The Darkness made an overdue appearance at the historic Belasco Theater on Tuesday April 12th in Los Angeles, California on their Back to the USSA tour, in support of their fourth album release `Last of Our Kind.’
Opening the night was the English rock trio RavenEye, fronted by Oli Brown on vocals and guitar, who has made a name for himself touring for ten years and releasing four albums under his name, while establishing himself as one of the most formidable frontman/guitarist in the UK scene.
Rounding out the trio is Aaron Spiers on bass and Kev Hickman on drums in support of their latest EP release `Breaking Out.’ RavenEye has been on tour supporting Slash, Deep Purple and Joe Satriani since the band’s inception in 2014. Their energetic forty-five-minute set had the fans warmed up for The Darkness.
As the stage was being turned over the crowd began to grow to capacity. As the lights dim each member appears onstage it brought a smile to my face with their seventies disco era attire. Frontman Justin Hawkins swaggers out wearing a silky light blue suit and red shirt, bassist Frankie Poullain in brownish tan pants, paisley shirt, big rim glasses and fro. If that doesn’t take you back in time…
Opening the set with “Barbarian” from`Last of Our Kind’ following with “Growing On Me” from their 2003 release `Permission to Land’ and “Mudslide,” Hawkins gives the photographers a big hand and states while kneeling “make me look good.”
Brother Dan Hawkins is tearing it up on his Gibson Les Paul, and Rufus Taylor on drums, playing songs old and new. The main focus is on Justin with his high energy and powerful vocals, a great guitarist in his own right, a contortionist at times playing his white Les Paul behind his right hip.
Hawkins is always engaging the audience, such as during an entertain midway act where he tried on different hats thrown onstage by the fans. Hawkins tries on a headband stating “This one won’t fit, I have an unusually large head filled with thoughts and emotions.” The fans eat it up, as Hawkins sits down to show his skills on the keyboard for “Friday Night” from `Permission to Land’ and “English Country Garden” from `One Way Ticket to Hell.. and Back’ with the fans singing every word.
Hawkins didn’t stop there, they were plenty of under arm farts, he tossed, batted, punted picks to the fans, even getting a pick to Foo Fighters’ Taylor Hawkins who was seen enjoying the show. The Darkness returned to the stage to perform “Love On the Rocks With No Ice” from `Permission to Land’ for an encore. Hawkins wearing a Darkness T-shirt rode on the shoulders of a tech, AC/DC‘s Angus Young style playing a killer guitar solo through the audience.
Hawkins returning to the stage takes off the shirt, did a crotch smear and tossed it to the fans, only to be in his underwear, which really was white tennis shorts. Hawkins ties a fan’s scarf around his neck, swaggers and dances to the end of the stage, places his Les Paul between his legs and rides it across the stage like a bike. The Darkness fans singing, waving arms, jumping up and down, doing whatever they could to get a set list, good time had by all.
The Darkness 4.12.16 Setlist Los Angeles, CA Belasco Theater
Growing On Me
One Way Ticket
Love Is Only a Feeling
English Country Garden
Every Inch of You
Get Your Hands Off My Woman
Stuck in a Rut
I Believe in a Thing Called Love
Love On The Rocks With No Ice