was a confetti canon. We all got covered in black confetti and I felt like I’d been transported back five years. Alongside the singing and whooping, I had a huge smile on my face.
However, the canon posed further problems. All the dust from it, combined with the smoke machine meant that at times you couldn’t see the band at all. They were hidden behind a cloud. The strobe lights exacerbated that problem: Darkness, no Darkness, Darkness! And so on.
But the music… It was glorious. They played most of the big hits from their Debut album, Permission to Land, and a few from their second album, One Way Ticket to Hell… And Back. They also treated us to a few new songs from their forthcoming album.
The new songs were full of great vocals, hard hitting guitars and we, the audience, even wrote an ‘Oi!’ section to one of them.
My last experiences of the band were at big arena gigs where the intimacy was lost. Seeing them at the Waterfront was a real treat. The size of the venue also meant that Justin did his famous crowd walk. Atop the shoulders of a man, he played a fantastically long guitar solo during Love on The Rocks (With no Ice). The whole crowd turned and followed his progress around the venue and back up onto the other side of the stage.
Despite teething problems, I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed a gig so much. If you ever get a chance to see The Darkness then I urge you to do so. They combine humour, showmanship, great music and amazing guitar solos to make each show something to be remembered.
And that’s not all. The best thing about the gig was lead singer Justin Hawkins’ third outfit. A Norwich City jacket. As he pranced back onto stage he jokingly asked the crowd if there were any Ipswich fans in the house. He was met with a series of boos.
I think the fact that they are Norwich City fans just add to their appeal.