Guys, I’m worried I’m going mad. The Darkness graced Chicago with their presence 3 nights ago at Park West, and for very obvious reasons, I can’t stop thinking about that damn show! Unequaled stage presence paired with crushingly heavy songs has made The Darkness one of the best live acts on the road.
Fresh off of October’s release of Pinewood Smile, The Darkness has been touring in support of the album in true Darkness style — with catsuits, wild hair, unrestrained guitar solos, and extreme generosity towards their fans. The guys entered the stage and quickly jumped into one of my favorites off of 2015’s The Last of Our Kind, “Open Fire,” and although about half of the setlist from the night was pulled of their iconic debut album, Permission to Land, we also got to hear some of the new material live for the first time. “Solid Gold” capture’s the band’s sound, which is a nod to classic rock bands like AC/DC, Queen, and Guns n Roses, and is also the perfect example of the band’s jocular self-promotion. Despite their temporary split, The Darkness has proved time and again that they are a force to be reckoned with.
Throughout the set, singer/guitarist Justin Hawkins had fans laughing hysterically. Park West doesn’t have a photo pit like most venues, and without the “moat” to divide the band and the fans, Hawkins was quite literally up in fans’ faces. Swept away by the music and the crowd’s response, Hawkins ended up shoving a front rower’s face into his crotch while singing “Black Shuck.” It was hilarious, the guy felt like he had been blessed by the rock gods, and a laughing Hawkins later apologized saying he may have “misread the signals.” Picks were tossed into the crowd generously, they offered to act as coat check for someone that looked toasty in their jacket, Justin Hawkins shred on his guitar while being paraded around the GA section on someone’s shoulders during the encore, and he eventually stripped down to his skivvies (we were fully dressed). Fans let Justin wear their hats, glasses, and jackets, and one girl was brought up on stage so everyone could see the Bowie-esque “Justin” shirt she was donning.
The current reigning juggernauts of rock and roll, The Darkness, straight up blew our heads off Wednesday night. Their swagger, heavy riffs, hilarious antics, and connection with fans make them among the best in rock and roll.