#Review: The Darkness @ Brighton Dome, Brighton – 10/12/19

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On Tuesday 10th December 2019, The Darkness brought their Easter Is Cancelled Tour to Brighton Dome! The event was packed with people and full of fun, with support from Rews. Here’s what we have to say about the event…


Rews

This duo (accompanied by a drummer) are a riotous, girl-powered pair that are unafraid to pack a punch! For just three instruments and a butt-load of distortion, they sure bring about a lot of noise – they kind of reminded me of a more serious, angry-sounding Pink Slip (remember them from Disney’s remake of Freaky Friday, with Lindsay Lohan?!) Although they’re quite the raucous act, the vocal harmonies between them are nothing short of immense and clearly must have been rehearsed for hours! The bassist is full of charisma too, working the stage with conviction, at times, capturing the most attention. An interesting act with some fairly catchy tunes – they made for a good support.

Highlight: The vocal harmonies – honestly, they were awesome!

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The Darkness

As The Darkness took to the stage, dressed all in white, the crowd errupted with excitement, to see the rock band strike out the first notes of Easter Is Cancelled‘s opening track, ‘Rock And Roll Deserves To Die’. After a couple of songs, Justin explained that on this tour, the band were playing the entirety of their latest album, from start to finish, before doing a selection of their greatest hits…and it was awesome! He made a joke about people only coming for their Christmas single or their older songs but people were lapping it all up – both the new and old material.

If you haven’t already heard it, their latest record (Easter Is Cancelled) is great – it’s packed with the usual The Darkness lyrical wit, falsetto vocals, incredible musicianship and powerful rock anthems and is probably one of their best albums in recent years – so it was amazing to be able to see it all performed live.

The stage set was visually stunning too – with three, church window-shaped screens, surrounded by flashing lights, the backdrop for each song was unique, diverse and sometimes just outright bonkers (think cartoon dancing cows moshing!)

After finishing the run-through of their latest album, the band retired for a very quick costume change, before coming back to perform an array of their back catalogue, to much enthusiasm from the crowd. They performed a selection of tracks from nearly all their albums, from ‘Japanese Prisoner of Love’ and ‘Solid Gold’ (from 2017’s Pinewood Smile) to ‘I Believe In A Thing Called Love’ (from their 2003 debut, Permission To Land).

It didn’t matter whether they were playing new or old material, people were singing along with every word, jumping around and having the best time! They perform with high energy, good humour and flawlessness, ensuring their audience come away from the show feeling euphoric. The Darkness are a lot of fun to watch live and whether you know all their songs or not, you are guaranteed to have the best night with them – I really can’t recommend them highly enough!

Highlights:

  • Justin‘s live vocals are powerful and flawless, whilst his charisma oozes with dry humour and a stage presence like no other.
  • The band themselves perform to perfection with impeccable professionalism and high energy and their individual talent for each of their instruments is spell-binding.
  • Justin doing a headstand in front of the kick drum during a song, before casually returning to the microphone to finish the song, was pretty damn impressive!
  • There was one point that someone did something to make Justin laugh at the start of a song, which was touching to see.
  • During the set, Justin brought up that it was Dan‘s birthday coming up and the audience spontaneously burst out with a round of ‘Happy Birthday’ which Justin then led into ‘For He’s A Jolly Good Fellow’.
  • The ad-libs between songs, like a funky riff and vocal melody Justin bust out with before ‘I Believe In A Thing Called Love’ (in the video below) and some of the between-song banter is pretty amusing.
  • I just highly recommend watching them live – already, I would love to see them again!

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📷 All of the photos in this post are credited to Damon Peirce  📸
Why not give him a follow on Instagram and Twitter or check out his website.


 Setlist

Easter Is Cancelled
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

Greatest Hits
One Way Ticket*
Barbarian
Growing On Me*
Japanese Prisoner Of Love
Love Is Only A Feeling
Solid Gold
Givin’ Up*
Street Spirit (Fade Out)
Get Your Hands Off My Woman
I Believe In A Thing Called Love*

Encore
Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End)*

These songs can be viewed in the YouTube playlist, below.


Finally, I want to say a massive thanks to The Darkness and Rews for putting on a great show as well as Warren and Charleigh from Chuff Media for enabling this review to happen.


Enjoyed this? Check out some of our other live reviews here:

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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#Review: The Darkness – Easter Is Cancelled ✞

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The Darkness are an English rock band from Lowestoft, Suffolk who first came to the public’s attention in 2003, with their debut album, Permission to Land. In particular, their debut single, ‘I Believe in a Thing Called Love’, was a monster hit, reaching Number 2 in the UK Charts. With 5 albums already under their belt, 2019 sees the release of the band’s sixth album, Easter Is Cancelled. Here’s what we have to say about it…

The Darkness - Easter Is Cancelled.jpg

It may have only been a couple of years since The Darkness released their last album, Pinewood Smile, but the band are now back with a bang and have possibly created an even better album than their last!

