(PHOTO CREDITS: MB PHOTOGRAPHY SCOTLAND)
This four piece from Nashville, Tennessee arrived in a cold Glasgow on the latest show supporting The Darkness on the UK leg of their current tour. The band confidently took to the stage in front of an eager Glasgow crowd with a modest confidence and without hesitation, opened with ‘I’m So Blue’. I had to wonder if they were referring to the temperature that this reviewer had experienced in the queue for the show but apparently not.
Their feel good rock’n’roll comes with a slice of southern boogie and a dash of country for good measure. Their obvious enjoyment at playing won the crowd over from the start as they moved through the higher paced ‘Can I Get a Warning’ that heard front man Matthew Page thank the audience and proclaim that this was to be a ‘A feel good show’. The appreciative mob had already decided that having seen Paige sporting the maddest hairy wellies seen in Glasgow since Billy Connolly graced the stage in the 70s.
‘Everybody’s Watching’ changed the feel for a while as a 60s soul thread ran through this stand-out track. The quality of the musicianship is really worthy of acknowledgement with the line up of drums, bass, guitar and harmonica working well. The harmonica drew attention from the outset and worked in and out of each track, often providing soaring melodies but also a driving rhythm that worked well with the accomplished drum and bass playing.
Moving through the Dylan-esque ‘Lying Through Your Teeth’, nods were exchanged among the crowd as Dogg on harmonica stepped forward and whistled birdsong while Whitlow played a complimenting bass solo. Sound unusual? It was but it worked! ‘Promise To Keep’ maintained the originality with obvious nods to the Beach Boys through the harmony ‘oohs’ throughout. Closing with the slow slide-guitar build into ‘I Wanna Be Famous’, the show ended on a high building the show for the main act. In his southern drawl, Paige thanked the crowd and the smile on his face said it all. This had been a feel-good show and the stage was set for The Darkness. Go see these guys – you will be entertained.
Blackfoot Gypsies are:
Zack Murphy (drums)
Ollie Dogg (harmonica)
Dylan Whitlow (bass)
Matthew Paige (vocals and guitar).
You can check them out at: http://www.blackfootgypsies.com/
I’m So Blue
Can I Get A Warning
Lying Through Your Teeth
Promise To Keep
I Wanna Be Famous
The Darkness are currently in the UK on their ‘Tour DE Prance’ adventure having toured Europe and will be heading across the pond in the New Year. On a freezing evening, the second city of the empire welcomed these seasoned rockers to the Glasgow Academy where a capacity crowd were to be taken through material from the last 14 years since their seminal ‘Permission To Land’ was released.
The Glasgow Academy has become a popular venue given its size and accessibility and the walls inside proclaim, “Where words fail, music speaks.” Pretty much says it all as the intro ‘tape’ rolls with a keyboard piece that smack of a celtic melody with an Abba twist. This band is all about the show and this builds well for the grand entrance.
Adorned in an open-fronted emerald green cat suit and cape, Hawkins takes to the stage to a warm welcome. The showman is nearly eclipsed by Poullain’s red satin lounge suit and impressive afro but hey, I’m not a royal correspondent so let’s get to the show.
The industry standard Marshall and Ampeg cabs across the stage spring to life with the no-nonsense ‘Open Fire’ which hears Dan driving the band and setting the standard for the night ahead. Moving through the classic ‘Love Is Only A Feeling’, only Dan Hawkins could pull off new song ‘Southern Trains’ and juxtapose this by licking the headstock of his Les Paul!
Air golfing with his microphone, Hawkins leads the band through the Darkness catalogue that reminds the audience of the depth and quality of material they have produced. Every song is written with the live setting in mind and every one of this tight quartet are clearly having a ball. Acknowledgement of Scotsman Poullain’s heritage is given with a massive reaction only to be topped by the band identifying his mum in the balcony. Whether she was happy at the dedication of ‘Get Your Hand Off Of My Woman (Mother F**ker)’ will never be known but she danced along regardless.
Never knowingly stereotyped, this crowd loves the interaction with the band, at one point leading to an impromptu rendition of The Proclaimers’ 500 Miles. Hawkins often speaks to the lucky few squeezed at the barrier and happily wears various trinkets thrown onto the stage.
Returning for an encore after a short break, Hawkins returns in a gold cat suit which he is clearly proud of. Playing the brand new track ‘Japanese Prisoner of Love’ to reinstate the pace of the earlier show, the surprise of a Christmas song drew huge appreciation from those present. Avid followers will recall 2004’s ‘Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End)’ charted at number 2 in the UK charts having been pipped at the post by the frankly depressing ‘Mad World’ by Gary Jules. This isn’t an issue these days and Hawkins was once interviewed and said "we managed to get bellend into a Christmas song without it getting banned! (And ringpiece!)". Legends.
Closing the show with their most-loved classic ‘I Believe In A Thing Called Love’, this was a storming show. A performance. A lesson in how to entertain. If you can, go see them – they are better than ever and are clearly loving the latest chapter in their story.
The Darkness are:
Justin Hawkins – lead vocals, lead and rhythm guitars, keyboards
Dan Hawkins – lead and rhythm guitars, backing vocals
Frankie Poullain – bass guitar, backing vocals
Rufus Tiger Taylor – drums, percussion
Check them out at: http://www.thedarknesslive.com/
Love Is Only A Feeling
One Way Ticket
All The Pretty Girls
Stuck In A Rut
Get Your Hands Off My Woman
Growing On Me
Japanese Prisoner Of Love
I Believe In A Thing Called Love
**PHOTOS ARE NOT TO BE USED WITHOUT THE PRIOR CONSENT OF DOWN THE FRONT MEDIA**