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The Darkness


Justin Hawkins at the UEA
Justin Hawkins

The Darkness: Still Shining

by Andrew Woodger & Graeme McLoughlin
The Darkness returned to the University Of East Anglia for a warm-up gig ahead of their arena tour. Raising the roof, Justin Hawkins treated fans to his 'beergut of fury'.


The Darkness' warm-up gig was billed as a 'homecoming' show, so we'll ignore the fact that the UEA in Norwich is even further away from Lowestoft than the last 'homecoming' show in Great Yarmouth in 2003.

The 1500 tickets had sold-out within days and the venue's pit area was crammed from the word go which gave up-and-coming rockers Roadstar a chance to shake their hair.

Roadstar

Roadstar were formerly known as Hurricane Party, but changed their name after the New Orleans disaster for 'sensitivity' reasons.  As if that was the first ever devastating hurricane!

Led by Steve Tyler-esque singer Richie Hevanz, they boogied through a short set based around their Get This ep.  Classic rock in a Guns 'n' Roses/Def Leppard/Aerosmith style - good fun but not really taking rock anywhere new.

Are You Ready?

The same could of course be said for The Darkness - but that's missing the point.  They are one of the few (certainly British) bands that provide the nation's need for traditional rock.

Never one's to take themselves too seriously, they took to the stage to the glorious sound of Abba's instrumental Arrival.

For those unfamiliar with that particular tune, imagine the bagpipes of 'Scotland The Brave' teamed with 'Here Comes the Bride' as if to say 'this is just the beginning... you're in for a real show...  there are no boundaries... we'll make it happen... we will prevail'.

All that was missing was the band taking to the stage on white ponies wearing kilts but maybe they're saving that for the arena shows.

Boobs

The Darkness

Opening with Knockers the rest of the set was a mixture of the two albums as they introduced new bassist Richie Edwards to East Anglia - with only a brief interlude as his axe conked out during the tribute to Cromer crabs Growing On Me.

Justin now has a keyboard which seemed to form a wall between him and Richie at the front of the stage. This seemed to limit the rocktastic stage-runs which we know he's capable of.

When he sat down to play Friday Night, brother Dan disappeared as if it was simply too un-rock for him.

More boobs

Man-boobs seem to be theme of the night.

One well-endowed lady threw her bra on stage which Justin then put on and christened it his sympathy bra. 

He then threatened the crowd with exposing his own 'beergut of fury' and a moment later he did indeed prove that he's lost his six-pack and won't be doing any Men's Health magazine covers in the near future.

But as the man said, it's two years of heavy drinking and all bought and paid for!

Darkness appeal

Moments like this sum-up of the appeal of The Darkness.  Despite their love of the classic pomp rock groups, they have their tongues in their cheeks. Justin is the consummate entertainer - funny, self-deprecating, a great ringmaster with no sign of any of the band's egos going out of control... not on stage anyway.

The gig was billed as a warm-up with no press passes issued (your reviewers bought their tickets) but security was very heavy-handed and tried to confiscate as many cameras as possible - barging through the audience to nick these master criminals who were flouting what were apparently management orders.

Naughty, naughty
Camera phone anybody!

And yes, we had ours confiscated. All this when everyone else is holding up mobile phone to take pictures!

Not that we're bitter - presumably, Justin just didn't want any photographs of his new mid-riff.

That said, once we got over the idea of living in a mini-fascist state for one night only, the gig did rock and The Darkness will clearly raise their profile again as they hit the world's arenas.

Highlights from the new album were It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time and One Way Ticket To Hell… And Back.  

But it was the old favourites from Permission to Land that stood out as rock anthems - Black Shuck, Givin' Up and Get Your Hands Off My Woman.

The latter caused Justin to ponder whether it was appropriate to use a word suggesting incest with one's maternal parent in front of one's own maternal parent (the bands' relatives were in the audience).

These tracks show what good musicians the brothers Hawkins truly are.

