Live Gig Photos

The Darkness / Rews, The Academy, Dublin 27 11 November 2019

Review by Brendan O’Mahony 

Pictures by Anamaria Meiu

Where once roamed behemoths such as Led Zeppelin, Rush and CCR, Rock’n’roll at its finest is an ever more increasingly difficult thing to find in the modern musical landscape so when it arrives on your doorstep it would be foolish to ignore. Having first witnessed The Darkness supporting the mighty Metallica and Linkin Park back in 2003 I have been hooked ever since and part of the joy now is seeing people at their first show and watching a similar obsession unfold. With the Academy full to capacity, cowbells at the ready and a new album to digest live, the stage is set for a cracking evenings entertainment.

Upon entry to the venue tonight the support Rews have already kicked off due to what would later be described as ferry related concerns, the drawbacks to living on an island, but luckily are only partly way through the first track ‘Rip Up My Heart’. They are a 3-piece alt-rock/pop band, lead by Northern Ireland native Shauna Tohill, who have created some hip-shaking, head banging tunes on their debut album Pyro, released by Marshall Records in 2017. Running through songs such as ‘Shake, Shake’, ‘Miss You In The Dark’ and ‘Monsters’ they have the crowd properly warmed up before new track ‘Birdsong’ gives us an indication of what to expect from their second L.P due out next year. Finishing off with ‘Shine’, the trio have delivered the perfect setup for the headliners to follow and have made early entrance to this tour of Ireland and the U.K an absolute necessity.

This tour has been promoted and advertised as an evening with The Darkness with the first half dedicated to their brand-new album Easter Is Cancelled followed by a selection of hits from the rest of their career. Now, playing any more than 3 tracks off a new album can be seen as a ballsy move by most bands at the best of times but playing the whole thing start to finish is a serious statement of intent showing how much they believe in the new material. From the folk rock Zeppelinesque ‘Rock’n’roll Deserves to Die’, to the exquisite ‘How Can I Lose Your Love’, to the wonderfully weird lament of the loss of a ‘Deck Chair’ the band show just how varied their repertoire can be. It also helps that they are really enjoying playing the new songs which adds to the overall engagement and atmosphere between the band and audience. As the new album tracks finish with ‘We Are The Guitar Men’ The Darkness have come full circle, reclaiming their minds while proclaiming “Long live Rock’n’roll”.

Following a quick clothing changeover, the catsuit changes from white to sparkly red and Dan Hawkins switches to his trusty Thin Lizzy t-shirt, it’s time for the hits and a raucous sing along to ‘One Way Ticket’ kicks off part two. As the chants of “Fuck the Ferry” reverberate around the venue it is clear nobody wants this to end but with essential travel plans already made, thus providing a tight curfew, there is little time for in-between song banter. The immense ‘Barbarian’, ‘Growing On Me’ along with ‘Love Is Only A Feeling’ test my lung capacity and vocal chords no-end before Radiohead’s ‘Street Spirit and The Beatles ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ are mashed together with the speed and volume turned up to eleven. In ‘Get Your Hands Off Of My Woman’ and ‘I Believe In A Thing Called Love’ you have further proof of how perfect Permission to Land was, even more so as a debut album, before ‘Christmas Time’ reminds everyone that (a) Christmas rock and metal songs can be great and (b) we are four weeks out from the day in question. Closing out with ‘Love On The Rocks With No Ice’, including a crowd walk from Justin on the shoulders of a roadie all the while wailing on his Gibson, The Darkness have shown yet again what it means, to both the audience and the musicians, to play Rock’n’roll with a genuine passion.

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SETLIST:

Easter Is Cancelled set:
Rock and Roll Deserves to Die
How Can I Lose Your Love
Live ‘Til I Die
Heart Explodes
Deck Chair
Easter Is Cancelled
Heavy Metal Lover
In Another Life
Choke on It
We Are the Guitar Men

Set 2
One Way Ticket
Barbarian
Growing on Me
Japanese Prisoner of Love
Love Is Only a Feeling
Solid Gold
Street Spirit (Fade Out) (Radiohead cover) (With “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” snippet by The Beatles.)
Get Your Hands Off My Woman
I Believe in a Thing Called Love
Christmas Time (Don’t Let the Bells End)
Love on the Rocks With No Ice

 

 

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