On the 15th of December 2014
The Darkness at Leicester’s O2 Academy.
Reporter Olly Stabler was on hand to review the evening. ∏
First on were two fifths of The River 68’s (it seems as though the rest of the band did not come on the tour). The two members on stage both played acoustic guitars, with one member also playing harmonica and also a stomp pedal which triggered a bass drum sound. With this the act managed to achieve a very ‘full’ sound for only having 2 people. After a couple of songs it became clear who was more of their lead singer and who was more of the backing singer. The lead singer turned out to be the one who was just playing the guitar and so could obviously focus more on his vocals rather then multitasking. The band had a real sense of groove and rhythm to their songs, and, compete with strong harmonies quickly won the crowd over and had all cheering for them. I can’t imagine how much better they could be with the full band backing them!
Next on were a rock band from Derby called LostAlone. I have seen these guys twice before and have always been impressed by them. Tonight was no different, with lead guitarist/vocalist Steven being a real show man and performing all over the stage. The band were overflowing with energy, and would be a good model for any band that lacks energy to aspire to. The band played all their old songs as well as a few new songs off their upcoming album, which featured a very catchy song called Guilty. Their next album is one to watch out for!
Now we come to The Darkness. The O2 was now packed, and there was a huge atmosphere-everyone was clearly here to see these guys rock out. The band came out in their trademark glam image and were immediately greeted with a huge applause.
Now I must admit, I’m not a huge Darkness fan, but I do like bum and so I was a little nervous that I would not enjoy their show that much. The band launched into the first song and after it they explained how the show was going to work: a set featuring ‘oddities’ and new album tracks and then a set of playing their entire debut album, Permission to Launch, in full.
The band continued on with their first set which really did feature some oddities-a stand out was ‘Curse of the Tolland Man’ which ventured into an alt/prog rock kind of area and had me revisiting it to listen after the gig a couple of times throughout the week. Their front-man, Justin Hawkins, was constantly ditching his guitar to allow him to run around and interact with the crowd more. You’d then see a techy run on stage and throw his guitar back onto him so he could do the solo-it all seemed to work very well!
After a Spinal Tap esq long pause drum solo, the band rounded off their Oddities set and an intro took them into playing Permission To Land in full. The band were still brimming with energy and managed to keep the crowd going throughout with more stage antics and entertainment being provided in every song. The Darkness are renowned for their live shows, and tonight, they proved to every single person that they’ve still got it. The rest of the band feature rhythm/lead guitarist Dan Hawkins, brother to Justin, who along with their bassist provide backing vocals and harmonies. All the members are very talented musicians and all got their time to shine during the show.
After they had played Permission To Land, the band disappeared from the stage and stage hands quickly set up Christmas decorations including a massive Christmas tree. the band were greeted back to the stage enthusiastically and played their number 2 hit ‘Christmas Time (Don’t Let the Bells End).’ They of course had the entire academy singing a long with the song and it was a fantastic way to finish off their set. Overall, the band had obviously gone to some length to deliver a good show, and they definitely accomplished this, and more. I thoroughly look forward to the next time the band are in Leicester so I can go and catch them again!