The audience stopped jumping and dancing at times to read the guitar chords, at times there was a struggle to work out who was playing which guitar solo. 'How do they do that?' We watched in awe.

last updated: 28/01/06
Have Your Say
Were you at The Darkness' UEA gig? Have they still got what it takes?
Your name: 
Your comment: 
 
The BBC reserves the right to edit comments submitted.

Charlie
JUST WENT TO SEE IF THEY HAD GOT ANY BETTER AND THEY HAVENT!! DONT WASTE YA MONEY ON EITHER BAND THEY ARE NOT WORTH IT!!
Thu Jul 13 20:13:12 2006

tom
i saw the darkness in adelaide australia and they were f'n awesome someone thru a water bottle at dans guitar and it stopped working so justin started poppin piano solos
Tue May 23 10:52:46 2006

suzy
they rock
Sat Apr 15 02:21:49 2006

Sarah Anderson
They are amazing. There is no better band in my eyes, and dan would never leave stage because it's to unrock, he'd keep playing even if people were leaving to see a country and western gig!
Wed Mar 15 13:09:26 2006

Melanie Nicholson
"...brother Dan disappeared as if it was simply too un-rock for him." - Dan was actually having problems with his guitar and therefore Justin had to improvise and play his Keyboard to help Dan out. Just to inform.
Sat Mar 11 18:01:53 2006

Jonny Q
Saw them at Aelxandra Palace and was very impressed, Definately one to remember!!! Go See Them!!
Sat Feb 11 20:52:03 2006

Spice
I would just like to say that cameras are only usually "confiscated" if the security staff believe that they are capable of taking high resolution, very good quality images... the reason being that they (and as far as i know, the band and their people) do not wish the photos to be sold on to other people, online or otherwise.
Fri Feb 10 23:24:51 2006

G
no ... and wouldnt be seen dead at one of their concerts either .... get a life all yous Darkness fans
Fri Feb 10 10:50:31 2006

Louise
saw them at alexandra palace on 7th feb, they rocked. they definitely still got what it takes!
Thu Feb 9 22:36:59 2006

chris f
they rocked last nite at ali pali. that gig was awesome. and the showman ship 2. love em
Thu Feb 9 20:55:55 2006

Emma Steigmann
I saw them on tuesday (7 feb) and they really REALLY rocked. Thats a lovely gut, Justin, Thanks for getting it out for us!
Thu Feb 9 20:53:12 2006

Stuart Barrett
Saw them last night at Alexandra Palace. The guys rocked and had an amazing stage show with fireworks, balls of flame and Justin riding in suspended from the ceiling in a huge knockers chariot.....Genius
Thu Feb 9 14:30:34 2006

Penny Lyons
i sa them @ alexandra palce last night and they rocked! HEY WERE SOOO AWESOME!
Wed Feb 8 09:49:58 2006

Goatboy
saw them in dublin last night, the guys rocked, justin took to the stage on a huge pair of breasts suspended above the crowd
Sun Feb 5 19:13:53 2006

Dawn
I was there. I was disappointed. They are like a pub, tribute band with no orginality at all. And that gut, disgusting. Don't think I'll be back.
Fri Feb 3 11:00:12 2006

Martin Jefson
OH WHAT A NIGHT STORMING SET ........I LIKE WHAT YOUVE DONE TO YOUR HAIR....OH YEAH. EVEN LOST MY LIGHTER FOR "SEEMED LIKE A GOOD IDEA" SEE YOU IN MANCHESTER
Fri Feb 3 00:43:48 2006

lee
Dont blame the UEA staff they were only following instructions from the Darkness. I think maybe a certain lead singer is worried about a reduced hair line!!the darkness were finished months ago.
Tue Jan 31 18:10:35 2006

John Clarke
Yes, they still have what it takes. I thought the gig was excellent but the heavy-handedness of the security regarding cameras was appalling. I've never seen this type of thing at the UEA before. A lad next to me had his taken off him, from a really arrogant bloke, with such force that I actually suspected it was a trick and that it'd really been stolen off him. Luckily I managed to keep my camera! A great gig though and worth paying £40 a ticket from e-bay.
Fri Jan 27 21:19:37 2006

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