So, you know The Darkness reformed and that they’re playing at Download Festival 2011 and that this is bloody exciting. What would be the best Darkness reunion-related thing ever? Seeing their hometown comeback show with 500 other people. Yep. Thrash Hits went to Norwich and saw one of the biggest British rock bands of the past decade strut their stuff in East Anglia. Guess how amazing it was.
Six things we grinned at when we saw The Darkness live in Norwich
1) The Darkness are as brilliant on a stage as they ever were, if not even better. As expected, they sound rehearsed and polished but in stark comparison to the shows before Justin departed in 2006, the band sounds tight and professional and look happy to be onstage. Hurrah!
2) The old songs have lost absolutely none of their clout and the new songs fit right in. Opening with locally-inspired tune, ‘Black Shuck’ is a lovely touch. Spraying trees and trees of black confetti into the crowd during ‘Love Is Only A Feeling’ brings back fearful memories of the Kiss-lington debacle but the CO2 thankfully just helped cool the room down.
3) The catsuit is back. Justin Hawkins is the reason this band is, was and always will be great. Nobody else could make two costume changes in a 500-capacity show seem like a natural thing to do. Lady GaGa eat your heart out.
4) The Darkness are a bunch of hairy buggers. Justin has matched his shaggy mane with the most ridiculous of twirly moustaches while Frankie Poullain’s hair is surely bigger than it’s ever been.
5) The crowd here tonight sums up exactly why The Darkness are going to be fucking huge all over again. There’s a 20-something lad in a Cancer Bats tshirt dancing with his Iron Maiden tshirt-clad girlfriend right next a bunch of chaps in button-up shirts who in turn are standing next a family with 2.4 children. They’re all singing every word of ‘Get Your Hands Off My Woman’. Seeing a father lock eyes with his daughter just as they sing a traditionally stretched out “Motherfucker” was slightly uncomfortable.
6) With Leamington Spa tonight (bizarrely) and London Shepherd’s Bush on Wednesday, they’ve got two more opportunities to practice their live setup and iron out any foibles. This means that once The Darkness have finished with you on Friday evening, you will have nothing left to give for Def Leppard, let alone Saturday and Sunday of Download Festival. Prepare yourself.
The Darkness @ Norwich Waterfront 05/06/11 setlist
Growing On Me
Get Your Hands Off My Woman
One Way Ticket To Hell And Back
Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us
Love Is Only A Feeling
Is It Just Me?
Concrete Lion or Concrete Jungle
Stuck in a Rut
I Believe In A Thing Called Love
Love On The Rocks With No Ice