7th December 2017
Oh yes, back to the seaside for another arena tour for the glam band that the 70’s forgot. If past history has anything to measure tonight by, it will be in laughs, decibels or most likely…both.
Out first was a total unknown entity, owing to me not conducting any homework. But with a name like Blackfoot Gypsies, it was fairly clear they would meet my appreciation criteria. As hoped, they sound exactly as their moniker suggests. A countrified electric blues band who love a good ol’ ho down, whilst adding a little wooziness to cloud the journey. Their overtly American deep south Tennessee drawl was both engaging and energising, seeming to be awestruck by people turning up to watch them. Each song was packed with melody and their guitar strings twanged with a true American heritage spirit. Wholly enjoyable and entertaining.
The Darkness appeared from the shadows full of their flamboyant style, all glittered up and ready to rock (eye wateringly tight cat suit and all). They wasted no time and aptly opening with Open Fire the tongue in cheek ‘The Cult’-esque hard rocker. The pace started strong and barely let up with a rip roaring set which showcased the best of their catalogue. From classic jams, the phone waving balladry of “Love Is Only A Feeling”, the best (?) riff ever (as voted by Planet Rock listeners “Barbarian”, drug infused “One Way Ticket” and pop sensation “Friday Night”.
It was however the newer heavier, cheesier tracks which really raised the standard tonight. The epically thunderous “Japanese Prison Of Love” gnarled its teeth with relentless wattage, the raging rant against “Southern Trains” and the fast and furious “All the Pretty Girls” taking the plaudits.
Whilst they played professionally as the finely crafted specimen of rock legend they are, It wouldn’t be the Darkness without Justin Hawkins between song comedic interludes. Between mercury-esque Ay-Oy’s, stories about his conception above a Colchester Pub and the obligatory gimme a “D”, gimme an “..Aaaarkness” there was barely a dull moment.
What with it being December, we also got a huge festive treat to round us out with “Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End)”.
The Darkness have settled into their position of defenders of the 70’s glam/pop influenced hard rock faith, refusing to resist making a few too many innuendo jokes. But for those crowed into this sea front concert hall, it was everything they hoped it would be. Big, Brash, Bold, Colourful (in many ways), Camp and Classic.