The Darkness

The Darkness: live in Chicagolive in Chicago (2004)
Warner Music Group

Reviewer Rating: 3

Contributed by: JiveSideJiveSide
(others by this writer | submit your own)

The Darkness has done quite well over the last year, emerging from obscurity into welcome embraces as (almost) household personalities. Successfully making the moves from English bar band to European headliners to international hit makers with "I Believe in a Thing Called Love" to a sold out headli.

The Darkness has done quite well over the last year, emerging from obscurity into welcome embraces as (almost) household personalities. Successfully making the moves from English bar band to European headliners to international hit makers with "I Believe in a Thing Called Love" to a sold out headlining tour in America, it has been quite the novel success story for a rock and roll band. But the novelty of this success is what The Darkness should be concerned with, for Saturday night at the Vic in Chicago was just one of many cramped theaters the quartet will be performing to over the next couple of months, and judging by Saturday's show, Hawkins and crew may have quite a bit to prove for they are hardly the seasoned veterans one would expect. Playing the entirety of "Permission to Land" (minus "Holding On") and one new tune wonderfully entitled "Up Shit's Creek Without a Paddle", The Darkness came across as a band who plays better on record and is far less to look at then their video would lead one to believe.

Taking to the stage after a limp introduction from one of Chicago's Q101 DJs, a curtain over the stage projects the unmistakable silhouette of singer/guitarist Justin Hawkins as he indulges the crowd with a few poses as the mishmash crowd of the city's white demographic patiently waits to be entertained. The curtain finally drops as prerecorded keyboards fade out, and then! an instrumental warm up begins complete with sound problems and no climax, leaving the crowd still patiently waiting to be entertained. Looking to drive the show in the right lane, "Black Shuck" begins giving a solitary crowd-surfer a thirty-second thrill, but it's not nearly enough to move the crowd, most of whom are present due to "I Believe in a Thing Called Love" while others are present just in case something amazing happens, which is unfortunate for nothing does happen and the hit single comes towards the end of a very long hour of uninspired rock and roll. The Darkness is a unique band that has written an album of well-crafted pop rock with great arrangements showcasing the guitar chops and melodic tastes of the brothers Hawkins all of which supports the incredible voice of lead man Justin, but on stage they came across as unrehearsed and better individual musicians than a good band. Not once was the attention of the crowd ransacked and exploited in the manner it should've been. Extended resolutions at the end of every song hand in hand with Justin's constant six-string noodling in between tunes just about killed whatever energy was present in the thirty-somethings and college kids, and the expectation from the band to sing along is more than the stunted vocal chords of everyone but Hawkins can handle, less interested in singing along than listening for proof that he can sing those high notes, which he can and did as if it was no more difficult than yawning.

Do The Darkness have potential as a band? Yes. Are they ready to be headlining their own American tour? No, and it was disappointing to witness and acknowledge this Saturday night at the Vic theater in Chicago. America has high expectations for who and what Dan, Justin, Ed, and Frankie are, expectations that are lofty and an important factor in the success of The Darkness and I hope for their sake, and ticket holders' sake as well, that they buckle down and deliver the rock show everyone could ever hope for, but as of now I'm not sure if that's possible just yet.


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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Anonymous (October 20, 2004)

The darkness is provably the best Rock band since ACDC. Someone who says that The Darkness are shit doesn't knows anything about music. I have met they face to face and they are great. LIFE FOR THE DARKNESS

Anonymous (June 21, 2004)

man they must be punk cos they've managed to get you people all riled up. that's the funniest part of it all. do you people even know what punk is?
go on i dare you. define punk.

looczar (April 5, 2004)

The Darkness... Ha ha. A guy I work with loves em and I listened to the cd and hell, it is good in a guilty pleasure, I-once-really-dug-hair-metal way.

On another note, I saw The Dragons this past weekend (who the Wildhearts dropped off their tour with to open for the Darkness and make much more money) and they kicked ass as always... If you silly kids haven't seen them live, YOU MUST! But more importantly the band that openned, The Midnight Evils kicked mucho ass! They seriously moved me in spiritual, Church of RocknRoll ways! I guess they lost their lead singer who's on their record for Estrus (who supposedly gave em a little more metal feel...) but they certainly didn't suffer for it. They are fucking badass! For being from Minneapolis, they sound more like a speed-blues, punkabilly-fused, Southern-rawkus! Think Speeddealer/Zeke with more melody and you're in the right vein. The Midnight Evils definitely get my recommendation.

