The Darkness are currently in Australia celebrating the 20th anniversary of their iconic album ‘Permission to Land’, with the Let There Be Rock tour. The band’s classic debut album delivered iconic songs such as ‘I Believe in A Thing Called Love’ and ‘Love Is Only A Feelin’.
Formed in 2000, the Darkness is fronted by the charismatic Justin Hawkins, whose unmistakable falsetto and vibrant stage presence have become synonymous with the band’s identity. Justin is also a virtuoso on the guitar. Alongside him is his brother, Dan Hawkins, who plays rhythm guitar and provides backing vocals. On bass guitar is Frankie Poullain, who brings a groovy undercurrent to the band’s high-octane rock anthems. Ironically, just like Spinal Tap, the Darkness have had a succession of drummers, tonight the drummer’s seat is occupied by Rufus Tiger Taylor who is the son of Queen drummer, Roger Taylor.
Pop superstar, Pink is playing at the football stadium next to the Hordern Pavilion tonight. The crowd waiting for the Darkness are decked out in Lemmy shirts, the Pink concert looks like a pastel parade, with an army of mini pop princesses in pink tutus, their mothers beside them, creating a completely different vibe. It’s as if two completely different worlds are colliding, with only a parking lot to separate the disciples of rock from the aficionados of pop’s sugary sweetness.
The Darknesss support acts are Cry Club, DZ Deathrays and You Am I performing their Spinal Tap tribute show, The Majesty of Tap. DZ Deathrays take the stage with Pink’s ‘Get this party started’ blasting from the speakers. Someone in the crowd shouts, “Where’s Pink?”.
Imagine if a 70s glam rock spaceship crashed into a costume shop; that’s pretty much the You Am I aesthetic tonight. Rogers (dressed in red cape) and his band channel the mythical Spinal Tap, playing the hits including ‘Tonight I’m Gonna Rock You Tonight’, ‘Rock and Roll Creation’, ‘Sex Farm’, ‘Hell Hole’ and ‘Stonehenge.’ Some in the crowd don’t know what to make of it. Rogers shoots back at a heckler with a razor-sharp retort, “If your cock’s as big as your mouth, buddy, I can’t wait to meet you,” leaving the audience roaring with laughter and the heckler decidedly less vocal. The pièce de résistance is when a miniature Stonehenge is lowered from the ceiling.
The audience erupts when Dan Hawkins (wearing a T shirt and leather jacket and looking like he strolled out of a a Ramones photo shoot,) Poullain (in a loud, glittery suit) and Taylor stride on stage and start belting out ‘Black Shuck.’ Justin Hawkins, resplendent in a skin-tight red and black leather one-piece suit is a whirlwind of high notes and high kicks. At one stage, he does a head stand on the drum riser. Channeling Freddie Mercury, Hawkins leads the crowd in some vocal gymnastics and it seems fitting that Rufus Taylor is on drums tonight.
Hawkins, with his electrifying energy and unparalleled vocal range, doesn’t just entertain but captivates, leaving the audience spellbound in a spectacle of rock ‘n’ roll wizardry.
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