A Brief back round on The Darkness. Formed in 2000 by brothers Justin and Dan Hawkins, accompanied by friends Frankie Poullain and Ed Graham, The Darkness took an odd rise to fame. Denounced by much of the European press, and record labels as a gimmick, the band began to gain success built on word of mouth around their over the top live performances. Based on the continued local following and the overwhelming success of their self-released “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” E.P. they signed to Atlantic records in 2002.
The release of 2003’s “Permission to Land” saw the group hit its highest point of popularity, selling 5 million copies worldwide, and vaulting the band into a headlining act. After extensive touring in support of their debut album, Poullain left the band in 2005, and was replaced by former guitar technician Richie Edwards. The band’s second studio album, “One Way Ticket to Hell…and Back”, was released in November 2005. The following year, Justin Hawkins departed from the band after successfully completing a course of rehabilitation from alcohol and cocaine problems.
Touring in support of their recently released third album “Hot Cakes”, Tuesday evening saw the return of the original line up to a sold out Club Nokia in Los Angeles Ca. One of only two U.S. tour dates in preparation for a series of festival shows throughout Europe. As the lights dropped the Darkness took to the stage to Thin Lizzy’s “The Boys are back in town” and the screaming of the anticipating sold out crowd. Breaking into “Every Inch of You”, the first single off of “Hot Cakes”, the band showed that the 7 year break between touring was well worth the wait.
Moving quickly between newer selections as well as classic songs from “permission to Land” such as Growing on Me and Get Your Hands Off Of My Woman Mother Fucker, it was no time before the band had the crowd eating out of their hands, dancing and singing along in their own off key falsetto. A big part of The Darkness’ success lies in Hawkins presence as a front man, a role in which he shines. His interaction with individuals in the crowd as well as the room as a whole left no dead space between songs and kept the evening flowing. His real talent however, still lies in his voice. Hawkins showed what amazing range his voice still has, seamlessly balancing gentle songs such as “love is not the answer” with large powerful versions of Radiohead’s “Street Spirit” and “Stuck in a Rut”, all while never missing a star kick.
After a nearly hour and a half set the Darkness left the stage briefly before returning for a 3 song encore which included what is arguably their biggest hit “I believe in a thing called love” as well as Hawkins riding through the crowd on a security guards shoulders while delighting all with one last guitar solo. The chemistry of the 4 members of The Darkness was clear to all involved in the evening. To think their best days are behind them would be foolish as they showed L.A. they are still a force to be reckoned with in rock and roll. It’s like they say…..”Nothings gonna stop us now”