As with their previous record, the standard edition comes with just 10 tracks, whilst the deluxe edition comes with an extra 4, but that said, the standard version alone, is excellent!

The album opens with single, ‘Rock And Roll Deserves To Die’, a song which starts out quite calm yet epic – almost soundtrack-like – with middle-eastern vibes, alongside an accompanying acoustic guitar. It’s satirical and once it fully kicks in, serves up something very Tenacious D about it, with edgy, hair metal qualities too- especially with the sensational, chaotic guitar solo to finish.

Whilst the album is very much a rock record and clearly, at it’s heart, still very much The Darkness, they have managed to bring some great diversity too. From the wonderful 80s-like guitar licks (with a hint of country vibes thrown in for good measure?!) and sensational falsetto vocals of ‘Live ‘Til I Die’, to the more “middle of the road”, mellow and beautiful tones of ‘In Another Life’ – a great, acoustic-driven, country-style power ballad with clean guitars in the verses and a slightly heavier chorus; Easter Is Cancelled could easily become a classic album for the more recent era of the band.

It certainly has its quirks too though – ‘Deck Chair’ is a serious-sounding, acoustic-led ballad about…a deck chair! Whilst the subject matter is somewhat insincere, there’s a very Queen/Freddie Mercury quality to this song. It’s particularly hilarious when whispered French vocals come in, as well as shimmering guitar effects and plucked violins. ‘Choke On It’ seeks Hawkins sing about gold diggers riding off their success and even busts out a random northern accent at one point before pulling off a strong chorus with his trademark falsetto voice and gritty gang vocals to accompany. Additionally, ‘Easter Is Cancelled’ feels very old school metal, with some great gang vocals, yet is possibly the weakest track on the album – whilst it is still good and the guitar lines are great, it’s just not as strong as the rest of the record, despite being the title track.

Easter Is Cancelled could easily become a classic album for the more recent era of the band.

Moments that impress most are the surefire, new fan-favourite (and mine too!) ‘How Can I Lose Your Love’; sweeping, grungy synths open and build as if it’s going to be an intense beat, before becoming a suddenly, more calm chorus. It’s unusual to have a fast verse and slow chorus – such a great, unexpected yet catchy-as-hell track. ‘Heart Explodes’ is dramatic with wailing, ghost-like vocals during the breakdown and haunting guitar solos too. Also, ‘Heavy Metal Lover’ is a hilariously witty track about a lover being really into heavy metal. Juxtaposition is rife with chaotic and heavy metal-inspired, guitar breakdowns following the sweet-sounding, lovey-dovey, harmony-filled choruses.

The album draws to a strong close with ‘We Are The Guitar Men’, a lyrically diverse ode to the band’s guitars, demonstrating great personification, as though the guitar a beautiful woman. The chorus feels full of nostalgia, like a solid 80s rock tune, blending electric and acoustic guitars, with the occasional synth thrown in too. Ascending vocals lead into a lovely show-off guitar solo at the very end of the track.

I remain captivated by The Darkness, even after them having been around for 16 years now. And sure, they are predominately a modern, not-so-slightly tongue-in-cheek version of a 70s/80s rock band, that doesn’t often deviate from the recipe for their successes, but somehow they are still great to listen to and bring about just enough diversity in each of their records, to still keep them fresh and their fans interested, that you can’t help but love them.

Whilst the band have not had another Number 1 album since their debut, Permission To Land, I’m sure that this record will still do very well and hopefully become a modern classic and fan favourite, since the band reunited in 2011…it’s near perfect!

Rating
4.5


‘Easter Is Cancelled’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/easter-is-cancelled-deluxe/1473988829


Easter Is Cancelled on Spotify

Rock And Roll Deserves To Die (Official Video)

Heart Explodes (Official Video)


THE DARKNESS ‘EASTER IS CANCELLED’ 2019 TOUR

The band are also heading out on tour across November and December 2019. Tickets are available here.

NOVEMBER
26th – Belfast, Limelight
27th – Dublin, Academy
29th – Nottingham, Rock City

DECEMBER
1st – Birmingham, O2 Academy
2nd – Leicester, O2 Academy
3rd – Southend, Cliffs Pavilion
5th – Norwich, UEA
6th – Cambridge, Corn Exchange
7th – Bath, Pavilions
9th – Portsmouth, Pyramids
10th – Brighton, Dome
11th – Watford, Colosseum
13th – Manchester Academy
14th – Newcastle, O2 Academy
15th – Glasgow, O2 Academy
17th – York, Barbican
18th – Liverpool, O2 Academy
20th – London, Roundhouse


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of the band’s sixth album? Are you as much of a fan as us? What would you rate it out of 5? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or via our social media.


