Friday, 20 January 2012

The Darkness @ Southampton Guildhall, 17/11/11

Roll up, roll up The Darkness are in town, ready to deliver a deliciously camp and crazy spectacle. But before the main event, the members of Foxy Shazam treat the stage like a climbing frame, storming through their bizarre camp rock. Lead singer, and Noel Fielding lookalike, Eric Sean Nally behaves like he’s polished off all the pick ’n’ mix in Wilkinsons, pausing only to reel off his trippy monologues. Their exuberant, honest tracks, peppered with a few kooky Kate Bush moments, leave the crowd in a confused yet impressed silence.

The Darkness soon appear after a very dull and drawn out intro song. To the disappointment of some, frontman Justin Hawkins has opted for a rather conservative waistcoat as opposed to his usual second skin catsuit. But never fear, a costume change later on soon sees to that. Tonight’s set is peppered with a few new tracks from next year’s new release, but they noticeably fall a little flat on tonight’s crowd. It’s hard to beat the classics, with ‘Get Your Hands Of My Woman’ and ‘Love Is Only A Feeling’ leaving everyone grinning like the Cheshire cat.

The Darkness are clearly used to gracing larger stages as their impressive pyrotechnics leave the Guildhall struggling to cope with the smoke, but once it clears they give us all a festive treat. Their 2003 Christmas number one, accompanied by a snow machine, is enough to leave even the scrooge’s amongst the crowd with a warm fuzzy feeling. Justin, with his new candy cane/Dr Zeus inspired catsuit and voice that only dogs can hear, is clearly the bands greatest asset, delivering great banter with the crowd and commanding the stage like a circus ringmaster. Nevertheless, supurb guitar solos from his brother Dan are not to be ignored, in fact the whole band are gelling well together again. Looking at tonight’s expansive crowd of young and old it is clear that The Darkness are not one hit wonders, now they just need to prove they can still churn out hits. 

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