There were only two Friday the 13th dates in 2023, and one happened to fall in October. A spooky date in prime spooky season is the perfect backdrop for a band with a name like The Darkness. But The Darkness couldn’t be more opposite. The band from Lowestoft, England, delivered one hell of a rock show at Chicago’s The Vic leaving the fans wanting more.
Chicago was the first night of the tour for the opening band, Paris Monster. A two-man psych-funk orchestra consisting of Josh Dion (drums/vocals/keyboard) and Geoff Kraly (bass), Paris Monster is a powerhouse of sound. You’ll have to see them live to believe it, and even then you’ll still be awe-inspired by these two talented musicians.
The majority of their set came from their lone album “Lamplight”, and the crowd was vibing early. While his voice is an unstoppable force of soul, Josh simultaneously hits the drums and tickles the keys to get a groove going like no other. Next to him, Geoff has his bass plugged into a modular synth, which allows him to create unlimited sounds and melodies. These two know their instruments and push them to new heights. Words can barely do them justice; it’s a funky, experimental sound any music fan should experience at least once.
The Darkness truly knows how to put on a kickass show. You can’t do a 20th anniversary tour of an album and not play the entire track list. That’s exactly what the fans came to see, and exactly what they got (and then some)! Donning classic glam rock attire, the band took the stage with high energy that swept the audience upright with them.
The first three songs follow the album’s tracklist (Black Shuck, Get Your Hands off My Woman, Growing On Me) with barely a beat between the songs. During the brief pause, Justin Hawkins (Vocals/Lead Guitar) picked a random member of the crowd to match pitch with him. And if you know anything about lead vocalist Justin, you know he can reach pitches that can nearly shatter glass. The fan tried his best, but he was no match for Justin in the end.
From there, the set continued haphazardly throughout the rest of the album tracks. Every fan in the room was word for word keeping up with the band. Keeping the rhythm all night was Justin’s brother, Dan Hawkins. Frankie Poullain on bass and Rufus Tiger Taylor on drums were at the top of their game as well.
If possible, a surge of energy came from the fans as “Friday Night” began. An already engaged crowd joined in loudly with The Darkness singing the chorus before the rest of the band kicked in. The band completed their set with arguably their biggest hit, “I Believe in a Thing Called Love”. Everybody in the venue knew the words and did not shy away from belting them out at the top of their lungs. The floor was moving about as much as the bodies and the euphoria of the night was at an all-time high.
Coming back out for their encore, the band went from glam rock outfits to comfortable pajamas to close out the show. “I Love You Five Times” was the first song in the encore. Arm in arm, the audience swayed with one another during the emotionally charged song. Only one song remained on the setlist, and they made sure it was a long one. Tracking over six minutes in length, “Love on the Rocks with No Ice” closed out the show and the band bid their fans farewell.
The Darkness arguably put on an incredible show. The band was hilarious, talented, and a must-see rock experience. If you love Rock and Roll, this is one of the best acts in the industry. With only a few US dates left on the tour, time is running out to see The Darkness live. They’re kicking off the rest of their world tour in Europe just weeks after the final US date, so an overseas show could be (and should be) in your future!