The delicious British rock band known as the Darkness returned to the Neptune in Seattle on October 14th. A Thin Lizzy-inspired group with triumphant bits of Queen (check out singer Justin Hawkins’ Queen tattoos on his left hand) captivated its audience from the show’s beginning of “Barbarian” to the ending notes of “Love on the Rocks With No Ice.” By mentioning the opening and closing songs (a new one and an old one), I want to point to this fact: The Darkness proved, with a goddamn punch, that they’re just as superb as they ever were. Better, you say? That’s very quite true. While songs from the Darkness’ debut, Permission to Land, have a sentimental edge, the new Last Of Our Kind relishes in a more experienced songwriting and a recognition that the Darkness maintains a wild commitment to rock ‘n’ roll. No compromises here.
Taking in the Darkness as a live band means stopping time. The Darkness does what they do so well that you could be forgiven if you thought you’d walked into 1975, and that’s awesome. To carry a mantle of pure rock is difficult right now because, well, the Darkness’ kind of rock gets scant attention, which is just wrong. Apparently we can thank Lowestoft, Suffolk’s England, where bandmates and brothers Dan Hawkins (guitarist/songwriter) and Justin Hawkins (singer/guitarist/songwriter) hail from, for the blessing that is the Darkness. Oh, and naturally those Hawkins brothers and the Darkness’ bassist/songwriter Frankie Poullain, of course. They’re exciting and excellent musicians. What more could you want?
The Seattle show, part of the Darkness’ Blast of Our Kind tour, brought a glorious setlist with every song off Permission to Land except “Holding My Own,” interspersed with several cool tracks off Last of Our Kind, including “Barbarian;” Hot Cakes’ “Every Inch of You” and One Way Ticket to Hell and Back‘s title track, plus a great new song, “Rack of Glam” and a stunning version of Radiohead’s “Street Spirit (Fade Out).” At the end of the show, Justin Hawkins, brought a fan onstage dressed similarly to Hawkins’ more famous outfits. Telling the fan he liked him for some reason, and couldn’t place why, that fan was hoisted onto a Hawkins’ shoulders. I love that kind of empowering connection between a band and its audience.
Barbarian (Last of Our Kind)
Growing on Me (Permission to Land)
Black Shuck (Permission to Land)
Mudslide (Last of Our Kind)
Givin’ Up (Permission to Land)
Roaring Waters (Last of Our Kind)
One Way Ticket (One Way Ticket to Hell. . . and Back)
Love Is Only a Feeling (Permission to Land)
Friday Night (Permission to Land)
English Country Garden (One Way Ticket to Hell. . . and Back)
Every Inch of You (Hot Cakes)
Rack of Glam (Brand New Song)
Get Your Hands Off My Woman (Permission to Land)
Stuck in a Rut (Permission to Land)
I Believe in a Thing Called Love (Permission to Land)
Open Fire (Last of Our Kind)
Street Spirit (Fade Out) (Radiohead Cover)
Love on the Rocks With No Ice (Permission to Land)