Anonymous (April 4, 2004)

I saw the Wildhearts in San Antonio on March 19th the first day of their tour (before they joined the darkness tour). The place was almost empty but they kicked major ass. I felt sorry for the Turbo ACs that opened for them (it was like seeing a great live band blowing away an ameteur local band). The only thing that sucked about the wildhearts show was that they didn't play any of the really heavy stuff. From what I understand, they've been playing a more mainstream set on the darkness tour. Met the guys, they were all very cool. If you're a wildhearts fan I would NOT mis this tour (after all it IS the wildhearts and you never know when they'll be gone again).

Romeo (April 3, 2004)

that's not really what i'm into... yet... this is a PUNK SITE, should not be on here, what the hell.

jaydebauchery (April 3, 2004)

why doesnt the reviewer talk about the fucking wildhearts?

Anonymous (April 3, 2004)

why the fuck is the darkness on a damn punk site? This reminds me of AP's bullshit......

Anonymous (April 2, 2004)

wow, so much hating. i guess i'll just never understand that. if i don't like something, i just say, "that's not really what i'm into" and then leave it at that.

anyway, i like "permission to land" and i'm going to see them in a little less than 2 weeks. i'm a little worried now that the show won't be as awesome as i thought. :/ ah well, i'm sure i'll enjoy it anyway.

Anonymous (April 2, 2004)


Anonymous (April 1, 2004)

this band is so shit ass anyone who actually thinks this band is good has to be so deaf, cause if they heard the shit they were listening too they would hang themselves

SOYBOMB (April 1, 2004)

I sincerely love "Permission to Land".


Anonymous (April 1, 2004)

no shit they're just a joke, but that doesn't make them good. not every joke is funny

Anonymous (April 1, 2004)

I was at the show in Milwaukee a week ago and have to pipe in here. The whole band, the whole show, everything about this band is A JOKE! That being said, lighten up people! All these "The Darkness will never deliver" and "they have a long way to go for their live shows" comments are driving me nuts! I felt like I was in the middle of the movie "Spinal Tap" at this concert. It was hilarious. Granted they're not the most scripted and cool performers on stage, but that only adds to the hilarity in my opinion. At one point during the concert, Justin - the lead man had a couple stage hands start carrying him through the crowd as he attempted to play a solo. He ended up being dropped several times and struggling to keep playing. It was the funniest thing I've ever seen at a concert. Meanwhile, the other guitarist lit up a cigarette and drank a beer while waiting the 5 or 6 minutes it took for Justin to finally make it back onto the stage. Long story short, all you nay-sayers should just get off your "I know what's cool" high horses and enjoy a good laugh.

Anonymous (April 1, 2004)

1-2-3-4! Listen up now here we go!

Papipapiya Papipapipapiyayo! Yum yum yum yum chacabacayo!

Papipapiya Papipapipapiyayo! Yum yum yum yum chacabacayo!



Anonymous (April 1, 2004)

It's not a gimick, they just suck. Really hard. They've been at it for years and it never gets any better. I've seen them in a tiny little club and at a festival and they have always sucked.
I tried, they failed.

Anonymous (April 1, 2004)

joke bands are cool for laughs, but this band still sucks

Anonymous (April 1, 2004)

These guys aren't musical geniuses(sic?) and are a fucking joke band, but i actually like the record a whole lot, but then again, i also like to ocassionally rock queen, so its kinda the same thing. its just fun, thats all, bitch about all that shit thats taking itself seriously and totally sucks balls, not some joke band. and if you're one of those "joke bands offend me as a true purveyor of music" assholes, lighten up dick, just change the fucking channel.

Anonymous (April 1, 2004)

it's not irony it's just bullshit

Anonymous (March 31, 2004)

good review man. way to STEP UP.

Anonymous (March 31, 2004)

i think the whole "irony" thing only gets you so far, and all the darkness is is a band with a gimmick.

Anonymous (March 31, 2004)

i saw them in milwaukee because at the time chicago was sold out and milwaukee wasn't. anyway, it was ok. nothing spectacular, but enteraining nonetheless. however, the eagles club sucks ass as a venue. worst sound EVER. at any rate, muse is a better band from the UK. their third album just got released in america and no one's heard of them. please listen to them.


darkstarm (March 31, 2004)

get your hands off of my woman, motha-fucka.....

yeah other than that one line this band sucks. ok record though. from the pictures in the CD it would seem like they are the greatest shit ever live.

Anonymous (March 31, 2004)

is this band serious, aparently someone forgot to tell me that they're not a joke band. these guys are suck douches and there music is the toilet bowl you douche over.

Anonymous (March 31, 2004)

i'm sorry, but andrew WK sucks as much as the fucking darkness...that fuckin asshole doesn't even write his own songs. and he's gay.

