The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world


Metro Fremantle, November 7 2015


BOOKS & DVD'S 2009-2014 

The Darkness is upon us once again and it feels good. The UK's finest were back in Fremantle to give us a taste of their latest opus 'Last of Our Kind' and it ended up being a helluva night of very English Rock and Roll. Taking the stage like a cheeky Steve Marriott Mr Hawkins Sr. was in fine fettle joining the crowd on more than one occasion, but we'll not give it away just yet... You know what it was that good - here's not one, but two takes on the evening's entertainment, take it away Andrew and Leslii...

The Darkness - Metropolis, Fremantle - November 7th 2015

Take 1, by Leslii Phillips


The Darkness - part music hall, part saucy seaside postcard, part over the top showmanship, but 100% English rock and roll.


The Darkness returned to Fremantle tonight after far too long to put on another incendiary show that will leave the entire crowd here eager for the next time. Ok so some bands do dive into the crowd and yes we have seen front-men carried on a strong pair of shoulders to do a circuit of the club but when do you get to see handstands on a drum riser these days?


The Darkness 2015 more than know how to dominate a crowd and get an audience onside, but being able to sustain that for over two hours and throw in a flawless set of timeless rockers whilst all the time doing it with an innate cheeky English style is a mixture only available to these East Anglian minstrel-maestros.


The band tonight of course is faultless with Dan and Frankie anchoring the fringes, often in semi-darkness, and Taylor's son Rufus doing a great job with the sticks, whilst East Anglia’s ‘Peter Pan meets the greatest Rock Star you ever dreamed of as a kid’ builds up a rapport not just with the crowd as a whole, but also with individuals within it. It’s the sort of relationship that is bound to end in fireworks and it does, frequently!    


“You’re the loudest crowd we’ve ever played to” insists Justin once we’re into the meat of it, and you know what part of me wants to believe him (as its rammed in here and everyone is singing to everything) and part of me can’t believe that little old Freo might just be capable of holding that crown!


With a setlist intact from the just finished US Tour it's a racy night of old much loved classics and new material from the juicy, recently released, “Last of our kind” album - tonight represented by sadly only four songs, for stats fans though, it's still that unfeasibly grandiose debut that sees nine songs including a rather nice “Get your hands off my woman” which you can never hear enough times.

And whilst the band throw down their finely-crafted firebombs of songs, of course centre of all attention is the recently shorn locked and de-bearded Justin Hawkins a man who roams the stage like a mixture of an 18th century ne’er do well minor nobleman and Kenneth Williams in a futuristic bathing suit, and whether it’s a cheeky grin, a witty remark or a guitar played in an odd position (under the arm, over the head, laying on the floor) it all works.


Tellingly perhaps ‘Hot cakes’ and ‘One way ticket’ albums both only get two songs tonight to represent them, and  tellingly for the comeback album one of them is the much previously played Radiohead cover ‘Street Spirit’ which I never really liked in the context of The Darkness.


As far as a spectacle goes though The Darkness take some beating, there's handstands on the drum riser, there’s Justin venturing into the crowd for the encores, looking splendid in a white Thin Lizzy T-shirt, there’s at least two plastic trees worth of guitar picks launched into the crowd, and a dive into crowd for good measure. It’s also the little things though that make you laugh, like the implausibly high socks Justin sports for the encore, one down and the other up, over his Victorian urchin boots, towards the end of the encores he looks mischievously over his shoulder and teasing the crowd starts to the roll the other sock down tantalizingly, bit by bit. And that to me sums up The Darkness, the humour doesn’t have to be in your face, and irony is rife – I mean ‘Open Fire’ is a song about having an open fire for God’s sake! Most of all though you know what? The Darkness is a fucking awesome live band!


After an awful support band as far as sonic compatibility goes and cancelled tour with Joan jett a couple of years ago it's been too long till we had The Darkness to remind us what it is all about, let's hope these guys are back soon.

The Darkness - Metropolis, Fremantle - November 7th 2015
Take 2, by Andrew ‘Schizodeluxe’


I had only seen The Darkness once, more than 11 years ago before they intially broke up after their first 2 albums. It was at the Big Day Out festival and to be honest, the only reason I was there was to see the mighty Metallica. But during the course of the day on that hot afternoon, a band came out which really kicked my butt and that was The Darkness. Fast forward 11 years and this time we had a chance to see the band in their own headlining show which ended up being a great night of high energy rock n' roll!


Opening the night at an early time slot was The Apes who flew in from the east coast to deliver a warm up set that didn't tickle my fancy too much, a strong indie rock/poppish sound masked a potential rawer sound but the young lads can still be commended for bringing their show to the Perth audience. No easy feat considering how hard the Perth crowds can sometimes be.


The Darkness came out straight after and following a strong British anthemic intro, proceeded into tracks from their latest album "Last Of Our Kind" which sees the band continue with their outlandish brand of rock n' roll. The ever so flamboyant frontman, Justin Hawkins was all over the stage, switching frequently between guitar playing and solo vocals and completely engaging with the audience no matter what. While the band's sound can be somewhat compared to Queen and Ac/DC, Justin was in a league of his own as he strutted his stuff, peeling his clothes off as the night went on and baring his body-covered tattoos. His brother Dan though, was the driving force behind the band, a Malcolm Young version if you will. While he primarily focused on rhythm stuff, it's that groove that kept the band moving along at a highly energetic pace regardless of what song they were peforming. From classics like "Friday Night" which had the crowd singing every word to "I Believe In A Thing Called Love", the band were unstoppable as they belted out a mix of newer tracks and older stuff from their first 2 albums.


Was it better than the first time I saw them all those years ago? My immediate reaction was not quite, however as I sit here going through the setlist and remembering the crowd's response to every song and the high energy coming from the band, my mind may have changed. Regardless of comparisons though, it was a very engaging show and showed that old school rock is still alive and kicking!




by Andrew Schizodeluxe and Leslii Phillips Photos by The Buffman




Want a release reviewed? Want to let us know about your album? Contact us now

For reviews of live shows, head to our LIVE REVIEWS is a proud supporter of local live music and unsigned bands