Tag Archives: The Darkness

Time for…

Time has truly been skipping by, all caught up in the “live for the moment” ethos.   It has been waving cheerily at me at every turn and I’ve been waving back with the notion that every day is special, wondering what it might bring and if it’s not much, then I’ll make it one to remember or worthwhile at any rate!

This notion is targeted at my young family and not on the notebook consciously stuffed, with good intentions, into the bag that accompanies me everywhere.

I’ve been to a few gigs over the last three months, Black Spiders, The Darkness, Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes, Dr John Cooper Clarke, Foo Fighters.  The occasional three or four hours away from the fam keeps me sane and cements my belief that I am still me.

Then, 1, 2, 3 *click* and you’re back in the room, from whereon time gallops into varying, spectacular juggling acts which involve the zillions of little things that every working mum has the pleasure of performing with on a daily basis.  Reviewing gigs or crafting a poem, falls far behind on the all important Things To Do list.

That’s life I suppose and whilst I pile a few ideas, week by week into the bubbling creative writing cauldron of good intention, in the hope that I may have a new poem ready for National Poetry Day on 8th October,  I thought I’d do the easy thing and share a few photos of some of the gigs I’ve been along to.

So, wave cheerily at time, as it passes you by every day – live in the moment, have a little song, have a little dance, love a lot and don’t put too much on the Things To Do list!

black spiders MK

Black Spiders at The Crauford Arms, Milton Keynes at the end of May 2015

This stoner rock band play hard but they just seemed so physically tired that night.  I wanted to go give them all a hug and a nice cup of tea at the end of the set.  I did give them a copy of my poetry pamphlet “The Will To Gig” though, in the hope that it’s title would cement their faith in what they do.  Not sure if it’s still on the Black Spider coffee table.

 If not, #FUBS #ETSL

(F**K You Black Spiders / Eat Thunder Shit Lightening) – (Their words not mine)

darkness dingwallsJustin at Dingwalls

The Darkness at Dingwalls, Camden, June 2015

What an amazing treat this was.  Launching the new album “Last of Our Kind”, The Darkness, complete with new drummer Rufus Taylor, son of Queen’s Roger Taylor, played a truly intimate gig in the low ceilinged sweat box by the canal at Camden Lock.  Determined to get a better view, my gig buddy and I slunk into the shadows by the side of the stage, hence the dominating presence of the guitar tech in both photos.  We really shouldn’t have been standing there at all and security didn’t make any attempt to move us along until, glammed up and gorgeous though we were, it became obvious that we were nothing whatsoever to do with the special guests in whose “zone” we had ambushed.  But Roger didn’t seem to have noticed us particularly despite us standing right behind him as he scrutinized every beat his drummer son played – yes, picture proof  below of the ledge that is Roger Taylor!!


Next up was:

frank carter

Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes, The Horn, St Albans – June 2015

I was a bit scared of Frank Carter when I first saw him sing with punk rock band Gallows at Download Festival a few years back.  He was a menacing little wiry young man, a bundle of taught aggression and as nimble as a feather weight boxer.  Then he left Gallows and formed Pure Love which saw him conquer a more pop rock sound and admit that “I’m so sick of singing about hate” on the song Bury My Bones.

Pure Love dissolved and now Frank is back in punk with Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes and a new album, called Blossom.  They played The Horn, my local music bar and I thought, c’mon Frank, you have got me interested now, scare me some more.  So, I bought my ticket and witnessed the best gig I have been to of the year so far.

With his mum sitting at the back of the venue overlooking a sea of sweaty heads, Frank played with passion and displayed fire and menace mixed with deepest sincerity and compassion.  On the shoulders of the punters he spider man scuttled across the low ceiling to the bar where I was standing and stood above me, tears pouring from his eyes as he sang about his losses and loves – and blimey, hasn’t he got little feet!

Love you Frank.  You still scare me but I would ask you round for tea and cake any day.  Oh, and bring your mum.

John Cooper Clarke

Dr John Cooper Clarke, The Alban Arena, June 2015

Ok, so I have to admit I have never seen John Cooper Clarke, ageing punk poet extraordinaire.  The audience was a modest size, I was expecting more, but the die-hard fans who had come proved themselves, knowing nearly every word to most of his poems.

I loved the way he took the piss out of himself constantly, the skinniest man I have seen for a long time in this world of fat fighting hugeness, calling himself a “fat fuck” constantly.  He also promoted the possibility of him being on the verge of senility, forgetting his stage times, getting a little flustered occasionally and then admitting to the audience that there were three good things about dementia:

1. You can hide your own Easter eggs.

2.  (sorry, I can’t remember what number two was – looks like I’ve gone that way already!)

