The Darkness – Brighton Dome – 11th December 2017

The Darkness – Brighton Dome
Photo by Ben Walker

Since their birth in the turn of the millennia, The Darkness have graced the world with their flamboyant style of glam rock and are one of the few bigger names keeping the genre alive. This band are proof that there is still a great deal of love for true rockstars and this evening, when the band play a sell out set at Brighton Dome, they not only bring one of the most fun shows I’ve seen all year, but pack an unfathomable amount of charisma into their show. This is not one I’ll be forgetting soon.

Opening tonight are Blackfoot Gypsies. To be supporting a band with as much of a reputation as The Darkness, you have to have your own quirks and Blackfoot Gypsies brought forth a colourful, fun and memorable start to the evening. The band’s style of hard folk is definitely catchy and has enough weight to get the room on board, as the tunes blast from their instruments (including a harmonica player!), the group rock out during their solos. The thick Nashville accents flow through the lyrics and really add a warming feel to the tracks. Blackfoot Gypsies more than did their job tonight.

As ‘Arrival’ by ABBA begins to play, the stage bursts into colour as vocalist Justin Hawkins walks out in his flamboyant blue sequinned suit, followed by the rest of The Darkness. They immediately bring it all with ‘Open Fire’ and ‘Love Is Only A Feeling’, kicking the chaos into motion. The sound is simply mesmerising in every sense of the word and Justin’s signature high notes are truly a spectacle to behold in themselves. There are times where I’m almost convinced he’s miming because of the pure precision and inhuman pitches, but there is no real doubt that they aren’t authentic, these guys just breathe talent.

By the time the set gets fully under way, the band demonstrate a brilliant mixture of material both new and old. I genuinely believe that the group’s new record, Pinewood Smile, will see the mass return of this band as it has stood out as one of the most exciting, fun and simply hilarious albums I’ve heard all year. No other band could write songs about how poor a train line are and make them as catchy and fun as The Darkness have. When ‘Southern Trains’ is played tonight, its meaning is certainly emphasised amongst this Brighton crowd.

Justin is no ordinary frontman and from start to finish it’s physically impossible to divert your gaze from his tight spandex. Nothing can be done in ‘normal’ fashion as he proceeds to banter back and forth with the audience and makes them feel incredibly comfortable though his bubbly personality. More tracks keep blasting out such as ‘One Way Ticket’ and new hit single ‘Solid Gold’, but the evening takes another twist when Justin hurls himself into the crowd in a stage dive quite like nothing I’ve ever seen. Like a sweaty, glitter covered bird, he jumps the large gap from the stage to the crowd, barely clearing the top of the security guards but lands in the sea of people who carry him around the room as he pretends to swim over the waves. A brilliant sight to see which so few ‘cool’ rockstars would attempt!

Tonight’s encore could be seen a mile away, but a costume change into an even more sparkly golden spandex was not! As the group finish the evening with the festive anthem ‘Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End)’ and of course ‘I Believe In A Thing Called Love’, they send the pit into absolute anarchy as crowd surfers fly and the floor is shaken under the weight of thousands jumping in unison.

Whenever I hear people say “Rock and roll is dead” or “There are no real rockstars any more”, I’d usually agree with them. However, after an evening with The Darkness, my horizons have been broadened. This band are the living embodiment of what rock music stands for, sheer unquestionable talent, flamboyant personalities and above all, FUN. This was my first time seeing The Darkness live but, after tonight’s show, I assure you, it will not be my last and I will only expect more silly antics from one of the best groups on the planet.

Ben Walker