The Darkness open up tour with Brighton gig

The Darkness live at Brighton Dome 17.11.21 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus) (click pic to enlarge)

THE DARKNESS + MASSIVE WAGONS – BRIGHTON DOME 17.11.21

The Darkness are always a photogenic band and one that is a dream to photograph. Rather than not publishing many terrific pictures, we hit on the idea of writing the concert review from two different standpoints. Thus we first have the words of Robert Sutton with photos from Cris Watkins and secondly we have the words and photos from Ian Bourn…..Enjoy…….

The Darkness fans at Brighton Dome 17.11.21 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus) (click pic to enlarge)

(Here’s Robert Sutton’s review)
The twenty-two date UK tour from The Darkness kicked off at Brighton Dome on the 17th of November. It is a tour in support of their new seventh studio album ‘Motorheart’ and the tour concludes in a months’ time with two London shows at the O2 Shepherd Bush Empire on the 16th and 17th December.

Support for the shows was supposed to be British Lion but they unfortunately had to pull out from the tour but were replaced by Massive Wagons.

Massive Wagons live at Brighton Dome 17.11.21 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus) (click pic to enlarge)

Massive Wagons are from Lancaster and were formed in 2009 and have five studio albums to their name. Their latest album ‘House Of Noise’ was released in July this year.

Massive Wagons live at Brighton Dome 17.11.21 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus) (click pic to enlarge)

With all the pent up energy from not performing live for the last few years, the band led by ‘Baz’ Mills stormed onto the stage at their allotted start time of 8pm. They kicked off straight away with ‘In It Together’ from the new album.

Massive Wagons live at Brighton Dome 17.11.21 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus) (click pic to enlarge)

Baz’s energy was unrelenting for their entire thirty minute set and certainly got the crowd warmed up, especially with ‘Bangin In Your Stereo’ which they played about half way through their set and got the audience singing along to it.

Massive Wagons live at Brighton Dome 17.11.21 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus) (click pic to enlarge)

Well, I think they did what it said on the brief: Warm up the crowd ready for the headline act ..yep well and truly nailed that one.. Well done lads.

Massive Wagons live at Brighton Dome 17.11.21 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus) (click pic to enlarge)

The band comprises:
Barry ‘Baz’ Mills (vocals)
Adam Thistlethwaite (guitar)
Stevie Holl (guitar)
Adam Bouskill (bass)
Alex Thistlethwaite (drums)

Massive Wagons live at Brighton Dome 17.11.21 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus) (click pic to enlarge)

Massive Wagons setlist:
‘In It Together’
‘China Plates’
‘Pressure’
‘Bangin In Your Stereo’
‘Glorious’
‘Nails’
‘Back To The Stack’

www.massivewagons.com

The Darkness live at Brighton Dome 17.11.21 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus) (click pic to enlarge)

I had last seen The Darkness play live back in December 2019 and this was also at the Dome in Brighton. They were playing as a promotion for their new album ‘Easter Is Cancelled’ at the time. Moving swiftly on nearly two years and the band are back at the Dome playing live in order to promote their new album ‘Motorheart’. Unlike last time where they had a stage full of lights and a fancy church window styled backdrop, this time we had a rather plain looking silver cloth backdrop and one horizontal row of super bright ‘landing’ lights..oh..almost forget to mention they also had the very important glitter ball at the very top of the stage…so was a bit disappointed in the stage look..But hey, their music always makes up for this..

The Darkness live at Brighton Dome 17.11.21 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus) (click pic to enlarge)

At their allotted time of 9pm, the band entered the stage with their customary backing entrance tape playing, but then waited about for the tape to finish before opening their set, of a super eighteen songs, with ‘Welcome Tae Glasgae’ from their new album, which isn’t actually released until two days after this event.

There was a good sized audience in the Dome tonight with the standing area at the front of the stage just about full up.

The Darkness live at Brighton Dome 17.11.21 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus) (click pic to enlarge)

The next two songs are back to the good ol’ crowd pleasers of ‘One Way Ticket’ and ‘Growing On Me’ taken from their second and first albums. (‘One Way Ticket To Hell..and Back’ released in 2005 and ‘Permission To Land’ released in 2003).

The Darkness live at Brighton Dome 17.11.21 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus) (click pic to enlarge)

Justin had now warmed himself up and left the stage to take off his multi coloured shirt and came back onto the stage bare chested to a few wolf whistles from the crowd. However, he was still a bit too hot by the look of it and then proceeded to roll up the legs up of his red leather trousers to just above the knees..(not the sexiest of looks in my mind ..but I guess OK if you happen to be Justin Hawkins…). Once this was done, we were back to the music and the band gave a good performance of a few of the new songs from the latest album, as well as the older crowd pleasers.

