The Darkness

support Ultrasound
author BV date 16/02/13 venue Amager Bio, Copenhagen, DEN

Upon arriving at Amager Bio, I began contemplating on what I was actually going to see tonight. I had previously heard accounts of The Darkness as a live experience, and had been told that it was perhaps the most pompous, grandiose and possibly a bit over the top live experience one could imagine – hence, this should be interesting. The sheer gathering of people here states that there is no specific group of people that tend to listen to The Darkness. From my impressions here, they attract people from all kinds of social groups, ages and gender. As a result, tonights gathering spans across a variety of different people and quite possibly different tastes. This might be a hard crowd to please.

Ultrasound

The support act of the night came in form of the recently reformed Ultrasound – a somewhat popular indie act of the late-nineties that have recently released a new album. While certainly being a point of curiosity for me, they became little more than that when they first started their set at 9 P.M. For the most part of their performance, they struggled with a not so impressive sound as well as with connecting with the audience. The songs of Ultrasound were primarily of a mid to low tempo, with few truly attention grasping moments. Not surprisingly, the most memorable moments of their performance were the ones where the tempo had risen and the dynamics of the band, and their stage presence as well, got a little more up front than their otherwise introvert stage personas. This was clearly not what fans of The Darkness were expecting, and as such their interest slowly dwindled until the anxious waiting for The Darkness seemed to become a bit too much. I admit that Ultrasound certainly sounded interesting, but they were perhaps the most awkward choice of support act I have experienced in recent years, and as such I cannot really comprehend why or how I should be able to get into their music, when expecting something vastly different sounding from the main act.

The Darkness

Following Ultrasound's 45 minute long set, much of the audience was beginning to become anxious and a bit restless. Clearly, many in the audience saw it fit for the ‘party’ to start as soon as possible. And that it did. The Darkness walked on stage to the sound of “The Boys Are Back In Town” by Thin Lizzy, thus signalizing that this would indeed be a grand and triumphant entry – The Darkness were per definition cocky before the show had even started.

The Darkness kicked off the show with “Every Inch of You” from their newest album “Hot Cakes”, and it didn’t really take long for the audience to feel a sense of connection to the band and the general vibe of partying coming from the stage. As such, no more than a few minutes have passed before the first of many people in the audience starts crowd surfing. The party has truly begun. The party continues to rise in tempo, and the sheer amount of riffing coming from stage is enough to satisfy any fan of classic rock in all its shades and all of its glory. It is no secret that The Darkness is a freaky cocktail of the best elements from AC/DC, Queen, Thin Lizzy and many more both proven by the skillfully executed guitar riffs coming from stage, but certainly also in terms of stage presence. Throughout the show, the audience was prone to singing along with most of the songs – perhaps most amazing, I found them to be prone to singing along to the newer songs from “Hot Cakes” since these songs were, not surprisingly, the ones dominating the setlist. I must admit that I had not expected the audience to sing along to these songs, due to the lukewarm reception this album received when it came out. On the other hand, this might be the album some of the newer fans have actually familiarized themselves with, rather than the older, vastly more popular material. If there truly was a failsafe way of achieving a connection with the audience, The Darkness would probably be the band that, if not created it, then certainly used it more often than not. An expected high point was reached during The Darkness signature track, the once upon a time monster hit known as “I Believe in a Thing Called Love”. This song was a high point in musicianship as well as in audience interaction, because there were times where singer Justin Hawkins' powerful falsetto voice was barely audible, due to the sheer amount of audience members singing along.

Throughout the set, The Darkness certainly did not spare us from their many shenanigans. A prime example of such would be the sheer fact that Justin Hawkins at a spur of the moment impulse jumped on top of his brother, who in turn took the both of them for a walk through the audience while Justin continued to play his blistering guitar solo like this was just business as usual. As if that wasn't enough, Justin repeated this stunt on an unwitting yet consenting audience member throughout one of the bands three encores. This concert is truly an example of everything that is horribly cliché about rock music, gathered into a single performance where everything about it should be shunned. Yet, somehow all I see at this show is pure awesomeness and a band of 4 guys giving it their all, like this was the last fucking party on earth. After an hour and a half of blistering riffs and screaming falsetto vocals, the concert comes to a seemingly early end. The concert itself had seemed to be such an uplifting, almost party-like experience so that most audience members didn’t really want it to end, which led to many audience members actually remaining in Amager Bio for quite a while after concert had ended, as if they were simply waiting for the party to continue. As I walked out of the venue along with my friends who had accompanied me there, I became certain that I would definitely see The Darkness play live again – it was simply too amazing to just leave it at Amager Bio.

9

Setlist:

  • 1. Every Inch Of You
  • 2. Black Shuck
  • 3. Growing On Me
  • 4. She's Just a Girl Eddie
  • 5. One Way Ticket
  • 6. Nothin's Gonna Stop Us
  • 7. Get Your Hands Off
  • 8. Love Is Only a Feeling
  • 9. Friday Night
  • 10. Concrete
  • 11. How Dare You Call This Love
  • 12. Givin' Up
  • 13. Stuck In a Rut
  • 14. I Believe In a Thing Called Love
  • --Encore--
  • 15. Best of Me
  • 16. Street Spirit (Radiohead cover)
  • 17. Love on the Rox W/No Ice

Photos by: Rasmus Ejlersen

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