Enjoyed this? Check out some of our other reviews here:

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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#Review: The Darkness – ‘Pinewood Smile’


   

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The Darkness are an English rock band from Lowestoft, Suffolk who first came to the public’s attention in 2003, with their debut album, Permission to Land. In particular, their debut single, ‘I Believe in a Thing Called Love’, was a monster hit, reaching Number 2 in the UK Charts. Now, 14 years on, and with a string of other successful singles and albums, the band have just released their fifth studio album, Pinewood Smile.

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Right from the offset of the opening track, ‘All The Pretty Girls’, you get the feeling that this album is somewhat similar in style to their debut (Permission To Land); the guitars are layered and punchy and they’ve managed to re-create the magic of what made them so popular back in 2003, but this time with the incredible drumming talents of Rufus Tiger Taylor (son of Queen‘s Roger Taylor).

Pinewood Smile is without a doubt a more grown-up and darker record from the band. It definitely still has a lot of the charm that The Darkness have become so loved for (in terms of their mash up of classic rock with obvious pop qualities) but they’re taking on more political views (‘Southern Trains’) and cynical stances and clear frustrations of the modern music industry (‘Solid Gold’). Having said that, while it may be a brand new album, it’s packed with tracks which are sure to become classics. There’s still a lot of that tongue-in-cheek lyricism but they’re weaving it in with variations to their style of rock by experimenting with subtle style differences.

It may be a brand new album but it’s packed with tracks which are sure to become classics.

There are some lovely (and at times comedic) gems throughout the album, such as Justin’s Southern American accent on ‘All The Pretty Girls’, while the verses of ‘Lay Down With Me, Barbara’ are reminiscent of smooth jazz – something you might find in some sort of chill-out lounge. Then you’ve got ‘Buccaneers Of Hispaniola’ which contains some insanely great vocal harmonies; ‘Happiness’ which is quite the stadium-filling, chant-along anthem and it all comes to a close with the beautiful and intricate, ‘Stampede Of Love’, which descends into chaos by the end, making for a fitting end to the album.

The entire record was recorded in Cornwall, with award-winning producer and engineer Adrian Bushby (who’s worked with the likes of Foo FightersMuse and My Bloody Valentine) at the helm. He’s done an excellent job of managing to capture the band’s well-known sound but still put his mark on it too – the drums are a lot more prominent than on some of their previous albums and there are lovely elaborate parts to some of the tracks which he really brings out well in the production.

I would recommend this album to anyone who’s about to embark on a long journey and needs something heavy to spice up their travels. Once you know the words, it’s definitely a record you will want to sing along to, especially in a car packed with mates. It’s a witty, punchy and an interesting direction for the band – well worth getting/listening to.

Rating
4


‘Pinewood Smile’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/pinewood-smile-deluxe/id1259927517


‘Pinewood Smile’ on Spotify

Solid Gold (Official Video)

Southern Trains (Official Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review of the band’s latest album! What are your thoughts on it? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or let us know via our social media.


Enjoyed this? Check out some of our other reviews here:

Muzik Speaks Album Reviews


Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#ThrowbackThursday: Chuck Berry – ‘Johnny B. Goode’ (RIP Chuck Berry)


   

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It’s so sad to lose such an instrumental person from the 1950s Rock-and-Roll movement, so it seems only right to feature the legendary Chuck Berry‘s 1958 hit, ‘Johnny B. Goode’, in memory of his talent and legacy.

The song was a massive hit among both black and white audiences and it was even featured in the 1973 comedy/drama American Graffiti, which reignited the songs popularity.

It’s an iconic song from the era and as such will undoubtedly remain one of the stand-out rock-and-roll tracks for decades to come.

RIP Chuck Berry, you will be greatly missed.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘Johnny B. Goode’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/johnny-b-goode/id78291131?i=78291181


#MellowMonday: Etta James – ‘At Last’

‘At Last’ was written back in 1941 but it wasn’t until 1960, when Etta James released her version, on her album (of the same name). She later went on to release it as a single in 1961.

Etta James was notable for her crossover of rhythm and blues (R&B) music with rock and roll but her vocals and the use of strings in this song, are much more indicative of soulful blues.

Sure, this song may be in excess of 50 years old, but it’s a classic and an epic way to start the week!

Do you have a different, favourite track by Etta James? Have you got another song which is mellowing your Monday? Please leave it in a comment below.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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