The Darkness live at Brighton Dome 17.11.21 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus) (click pic to enlarge)

We had one more costume change for Justin during the main set, with him taking off the red trousers to be replaced with a green sparkly open fronted catsuit.

The Darkness live at Brighton Dome 17.11.21 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus) (click pic to enlarge)

‘Get Your Hands Off My Woman’ concluded their standard set and the band left the stage. It was however quite a time, I thought, before they came back to the stage for their encore, with Justin this time wearing a glittery red catsuit. They played ‘I Believe In A Thing Called Love’ and, of course, concluded the night with Justin wearing a Santa’s hat and singing ‘Christmas Time ( Don’t Let The Bell’s End)’.

The Darkness live at Brighton Dome 17.11.21 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus) (click pic to enlarge)

As always, it was a good performance from the band, but I guess not having played live for nearly two years, it does take a bit of time to get back into the rhythm of performing and for me it just lacked a bit of that extra sparkle that they can give to make it a great performance. (Or perhaps it was just me not being quite into the Christmas spirit when it’s only half way through November??!!)

The Darkness live at Brighton Dome 17.11.21 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus) (click pic to enlarge)

The band comprises:
Justin Hawkins (lead vocals, lead guitar)
Dan Hawkins (rhythm guitar, backing vocals)
Frankie Poullain (bass guitar, backing vocals)
Rufus Tiger Taylor (drums, backing vocals)

The Darkness live at Brighton Dome 17.11.21 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus) (click pic to enlarge)

The Darkness setlist:
‘Welcome Tae Glasgae’
‘One Way Ticket’
‘Growing On Me’
‘Eastbound’
‘Open Fire’
‘Sticky Situation’
‘Givin’ Up’
‘It’s Love, Jim’
‘Black Shuck’
‘Heart Explodes’
‘Friday Night’
‘Love Is Only A Feeling’
‘The Power And The Glory Of Love’
‘Solid Gold’
‘Motorheart’
‘Barbarian’
‘Get Your Hands Off My Woman
(encore)
‘I Believe In A Thing Called Love’
‘Christmas Time ( Don’t Let The Bells End)’

The Darkness live at Brighton Dome 17.11.21 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus) (click pic to enlarge)

‘Motorheart’ is available to order from the band’s Official Store.

www.thedarknesslive.com

(Here’s Ian Bourn’s review)
The Darkness are a British rock band formed in Lowestoft, in 2000. The band consists of Justin Hawkins (lead vocals, lead guitar), his brother Dan Hawkins (rhythm guitar, backing vocals), Frankie Poullain (bass guitar, backing vocals) and Rufus Tiger Taylor (drums, backing vocals).

The Darkness live at Brighton Dome 17.11.21 (pic Ian Bourn) (click pic to enlarge)

The Darkness came to prominence with the release of their debut album, ‘Permission To Land’, in 2003, backed by the single ‘I Believe in a Thing Called Love’. In 2004 the band won three Brit Awards: Best British Group, Best British Rock Act, and Best British Album.

The third single from the album, ‘I Believe in a Thing Called Love’, was a substantial hit in the UK as was their tilt at the Christmas 2003 number one, ‘Christmas Time (Don’t Let the Bells End)’, which only just fell short, both singles reaching number two in 2003.

The Darkness live at Brighton Dome 17.11.21 (pic Ian Bourn) (click pic to enlarge)

December 2019 was the last time they visited Brighton, playing again at Brighton Dome. A mouth watering display of guitar wizardry, eye watering glitter catsuits, and yes, those falsetto screams were waiting for us. The Dome was fairly full up on the standing area. There were a few empty seats up on high, but as The Darkness took to the stage, the Brighton crowd put up a huge welcome for the band.

The Darkness live at Brighton Dome 17.11.21 (pic Ian Bourn) (click pic to enlarge)

The opening music was ABBA’s ‘Arrival’ as the band stepped out. They tore into a new track, minus the bagpipes featured on the new album ‘Welcome Tae Glasgae’ and straight into ‘One Way Ticket’. OK, the scene is set, The Darkness and the crowd were ready for a night of just plain guitar fun and goodness.

The Darkness live at Brighton Dome 17.11.21 (pic Ian Bourn) (click pic to enlarge)

Singer Justin Hawkins is a connoisseur when it comes to rock star moves and we see him return to pulling off those full on rock star moves and poses. Hawkins and his brother Dan team up wonderfully knocking out those almost trademarked hard edged guitar riffs. I think Justin Hawkins is clearly most in his element when he is centre stage in a glittering catsuit. He had told us earlier in the set that the red leather strides he started the evening with were a tad uncomfortable.

