Sunday, January 26, 2020

The Darkness @ La Cigale, Paris - January 26th, 2020

I have to admit that I missed the Darkness boat when they broke big a little over fifteen years ago. I did rock out to their first album Permission To Land and its infectious hit single I Believe In A Thing Called Love, but because of their humour I unfairly dismissed them as a novelty act, bordering on parody. Mea maxima culpa.

Almost two decades into their rock and roll career, complete with all the usual trappings like addictions, break-ups and reunions, it has become evident that the band from Suffolk have become one of the foremost ambassadors of classic hard rock on the circuit today. The fact that they deliver it with their tongues in their cheeks and without taking themselves seriously does not negate that.

Frontman Justin Hawkins' falsetto, guitar skills and showmanship are the focal point of the concert, but that shouldn't distract from the rest of the band, including his brother Dan Hawkins on guitar, the ultra-cool Frankie Poullain on bass and Rufus Taylor on drums, who happens to be the son of Queen's Roger Taylor.

More than the musicianship and the entertainment factor, what keeps them on the top of the current hard rock pile are their songs. Like a cross between Queen, Thin Lizzy, AC/DC and Judas Priest with a little 80's hair metal flair thrown in for good measure, their setlist was a celebration of fun, love, sex and all things rock and roll.

They played their current record Easter Is Cancelled in full, which was warmly received, as well as selections from their entire career. Highlights included One Way Ticket To Hell, Japanese Prisoner Of Love, set opener Rock And Roll Deserves To Die and the tracks from their debut: Growing On Me, Get Your Hands Off My Woman and their blockbuster anthem I Believe In A Thing Called Love.

This was a truly heroic Arena Rock show that happened to take place in a theatre. The lights, the riffs, the vocals, the sounds and smells... it was all real, authentic rock and roll. This was no ironic homage, no vulgar ersatz, no overly reverent facsimile. This was The Darkness, live. A group of young men showing everyone how rock and roll is done and making good on their promise to never, ever stop shitting out solid gold.


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