The Darkness At Download Festival 2011 – Review

Who: The Darkness

Where and When: Main Stage, Friday


Vibe: One of the rare moments of the day when it wasn’t raining! It’s pretty safe to say that the majority of the youngsters populating Download were probably off seeing Korn at the Main Stage, and the field certainly wasn’t packed to capacity. But the people there seemed to enjoy it (despite being relatively quiet and motionless throughout). General crowd feedback after the set? An overall “The Darkness are amazing! I love his moustache!” pretty much sums it up.

Best bit: When frontman Justin Hawkins stealthily swapped one glam getup for another. One second he was wearing some rainbow animal-print leggings, and the next he was wearing a black-and-gray striped leather bodysuit (with some weird frilly tail). It was quite impressive – who knew they could do magic, too? The band also unveiled a new song (‘Cannonball’), which sounded like classic The Darkness.

Low point: Leaving the big one (‘I Believe In A Thing Called Love’) for the second-to-last song was a smart idea. Clearly, everyone hung around to hear it. But closing number ‘Love On The Rocks With No Ice’ saw quite a few people leave mid-way through. When Hawkins tried to get the crowd to sing along, there was a rather awful response.

Banter: Not too much banter. They didn’t say a lot (besides Hawkins happily declaring, “Tonight is already the best night of my life, thank you”). These guys are all about the spectacle, really. Bursts of fire, smoke, glitter confetti and streamers, flamboyant outfits and outrageous tattoos were the highlight of the night.

Verdict: Despite revealing that they were terrified of their Download slot, they sounded great and gave it their all. Certainly impressive for their first major comeback show.

Rating: 6/10

We will be reporting direct from Download and Isle Of Wight Festivals 2011 over the weekend. Download our NME Festival App – Powered By BlackBerry for line-up news, photo galleries, instant reviews and backstage video interviews from all the UK’s best-loved festivals.

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