ARTIST: The Darkness
SUPPORT: Foxy Shazam, Crown Jewel Defence
VENUE, TOWN: Brighton Dome, Brighton
DATE: 16th November 2011
FIVE WORD REVIEW: Glam cheese – perfect for Brighton!
MAIN REVIEW:Whoever thought of getting Foxy Shazam to tour with The Darkness should be very pleased with himself. Both gloriously camp, yet equally rock ‘n’ roll, it was a genius move to pair them up.
California’s Crown Jewel Defence open up tonight’s show, and – perhaps the PA’s being saved for the headliners – their sound is muffled and weak. Frontman Taylor Hood’s vocals are indistinguishable, and Hood and rhythm guitarist Nick Clinch’s attempts to engage the crowd stretch to lame between-song guitar licks. Whilst the four-piece fail to put on a memorable performance, they score 10 out of 10 for glitter application: they’re all smothered in the stuff!
Foxy Shazam catapult themselves onto the stage in a whirl of acrobatics and senility. Bursting straight into their huge hit ‘Oh Lord’, frontman Eric Sean Nally strides and flips across the stage with all the energy of a 10 year old boy with ADD after a litre of Tango. He twirls and pirouettes, doffs his fairy-light covered cowboy hat, then runs across the stage on his hands and feet, before kicking the microphone into the air.
“I’m just not myself tonight!” he tells the crowd, before projecting himself up onto guitarist Loren Turner’s shoulders, grinding away throughout the chorus lyric “The only way to my heart is with an axe..” Meanwhile keyboardist Schuyler Vaughn White clambers on top of his instrument and jumps up and down, whilst Alex Nauth suggestively licks his trumpet!
It’s a circus and it’s amazing, but there’s an element of self-depreciation; an expectation that the crowd will dislike the Ohio sextet. Yet, here is a band who are musically thrilling; who put on a performance most artists couldn’t even dream of; whose frontman bears more than a passing resemblance to Freddie Mercury. Win.
Yet all that causes a problem for The Darkness. Can they compare? The Glam Rock four-piece stride onstage, all swagger and tattoos, and open with ‘Black Shuck’. They power through a mix of old favourites and new tracks, accompanied by an over-active smoke machine. ‘Get Your Hands Off Of My Woman’ gets the audience slamming against each other, and ‘Love Is Only A Feeling’ encourages lighters in the air as the crowd is doused in pink strobes.
Frontman Justin Hawkins changes from a three piece plaid suit into a Dr Suess style catsuit before dedicating his junkie hit ‘Give It Up’ to his father-in-law. Noticing some empty seats in the upper circle of the Dome, Hawkins requests that we “bring some elderly relatives next time – or anyone else who likes a sit down!” ‘Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End) sees the stage smattered in fake snow, and in the final encore, Hawkins jumps aboard a bouncer’s shoulders for a trip through the crowd.
Whilst the old tunes are still very firm favourites, The Darkness have made a strong comeback. Expect to see them all over next summer’s festivals!
More photos at www.rachael-emily.com