Gig Review: The Darkness. Hammersmith Apollo. W6.

Posted Monday 11th March, 2013 by Martin Jowers

Although never really being someone you could say is into ROCK, I've always had a soft spot for what The Darkness do. I wouldn't even say I've listened to them all that much, but their first album had some good tracks, and it's always good to see musicians who don't take themselves too seriously - pretty rare too! So, the opportunity to see them at Hammersmith arose and my brother (a bigger fan than I) was keen, so we made the trip down. After a slightly weird intro of the band holding hands, the curtain dropped to reveal... the band. Maybe I've watched This Is Spinal Tap too many times, but I was hoping for something more on the stage show front. Pretty much bass, guitar, guitar, drums, ROCK. Nothing much else, which meant the songs and the set did melt into itself after about 5 tracks. A couple of old numbers slightly roused the crowd, who were a third older than they were when the band did this the first time round, and were certainly less than rowdy. I saw one slightly bulging crowd surfer lurch and plop over the front row all night, but props to him for trying. One thing that can't be detracted from is Justin Hawkins' unbelievable showmanship and falsetto skills. One of the best frontmen I have ever seen who seemed to be channelling a touch of Freddie Mercury, and was sublime yet ridiculous, encouraging the crowd to clap along with his legs whilst doing a handstand on the drum kit at one point. All in all it all felt very O.K. I can't think of a better word to sum it up. It wasn't a comeback, but it was a very long hiatus.