photos by Chris La Putt, words by Bill Pearis
Last night (2/6), Irving Plaza was witness to call-and-response sing-a-longs with the audience, epic guitar solos played while riding a roadie through the crowd, and a trust fall into the congregation. And that was just one song. It could only be The Darkness.
This was the second of two nights at Irving, their first NYC shows in five years or so. (We have pictures from Saturday too.) It was also after that Superbowl ad thrust the band back into public conscious, but it didn't seem like anyone there had forgotten about them. This crowd -- which included Dee Snider -- was primed to rawk and frontman Justin Hawkins had them eating out of the palm of his hand. When he yelled "I wanna see some thumbs!" we instantly obliged.
The Darkness are masters of this kind of schtick (that also included costume changes and headstands), as rehearsed as every twin lead, but it's performed with feeling. More than a feeling, even. We got the exact same 23-song setlist as Saturday night (probably the whole tour), which included the entirety of their 2003 debut Permission to Land, two songs from its overblown follow-up, One Way Ticket to Hell(and Back), some choice b-sides (the great "Best of Me"), and a handful of songs from their just-finished third album, due out sometime this year.
Of the new material, new single "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us" stood out, as did the Thin Lizzy-ish "She's Just a Girl, Eddy." I was actually hoping we'd get more of the second album than we did, as I think its problems aren't so much the songs as the production and mixing which accenuated The Darkness' excessive qualities. We got its title track and "Is it Just Me" but I really wanted the Celtic, Slade-style stomper "Hazel Eyes" which is my personal favorite from that album.
But it was the Permission to Land stuff that really killed, from set-and-album opener "Black Shuck" to singles "Growing on Me," and "Love is Only a Feeling" and shoulda-been single "Friday Night," masturbatory ballad "Holding My Own" (performed, ahem, solo acoustic), and their hit "I Believe in a Thing Called Love."
The quarter of the crowd that left after that one missed the epic show-closer "Love on the Rocks (with No Ice)" which the band stretched to 15 minutes thanks to the insanity mentioned in the first paragraph. I'm happy to report that Hawkins' falsetto, so integral (like it or not) to the album, is still in fine form. The whole band was in fine form and benefit from the hardly-partying lifestyle they've adopted. As the band left the stage, Hawkins announced "See you in a few months" and it seems the world may actually be ready and willing for a return.
Click through for lots more photos from the show, including a few from openers Foxy Shazam and Crown Jewel Defense. The Darkness play Philadelphia tonight (2/7), and all upcoming dates are below as well.
Crown Jewel Defense (pics from Saturday)
Foxy Shazam (pics from both nights)
The Darkness (pics from Monday)
The Darkness - 2012 Tour Dates
2/7 - Philadelphia @ Trocadero
2/8 - Washington DC @ 9:30 Club - SOLD OUT
2/10 - Detroit @ St Andrew's Hall - SOLD OUT
2/11 - Chicago @ Metro - SOLD OUT
2/12 - Minneapolis @ First Avenue
2/15 - Denver @ Summit
2/17 - Las Vegas @ House of Blues
2/18 - Phoenix @ Celebrity Theatre
2/19 - Los Angeles @ House of Blues - Sunset Strip - SOLD OUT
2/21 - San Francisco @ Fillmore
2/23 - Portland @ Roseland Theater
2/24 - Vancouver, B.C. @ Commodore Ballroom
2/25 - Seattle @ Neptune Theater