The Darkness live at Brighton Dome 17.11.21 (pic Ian Bourn) (click pic to enlarge)

Great to see the guys, Dan bouncing around the stage with his guitar, Frankie always looking kinda cool with his bass and various percussion instruments. And, sat on high, behind the kit was Rufus, almost invisible but he would appear from behind his cymbal array from time to time.

The Darkness live at Brighton Dome 17.11.21 (pic Ian Bourn) (click pic to enlarge)

‘Growing On Me’, new songs ‘Eastbound’ and ‘Open Fire’ were up next. This unstoppable rock and roller coaster of joyous metal sounds just kept speeding along. These guys were not going to stop now!

‘Motorheart’ got a good plug. Justin talked about buying it on cassette and playing it on your Sony Walkman. You could see some of the younger contingent looking puzzled… a what?

The Darkness live at Brighton Dome 17.11.21 (pic Ian Bourn) (click pic to enlarge)

This masterclass was giving us incredible performance from this tight and highly professional band. They looked really comfortable up there on their stage. ‘It’s Love, Jim’ from that aforementioned new album was quickly followed by the huge song ‘Black Shuck’ from the first album. Another new track was up next ‘The Power And The Glory Of Love’ was fired into us. Build a catchy tune on a guitar, turn Frankie’s thumping bassline into a pulsing heartbeat, include drums to hook it all together, drop in a few swear words and you get the fabulous ‘Solid Gold’. That led us into the new album’s title track ‘Motorheart’, what a damn fine song that is! ‘Get Your Hands off My Woman’ was next from the sublime ‘Permission To Land’ album and marked the end of the set.

The Darkness live at Brighton Dome 17.11.21 (pic Ian Bourn) (click pic to enlarge)

The set was coming to its conclusion and, right at the start of the gig, we had been promised a couple of classics to finish off the evening. And so The Darkness reassembled and the monster that is ‘I Believe In A Thing Called Love’ was fired up with 100% gusto and was eagerly devoured by the appreciative audience who are now more than happy to sing along. It was deafening but delicious!

The Darkness live at Brighton Dome 17.11.21 (pic Ian Bourn) (click pic to enlarge)

Now given the time of year, well it’s almost Christmas, I don’t think The Darkness would have got away without piling in with their seasonal song ‘Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End)’, which was the closing number of the night. Happy faces piled out into the Brighton chilly night. Safe to say nobody was going home disappointed.

The Darkness live at Brighton Dome 17.11.21 (pic Ian Bourn) (click pic to enlarge)

Good job The Darkness. Go see these guys if you can, going to see this band live will make you feel good. The Darkness will make you smile. Come back soon.

www.thedarknesslive.com

Massive Wagons live at Brighton Dome 17.11.21 (pic Ian Bourn) (click pic to enlarge)

Massive Wagons are a British rock band from Lancaster founded in 2009. The band are currently signed to Nottingham-based independent record label Earache Records and in 2018 released their fourth studio album ‘Full Nelson’, in doing so securing a Top 20 album in the UK Albums Chart, peaking at number 16.

Massive Wagons live at Brighton Dome 17.11.21 (pic Ian Bourn) (click pic to enlarge)

The band consists of Barry ‘Baz’ Mills (vocals), Adam Thistlethwaite (guitar), Stevie Holl (guitar), Adam Bouskill (bass) and Alex Thistlethwaite (drums).

Massive Wagons live at Brighton Dome 17.11.21 (pic Ian Bourn) (click pic to enlarge)

Massive Wagons set the scene for what was to come. A fine entrée prior to the main course. The guys powered in with ‘In It Together’. The stage seemed a little too small for them as they all bounced around whilst delivering that audio firepower. The firecracker that is enigmatic vocalist Baz Mills can be heard above the delightful howl of guitars.
Adam Thistlethwaite would step into the light from time to time to hammer in some fine riffs from his Gibson Flying V.

Massive Wagons live at Brighton Dome 17.11.21 (pic Ian Bourn) (click pic to enlarge)

Never standing still Baz whirls his mike-stand as the band ran for cover! He spins and leaps and even hits out with a high kick as he delivers those blistering vocals. ‘China Plates’ smashes into the crowd. Baz asks “Brighton are you having fun?” frequently before launching into the next song, ‘Pressure’.

Massive Wagons live at Brighton Dome 17.11.21 (pic Ian Bourn) (click pic to enlarge)

The set flew by and it was good to see these guys had their own fans sporting Massive Wagons T’s. Just hope we get to see these guys down this way again soon.

www.massivewagons.com

Tour flyer

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