JAMES WILSON (GUEST REVIEWER)
(PHOTOS: TURNER PHOTOGRAPHY)
First to take the stage was the support act for the night, the Blackfoot Gypsies. These guys come to offer their own style of retro rock n roll meets southern rock. Their frontman Matthew Paige dressed the part too, in a 60s style outfit. He spoke with a cool Tennessee accent and had a presence that grabbed the audience's attention. He seemed genuinely happy to be on the stage and this made the crowd warm to him more. He was charismatic and his guitar solos were a delight to watch. The band, as a whole, were tight which delivered each song with confidence and intent.
However, the biggest highlight was Ollie on harmonica. This guy gave each song such a different feel which makes Blackfoot Gypsies stand out to other bands with a similar sound. He performed with a coolness that caught a lot of people’s attention. ‘Lying through your Teeth’ showed off this talent which had the crowd mesmerised, especially when he did a little bit of bird whistling. They ended their set with the track ‘I'm going to the Woods’. This song showed off exactly what this band is about and why they deserved to be heard. It was full of energy, which the crowd embraced, and the guys looked like they were having so much fun.
Blackfoot Gypsies are amazing live and you should check them out, as well as their latest album To the Top. It’s acts like this that really make me appreciate taking the time to watch artists/bands before the headliner.
The Blackfoot Gypsies are:
Matthew Paige - Vocals/Guitar,
Zack Murphy - Drums,
Dylan Whitlow - Bass/Vocals,
Ollie Dogg – Harmonica
I'm So Blue (To The Top album)
Everybody's Watching (To The Top album)
Lying Through Your Teeth (To The Top album)
Promise To Keep (To The Top album)
I Had A Vision (To The Top album)
I'm Going To The Woods (not recorded on album yet)
Check them out at:
Now to the main event, The Darkness. Justin took the stage to a Celtic style intro and the audience were instantly in his grasp. Wearing a green trademark catsuit, he was ready to do what he does best, to bring a SHOW. It all began with a few older tracks including ‘Love is only a Feeling’. This got the crowd singing along and their spirits were already high.
The rest of the set continued with a similar pattern. A few new tracks slotted in amongst the bands biggest hitters from their previous releases.
Songs from the new album Pinewood Smile were well received with ‘Solid Gold’ being the biggest winner. Justin seemed to have extra swagger during this one with everyone singing to the hook “And we're never gonna stop, Shitting out Solid Gold”. The classic hits are when the venue buzzed the most with the crowd at the full frenzy. Everyone loved singing along to ‘One Way Ticket’, ‘Get your Hands off my Woman’ and ‘Growing on Me’. This quartet was in full flow with everyone putting on an impressive entertaining show.
For the encore, things started up with ‘Japanese Prisoner of Love’. This felt like a calm before the storm, as it was followed up by ‘Christmas Time (Don't Let the Bells End)’. There were people with arms around each other and singing along to every word. It was one of those moments which live music should be about, people having a good time. The guys did not stop there as they ended on the showstopper ‘I Believe in a Thing Called Love’. The roof almost came off and the band were loving every minute of it.
The Darkness are an interesting rock band to watch. Rufus seemed to be going through the motions on the drums but it was great to hear him bring more thunder during the newer songs like ‘Southern Trains’. As for Frankie on the bass, whatever he did, he made it look cool. As for Dan, he is a beast on the guitar and there were times when he came out of Justin’s shadow to really show off his skills. His techniques on his six-string was great to observe. As for Justin, what can you say about this natural-born showman? He knows how to own the stage and have the fans eating out of his hands. He was energetic and even performed a few handstands on the drum riser. He even had time between songs to share some weird made up adverts for Volvic water. Not sure what that was about, but the crowd enjoyed it.
With less than a quarter of the setlist from the new album, this felt more of a crowd pleaser ‘Best of’ gig; This wasn’t a bad thing, as they loved every minute of it and were not left disappointed. This is a band that can only be fully appreciated by seeing them perform live. Go grab a ticket from their remaining shows and prepare to have a good time.
The Darkness are:
Justin Hawkins (vocals, guitars)
Dan Hawkins (lead guitars)
Frankie Poullain (bass)
Rufus Tiger Taylor (drums)
Love is only a feeling
One Way ticket
All the Pretty Girls
Every Inch of You
Stuck in a Rut
Get your Hands off my Woman
Growing on Me
Japanese Prisoner of Love
Christmas Time (Don't Let the Bells End)
I Believe in a Thing Called Love
Check them out at:
**PHOTOS ARE NOT TO BE USED WITHOUT THE PRIOR CONSENT OF DOWN THE FRONT MEDIA**