Anonymous (March 31, 2004)

I agree with a few posts below; this band is not to be taken seriously. Queen DID THIS TO PERFECTION, and this band is just copying their formula and throwing in some 80s hair metal. Whoop de shit. Don't forget that, no matter how cool it might be to like them.

To recap: Queen > Andrew W.K. >>>> The Darkness

Anonymous (March 31, 2004)

horrible horrible stuff

Anonymous (March 31, 2004)

''This is gay music.''

-Burt Reynolds

Anonymous (March 31, 2004)

It's been said here on tv that before their Montréal show, the lead singer have gotten himself a ''Prince-Albert'' type of piercing piercing.

nothing to do with the article but still I hate this band.

Anonymous (March 31, 2004)

Not everyone from The Uk likes this band. A lot of us can't stand them - I take Busted more seriously than this band.

And to repeat below Andrew Wk > The Darkness

Anonymous (March 31, 2004)

it sucks when people bitch about them not being punk and why they are on the site, when half the bands i read about on here are not punk in the least. emo, hardcore, what have you, it's not punk.

Anonymous (March 31, 2004)

wait...some poeple actually buy their records ?

Anonymous (March 31, 2004)

"everyone from the UK defends them like The Darkness are their own children or something."

Everyone I know fucking hated them since they were a cult thing...

The Darkness were never funny, and they never rocked. End this now.

Anonymous (March 31, 2004)

I went to this and must say The Vic is the worst venue I've ever been to. You can't see shit unless you are in the front of whatever section you're in. 6.00 bucks for a beer served in a plastic cup. And all the bouncers and bartenders are angry dickheads. FUCK THE VIC!!!

Anonymous (March 31, 2004)

score is for the cleveland show

Anonymous (March 31, 2004)

Maybe once the joke's over they'll turn emo and release somethign "edgy" next year.

Perhaps a untitled album, but the first single will still sound like their old songs and have a video in the prison yard.

Anonymous (March 31, 2004)

If the Darkness are such a joke then why do continue to do reviews on completely stupid fucking bands such as NOFX,Vandals,Guttermouth(yawn!),Goldfinger,Me First,Pennywise,etc,etc....

Anonymous (March 30, 2004)

Great review. According to the NME The Darkness wanted 1 million pounds to play the Glastonbury festival this year (they played last year for just 75).

As for the Wildhearts, Earth Vs. The Wildhearts is one of the greatest rock records you'll ever hear. Their other stuff leaves a lot to be desired though, especially the new album.

Jon_the_Skafather (March 30, 2004)

okay, i'll say it again. THIS DOES NOT BELONG ON THIS SITE.

i like the band but it just doesn't belong here. it's basically a rip of arena rock, ac/dc, and queen. no punk in it at all or any inkling of any fucking punk influence or attitude. shove your "stop being an elitist" attitude up your ass; this doesn't belong here. that simple.

and on that note: the darkness rock.

Anonymous (March 30, 2004)

well that reveiw is somewhat upsetting considering im seeing the darkness in a few weeks. one thing that i was scared of was that there would be a lot of people there just to hear one song which is a horrible thing about people. perhaps the Black Dahlia Murder/As I Lay Dying show im seeing the night before the darkness will be better.

Anonymous (March 30, 2004)

I don't understand this poster decrying The Darkness as a "the" band as if they have something in common with The Strokes or The Hives or some shit. You can say they suck but is a band not allowed to have "The" in their name anymore?! Christ.

As for the show, I was there and largely agree with the review. I love the album and at least 3 of them are capable musicians (the drummer leaves me wanting more) but live they definetely lacked something. Maybe they weren't serious enough. I was expecting them to be entirely straight faced about the whole deal and they seemed to know that it was all a joke. I guess it just seemed like they weren't entirely geniune, and when you play music like this, you damn sure better come off as genuine.

Whoever mentioned the Wildhearts, I thought they were alright, if nothing special. They had more energy than the Darkness though.

Anonymous (March 30, 2004)

The entire UK is a fucking joke, and so are these clowns. And so are all of you. No retort will ever change that. Die.

Anonymous (March 30, 2004)

hands down, worst band of the year. they're a fricken joke

Anonymous (March 30, 2004)

wow this band is such a joke....and not in a good way

Andrew WK > The Darkness

give it one year and everyone will forget this horrible "the" band

SOYBOMB (March 30, 2004)

I absolutely love "Permission To Land".

I can easily listen to that CD from start to finish (minus Friday Night) and enjoy myself.


Anonymous (March 30, 2004)

Horrible... Anyone who pays this much to see a joke band should be shot.


skajester (March 30, 2004)

What about the fucking Wildhearts?

