After a five-year hiatus, The Darkness made their live return last night (June 5) with an intimate gig at Norwich’s 200-capacity Waterfront, down the road from their hometown of Lowestoft.
Having originally split up following singer Justin Hawkins’ departure in 2006, the band (completed by Dan Hawkins, Ed Graham and original bassist Frankie Poullain) are now set to play two more warm-up shows in Leamington Spa and London’s O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire before supporting headliners Def Leppard at Download festival this weekend.
After an extravagant instrumental introduction, the band kicked off their comeback show with old B-side ‘Bareback’, before launching into ‘Black Shuck’, ‘Growing On Me’ and ‘Get Your Hands Off My Woman’ – all from their 2003 debut ‘Permission To Land’.
The band were in jubilant spirits throughout, with Hawkins – now sporting some new Jack Sparrow-esque facial fur – calling out to his mum in the crowd, joking that their new album would be called ‘Sea Bream’ and inviting the audience to give thumbs up or down verdicts on their new material.
The band also played the near-title track from their second album ‘One Way Ticket To Hell…And Back’ as well as ‘Love Is Only a Feeling’ and a host of new offerings from their as-yet-untitled new LP including ‘Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us’[/b, [b]‘Cannonball’ and ‘Concrete’.
After asking the crowd for requests, the quartet closed the show with their breakthrough smash ‘I Believe In A Thing Called Love’ before re-emerging for an extended encore of ‘Love On The Rocks With No Ice’ that saw Hawkins carried around the crowd performing a guitar solo on the shoulders of a security guard.
Speaking backstage after the show, guitarist Dan enthused that the gig was “more like a punk rock gig that we used to do 10 years ago. We were playing stuff at a million fucking miles an hour today, it was pretty cool”. Whilst a Hawaiian-shirted Justin added that it went “…as well as could be expected. You expect some hiccups and nerves, but we tried some things that we’d never done before and those are the things that worked. There were some positives, but its day one isn’t it?”
The Darkness played:
‘Growing On Me’
‘Get Your Hands Off My Woman’
‘One Way Ticket’
‘Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us’
‘Love Is Only A Feeling’
‘Is It Just Me?’
‘Stuck In A Rut’
‘I Believe In A Thing Called Love’
‘Love On The Rocks With No Ice’
The band now play Leamington Spa Assembly tonight (6) and London’s O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire on Wednesday (8) before their show at Download on Friday (10).