The Darkness @ House Of Blues, 4/10/16
The Darkness’ Back to the USSA tour is underway friends! The band stopped by the House of Blues in San Diego with Alexa Villa and RavenEye and put on a clinic of a show.
You might be unfamiliar with Alexa Villa but once you hear her sing she’ll be impossible to forget. The girl has got some pipes! Alexa and her backup band did an incredible job of warming up the crowd and the stage for what was to come.
If you have yet to hear/see RavenEye live, I’ve got homework for you. These guys are AWESOME and their energy live is practically impossible to ignore. How the 3 gentlemen that make up RavenEye manage to create such a full sound while simultaneously covering ground all over the stage and each other is beyond me. They genuinely look like they’re having the time of their lives and it’s infectious. Everyone was wide-eyed and all smiles during the set. I cannot wait until these guys are back in California again.
Now, I can admit that I wasn’t the biggest The Darkness fan before attending this show. I only knew one song, THE song, and all I knew of the band is what I had seen in their infamous music video for it. I hadn’t heard “I Believe In A Thing Called Love” again in years and had no idea if the song was a spoof of theirs of if there was more where that song had come from. There is way more, by the way. But you guys, Glam Rock is still a totally relevant thing. Falsetto solos still happen. As far as The Darkness is concerned, Glam Rock is alive and well and only thriving. I only wish I had known it sooner.
I don’t know what it is about The Darkness but I was sold as soon as frontman Justin Hawkins hit the stage in his baby-blue silk suit. They went straight into “Barbarian” and the crowd lost it. Bassist Frankie Poullain, looking like he jumped straight out of a 60’s film was making the whole house vibrate with his bass licks. Add in Dan Hawkins’ complete shred on guitar and drummer Rufus Taylor rounding it all off, the band has everything to make a show memorable and they absolutely deliver.
Marshall stacks tower the guys and huge lighting rigs and fog shadow them. The whole thing seems so grand yet they manage to make it seem effortless and super cool. They stop songs randomly for banter and then pick up right where they left off. Whaaaat, I didn’t even know stuff like that still happened, where someone can just stop a song, speak for like 2 minutes and then begin again right where they left off. Stuff like that is legendary and the crowd blissfully went along with it all. Their lighting system at one point was disconnected and they continued playing with the assistance of the fans lighting the stage with their phones. Justin does a hell of a typical New Yorker impression and I appreciate that we weren’t subjected to another Anchorman San Diego reference. He even had time to cut an impromptu water bottle commercial mid set. The guy has his frontman duties down to a hilarious science and he’s damn good.
There was no dull moment to The Darkness’ show. The band had me constantly guessing as to what was going to happen next. I’ve seen thousands of bands live over the years but the shows where I’ve left the venue having witnessed something truly unpredictable and memorable are far and few between. Granted, Glam Rock is a whole different realm than what I usually dabble in but you guys it was hands down one of the coolest shows I’ve ever seen. I didn’t think I was going to walk out of the venue a huge The Darkness fan but that’s exactly what happened. Like, where do I sign up to be their official tour photographer? Are VIP meet and greets still available? Do you think Frankie would be open to being my new best friend? Who knows, but if they hit a town near you, do yourself a favor and go see The Darkness. I guarantee you an excellent time.