 3.  You can hide your own Easter Eggs



The Foo Fighters, Milton Keynes Bowl, September 2015

Well, I decided to stand a little way back this time as I had bagged a comfy spot on elevated ground in bright golden rays.  In hindsight though, I would have gone right into the crowd for some body heat as elevated means flippin’ freezing on an Autumnal evening when the sun has gone down.  Now known as the Break A Leg Tour, Dave Grohl performed the entire set from his bespoke designed mobility scooter. I can only think that it must be the most frustrating way to perform a heavy rock show – on your bottom.  It was a stunning show with support from Brighton duo Royal Blood who played many of the songs from their debut self titled album, and from Iggy Pop, who, at the same age as my own father, skipped continuously about the stage, long blonde hair flowing out behind him, leathery torso as lean as ever – he never changes.  Now I wanna be your dog.  Go Iggy!  Don’t stop!

Friday Night

Despite all the ups and downs The Darkness have encountered in their mission to conquer the universe, they still rock out and have monumentally startling stage presence.


Well they provided me with enough tongue in cheek to add a little comedy to my book.  This song catapulted the moment when two of my characters got together after years apart.  Have a great Friday Night everyone!

The Darkness, Hammersmith Apollo, 7th March 2013


It has been nineteen months since The Darkness staged their comeback and played a Download warm up gig at Shepherds Bush Empire which showcased hints of promising new material.  That was a humbling, stripped back to basics experience, which experimented with the unconditional love they hoped for from their starved loyal fan-base.  Perfecting the new album seemed to drag for a while, but with “Hot Cakes” finally on our plates, the sweet smell of triumph has put the “D” back in “Arkness”.

The Ginger Wildheart Band was up first and despite the heavy sounds and nifty guitar licks, the audience, bar a few, were not exactly getting warmed up. Repeatedly in the music news for campaigning to revolutionize the music business by financing a triple album project via Pledge Music, Ginger was the charismatic frontman with his slicked quiff and connected with his audience.  He and his friends commanded the stage well and their performance was mesmerising.  Perhaps this was why there was so little movement in the crowd.  Personally, I was struck by Ginger’s blonde vocalist by his side, a flipperty jibbet of a woman with a heaving bosom; dancing about as if she was twelve.  Maybe I wasn’t struck, just embarrassed for her.

Brothers in arms; risen again; hand in hand, The Darkness greeted their audience under a pink and purple halo before “Every Inch of You” exploded, confirming that this gig was going to be loud and ballsy.    Granting himself a one costume only allowance, Justin Hawkins was a confectioner’s dream, looking seductively like a giant humbug in lycra with a plunged neckline straight to the crotch.  Taught and tattooed, he was as ever, the cocky, eccentric rock star with effortless style and the voice of an angel.  With brother Dan (guitar) in his signature Thin Lizzy t-shirt; faithful pup Frankie Poullain  (bass) and Ed (drums), the performance was slick and tireless, only punctuated occasionally by Justin’s dry appreciation of his crowd.  “Thanks for the chanting.  It makes me feel like a million pounds!” he remarked after the band had ripped through “Black Shuck”, “Growing On Me”, “She’s Just A Girl Eddie” , “One Way Ticket” and “Nothin’s Gonna Stop Us”.

The party romped along with the defiant territorial intent of “Get Your Hands Off My Woman” and Justin’s gymnastic display for the evening which included jumping knee splits and a prolonged handstand, legs akimbo, in-front of Ed’s drum kit.

A decadent mix of old and current songs took the audience on The Darkness journey with the ultimate flashback to the most successful of their history, “I Believe in a Thing Called Love”.  This one confirmed that a show doesn’t have to sell out in order to lift the roof off a building!  An eventful encore followed with a lengthy “silent” drum solo from Ed and “Love on the Rocks with No Ice” heralding Justin’s familiar crowd walk, this time, high on his brother’s shoulders, before dismounting to surf the pit.  Tempted to hang on to him for just a little too long, the crowd proceeded to wave him further away from the stage despite his first request to “Take me back now please.”

The last months of international touring has defined the band’s new live stage show and despite the lack of props, costume changes and pure pantomime, it is no less entertaining than when they were first granted permission to land.  In fact, less is more.  The truth is, The Darkness have come back and are obviously here to stay.  Whether you liked them in the first place or not is no matter.  They are as much an English staple as meat and two veg.

Aspects of this review can also be found at http://www.stereoboard.com