Review: The Darkness – Kilmarnock Grand Hall 20/11/13

I know The Darkness aren’t exactly metal, but they are awesome on record (with that sentence my readership is halved) and always fun live. They’re currently celebrating the 10th anniversary of their award winning falsetto ridden debut album, Permission To Land. The following is a review from the sunny town of Kilmarnock, Scotland.

They’ve been playing a bit off the beaten path , perhaps to reflect on the smaller venues they played pre-2003 breakthrough, but either way the extra of journey meant there was no time to see the support bands tonight (a trip to the pub may also have been at fault there..).

The band skipped the usual ABBA intro, instead opting for a new song (available to download here). Opening with Making Out was a brave decision as it’s a b-side but it’s also a fantastic decision as it’s a fantastic song.

The first half of the set is made up of second and third album songs along with a healthy mix of b-sides and one new track. B sides like Curse of the Tollund Man are rare treats for the fans, and main album tracks like Is It Just Me and She’s Just A Girl Eddie really get the crowed riled up. The new track, The Horn, was one bitch slap of a culture shock, it’s like they realised the 90s existed. It’s grunge meets 2 Minutes To Midnight.

Justin is still a natural entertainer all these years later. Still adorning the catsuits along with a glorious moustache, his vocals were fairly spot on considering the band had to cancel the previous show to ill health. He takes time out to engage in banter with the killer from I Know What You Did Last Summer who was lurking in the balcony taking pictures before embarking on his customary piggy back solo round the room.

He also achieves what must be the dream of most musicians, a roadie strolls out, sticks a guitar round his neck, he plays a face melter of a solo and the roadie then removes the guitar. The applications for this power in everyday life are limitless.

Ed still looks as deadpan as ever. That’s all I can say. One day he’ll smile and that will clearly trigger on the onset of the apocalypse. His crowning moment of the night occurs when additional drums are ceremoniously brought out for him to complete a 3 second long drum fill during One Way Ticket To Hell. Frankie also got his moment of glory when his cowbell was lowered in majestically at the start of this (stage attire of the night also goes to Frankie, I don’t know what he had on but I’m sure if it was on Channel  5 it would be described as “fabulous”).

The Permission To Land set opened with a monologue over the PA set against the ABBA tune we missed from earlier. Words can’t do it justice but I can only assume it was ripping the utter piss out of the self indulgent intros bands like Metallica have been doing on their anniversary tours recently.

With that they launched into Black Shuck and the crowd came properly alive, the following nine songs are met with equal excitement, hilarious attempted falsetto from the crowd and a general good time atmosphere. It’s also apparent over these songs how many outstanding riffs Dan and his brother have come out with. Dan has definitely broken out in this revival, with less props it’s clear they’re all forced to work that bit harder and it shows.

A final encore of Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End) rounded off the night, and officially marked the beginning of Christmas – fuck you, I know it’s November but the song clearly states it’s Christmas.

It’s only when you hear an album in full that you realise just how good it is and this album is and this was incredible, though I may be biased as it was the album that really started me off down the long hair and riffs road.


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