“Gimme a ‘D’!!” Gimme an ‘ARKNESS’!!”…‘Twas the night before Halloween and THE DARKNESS saw fit to bring their heavy, over-the-top, crazy brand of rock and roll to Theater of the Living Arts on South Street in Philly. Touring behind cracking new album Last of Our Kind the boys from England were poised to deliver a unique show guaranteed to far exceed expectations. After seeing them twice in 2012 no one was more excited for this one than me. Armed with my partner in crime (and newest member of the staff) Kelly who I tasked with getting some killer photos I found us a spot at the bar and waited.
Just after 9 pm the house lights dimmed and the band went into “Barbarian” off the new disc followed by a pair of older cuts, “Growing On Me” and “Black Shuck” from debut Permission to Land. The crowd was at full volume and the guys totally fed off of that. Not to mention it was a packed house, something that had to look pretty awesome from the stage. Another new one was next in “Mudslide” followed by one of my all-time favorites, “Givin’ Up”, something that never fails to get me singing at the top of my lungs whether I’m in the car or at the show.
“Roaring Waters” was initially not one of my favorites when I reviewed the new record but in a live setting it really clicked for me. Then of course it was time for none other than “One Way Ticket”. Not gonna rehash my personal history and demons, but this one resonates with me on so many levels, and it just gets better and better every time I hear it live.
The rest of the set was a terrific mix of old and new with a few surprises: “Love Is Only a Feeling”, “Friday Night” (another favorite!), “English Country Garden” (I can’t fucking believe they played this one!! SCORE!!), and then a quick detour into BRYAN ADAMS’ “I Need Somebody” featuring two local gents on lead vocals before “Every Inch of You” and then “Rack of Glam”. “Get Your Hands Off My Woman” kicked things into even higher gear, then “Stuck In a Rut” brought its signature chunky stomp to the TLA. Naturally “I Believe In a Thing Called Love” closed out the regular set and the crowd, yours truly included, went ballistic.
One more new cut started the encores with single “Open Fire” then a cover of RADIOHEAD’S “Street Spirit (Fade Out)” that is ten thousand times more kickass and alive than that whiny nonsense, and is a great addition to the live set. Sadly, all good things must come to an end and after an extended jam/audience participation session during “Love On the Rocks With No Ice” it was time to say goodnight to THE DARKNESS.
During this number singer/guitarist Justin Hawkins got this lovely little girl who was on her Dad’s shoulders all night rocking out to come up onstage. Her name was Eden and he’d been kidding around with her all night. Her smile lit up the room when she got up there, and it was just such a great moment. I’m so happy I got to see that, and it’s awesome that Justin took the time out to make a little girl’s night special. It really was amazing, as was the whole show, and if you didn’t see THE DARKNESS live on this Blast of Our Kind Tour then shame on you.
LIVE WORDS: THE MAESTRO
LIVE PHOTOS: KELLY SHARADIN