Anonymous (March 30, 2004)

This band is not punk, why is it on this site?

TheNightProwler (March 30, 2004)

Yeah it's funny; I also tried to listen to The Darkness with an open mind but didn't hear anything special about them.

But that's just my opinion, if you like this band then good for you, I could care less. I'm just sick at how over hyped this band got.

Anonymous (March 30, 2004)

i tried as hard as i possibly could to listen to their record with an open mind, and yet, it is still absolutley terrible, there's nothing to "get" with this shit....

if they didn't have a "the" name, they wouldn't have even gotten a record contract

Crookedsuperhero (March 30, 2004)

The darkness are getting old pretty fast in the UK, and they will everywhere else as well, just like all the other 'funny' bands

Conduit (March 30, 2004)

Your statement that American's don't like them is kind of stupid, considering how many records they have sold over here.

This band fucking sucks. I would rather them stick on a classic Queen cd over the house speakers and play that for an hour.

Anonymous (March 30, 2004)

I think that some American's do "get" this band (myself included). But just because a band is semi-satirical/tongue-in-cheek doesn't make them brilliant, or even good for that matter. I own their album and it's enjoyable in a guilty pleasure sort of way. But for my money I'd rather listen to Tenacious D, they're funnier and their songs are catchier. To seriously idolize a band like the darkness (which it seems the UK has done) is kinda ridiculous. To laugh along and enjoy the ride, makes more sense. That whole country just needs something fun to kill the taste of weepy boring crap bands like the smiths and the cure.

Anonymous (March 30, 2004)

Everyone needs to not bitch about what kinda music goes on this site. This site's hardly ever been about just "punk" so qut bitching about bands that don't really belong on here. Pretty muche very new popular genre of music came from the punk rock so what do you expect? Hardcore, false-emo, etc.

And this band sucks ass by the way.

AIM: returntoxsenderx

Anonymous (March 30, 2004)

fuck this band.

-Charlie Murphy

Anonymous (March 30, 2004)

I think you Americans just don't get them. I've seen them twice, and they are brilliant live, and i've never really heard otherwise, even people who don't really like them tend to admit they are good live!

lieutenant (March 30, 2004)

I've gotta agree with a poster below. Without getting into the childish politics of what belongs on this site, but I will admit that, despite being a great fan of this album, it's placement on this site is as random as coverage for the Barenaked Ladies would be.

Not that I am complaining, I have no qualms with reading about the Darkness instead of the next metalcore sensations from Ferret.

Anonymous (March 30, 2004)

The Darkness rules!!
Punk is DEAD and just take a friggin look at these so called punk bands of today with your typical uniform of wife beater shirts,tattoos,skateboards,Warped tour bullshit,stupid and I mean "STUPID" bands.........
I'm sure you all feel the threat of what lies ahead.

Anonymous (March 30, 2004)

I found that they kicked ass on the MTV Europe awards. Maybe they need a bigger stage to move about on.

Anonymous (March 30, 2004)

The Darkness just don't seem like they'll last. It's strange too because they're gaining such a huge fanbase everywhere and everyone from the UK defends them like The Darkness are their own children or something.

I don't like them but I got nothing personal against the people who listen to them; you just got to watch out if you call them over-rated or something like that otherwise some guy from England with bad teeth will start calling you a wanker!

Anonymous (March 30, 2004)

America has high expectations that they are killed by a freak wardrobe malfunction, and take the "next Kurt Cobain" of the Vines with them.

Anonymous (March 30, 2004)

I'm pretty sure that within 3 or 4 years, The Darkness fan base will shrink to almost 0.

Oh and before posting a comment, please keep your highfalutin "that's not punk" comments for you, thanks

threechordsandthetruth (March 30, 2004)

Good review.
I can't see these guys releasing a second album that'll sell as well as their current record. I'm not a fan (far from it) and I feel sorry for bands like these who get overhyped and overplayed on their first record.. it's better to end up like that four albums in.

devildog1507 (March 30, 2004)

why dont you review queen and poison records here

sonicice (March 30, 2004)

I saw The Darkness last night in Detroit... and this review sums up my feelings exactly. The Darkness put out a great record, but their live show definitely leaves a lot to be desired.

Anonymous (March 30, 2004)

this band is ALL HYPE. in 5 years they will be looked back as one hit wonders

Jon_the_Skafather (March 30, 2004)

okay....i like this band....but it seriously doesn't belong here. at all.

Anonymous (March 30, 2004)

I read a review of this in the Tribune and it said that the Vines sucked ASS. That must have been entertaining.

Anonymous (March 30, 2004)

i believe in a thing called love is the best kareoke song ever...after boheimian rhapsody that is....

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