Review: The Darkness – 'Live At Hammersmith'

Gimme a D!” screams Hawkins, the crowd responds with a hearty “D”, “Gimme an arkness!” continues Hawkins, the crowd responds again with “arkness”. Yep, this is a warts and all live recording. None of that fading the crowd out nonsense, or cutting out all the jibber jabber from Hawkins, live means live, and the end result is all the better for it. I love it when the third song finishes, which signals for the photographers to leave the pit. There’s heaps of banter from Hawkins as he queries if they got any good shots. We covered one of the gigs on this tour, and our photographer Rob lovingly tells the tale of how Hawkins leaned over and told all the photographers to hang about as he was going to give them a good one, before executing one of his trademark leaps from the drum riser. Gotta love a performer that knows where the cameras are. Although it is quite difficult to replicate the sense of humour and sheer joy that one witnesses at a gig by The Darkness, ‘Live At Hammersmith’ goes a good job of doing so. Listening to ‘Love is Only a Feeling’, it’s easy to picture the crowd, arms in the air swaying side to side, imaginary mirror ball spinning around above their heads. It’s also easy to imagine the air guitars in action as both Hawkins boys (Justin and brother Dan), rip the stage up… or the heads banging to ‘All The Pretty Girls’, or the ode to shitty public transport, ‘Southern Trains’. Christ on a bike, Rufus Tiger Taylor has brought some ooomph to The Darkness, and proves to be a bit of a chip off the old block with some mightily impressive drumming. It literally is banger after banger, ‘One Way Ticket’ is incredible; cowbell from bassist Frankie Poullain, a wall of riffs matched only by the wall of layered vocal harmonies. ‘Givin’ Up’ is introduced by Hawkins saying, ”No more pissing around.. this is Daniel Hawkins on the electrical guitars”, before the crowd take over the vocals during the chorus. Make no mistake, this is a party, and we’re all invited. ‘Buccaneers Of Hispaniola’ is gloriously over the top, as you would expect from anything that Justin Hawkins puts his vocals to. Through the fun and joviality, sometimes the high standard of playing is often overlooked, and the Zeppelin vibes are strong with this one. Then we have the romp that is ‘Solid Gold’. Bloody marvellous! Throw in a closing chaotic twenty minutes or so that features, ‘Growing On Me’, ‘Japanese Prisoner Of Love’, ‘Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End)’ and the totally gonzo ‘I Believe In A Thing Called Love’ (“Bouncy time..”) and you have one of the best live albums of recent times. A live show is supposed to transport you away from the nose-to-the-grind of normal life. ‘Live At Hammersmith’ does that and so much more. A big part in this is played by the vociferous crowd. Take a bow, folks. ‘Live At Hammersmith’ is available now. The Darkness are currently performing live in Europe before returning to the UK for a date with Queen at TRNSMT Festival in Glasgow. All tour dates can be found here. Review: Dave]]>

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