The Darkness @ The Palace
A night of flamboyant showmanship for The Darkness performance was enhanced by the fact that this was their first tour with all original members from Permission To Land in six years. I guess somewhere in between sex, drugs and rock and roll, it is written in the cards that a falling out or two between band members is expected. This was the case for bassist Frankie Poullain who was booted from the band quoting irreconcilable differences. Fortunately for us, love (or a sizable cheque) conquers all, and six years after the fact, he agreed to rejoin the band.
Compounding the shifts between band members of The Darkness was lead singer Justin Hawkin’s grueling drug addiction, forcing him into rehab and leaving many wondering whether he will ever grace the stage again. But we are referring to a man who wears lycra onesies here. So, he has the heart of a lion and inevitably beat the drugs, and I was lucky enough to hear, see and feel his sexy English arse in the flesh.
When The Darkness backdrop was revealed the audience began jumping and pulsing in excitement. Eager to please, the band didn’t wait long and it was only a matter of minutes before they stepped on stage in all their glory. Decked in a tartan tailored and flared outfit, Justin Hawkins looked like Jesus crossed with Captain Jack Sparrow (read: sexy as fuck).
Not falling short of preconceived expectations, The Darkness are as outrageous as one would hope. Justin and his brother weaved in many insane guitar tricks, including a solo performed with the guitar over his head during One Way Ticket. With every song came one less piece of clothing for Justin, who eventually became shirtless, allowing the audience to admire his tattoo work and nipple ring. Or maybe I was the only one who noticed the nipple ring. It was a nice nipple ring.
Moving through a lot of their older work, the audience erupted when the first chords of Love Is Only A Feeling began. With his signature falsetto voice Justin he soared through the higher notes with impressive ease. Upon ending the song, he indulged in some call and response with the audience across all levels of The Palace. This was their underlying strength as a whole; their yearning for audience participation.
Darting offstage momentarily, the band returned, only Justin was now outfitted in the classic lycra onesie. The crowd went crazy, and I almost lost my shit when I saw his perfectly sculpted ass. I wasn’t the only one it seems, because a fan soon tried to jump on stage. Only she was impeded by the seven or so security guards who took the bitch down. During Givin’ Up another chick threw her top on stage. In a nutshell: The Darkness get mad love from the ladies.
Finally, they belted out I Believe In A Thing Called Love, which was insane. It was definitely a highlight moment, only I knew they would be ending soon because I figured it’d be too hard to top that. Wrong. After they left stage, only to be called back again with cries of “encore”, they jumped into Love On The Rocks With No Ice. Justin, ever the crowd pleaser, decided to up the ante, and straddled himself firmly onto a security guard’s shoulders and ventured out into the crowd.
It was here that my night was made. Firmly squeezed near the front, I was in the direct path that Justin took to get out to the crowd. As a 6 ft tall lady, this meant Justin’s ass was right at my eye level while on the security’s shoulders. When life gives you lemons you grab Justin Hawkin’s arse - so I did - and the show was phenomenal.
BY TAMARA VOGL
Photo credit: Richard Sharman
LOVED: Grabbing Justin Hawkin’s arse.
HATED: The pathetic effort the girl who tried to jump on stage made. Don’t half-ass something like that. Commit.