Review and photos—The Darkness at the Vogue, Vancouver, April 4 2018
– review and photos by Kelli Anne
On Wednesday night, Brit-rockers The Darkness took over the Vogue Theatre in Vancouver BC, on the North American leg of their Tour de Prance. Formed in 2000 out of Suffolk, this quad is made up of Justin Hawkins (vocals/guitar), Dan Hawkins (guitar), Frankie Poullain (bass), and Rufus Tiger Taylor (drums).
The band took to stage just after 9 to a packed theatre full of fans ready to party. Justin, known for his outrageous, ’70s-esque outfits, did not disappoint with his cheetah print jumpsuit complete with matching cape (although this was quickly shed). After enjoying the crowd’s cheers for a moment, the band got the night started with “Open Fire” and “Love is Only A Feeling”. I’d never had the pleasure of seeing The Darkness live, so I was beyond happy to discover they are just as wild and fun on stage as they were back in the 2003 video for “I Believe in a Thing Called Love”.
After their third song, “Southern Trains”, Justin did something I had never seen before. He asked us photographers to stay in the pit for an extra song in order to shoot what was possibly one of their most energetic tunes, “Black Shuck”. If I hadn’t already decided that this was one of the best shows I had ever attended, I was definitely well on the way.
It just kept getting better. A few songs later, Justin noticed a fan waving around one of their records and stopped the show in order to reach down to sign it, rather elaborately I must add. What band does that?! Amazing. Soon after, they played their newest single “All The Pretty Girls“ off of their most recent album Pinewood Smile (Oct 2017).
Most shows usually have a mix of fast-paced and slower songs. This show was not most shows. There was approximately one minute of what I thought would be a slow song during the intro to “Every Inch Of You”, and then it was right back into the high energy fun. Justin had decided he was a bit chilly after stripping off the top half of his jumpsuit. He asked the crowd if anyone could spare their sweater for him to wear. Vancouver more than delivered, with him receiving a sparkly women’s t-shirt, grey hoodie, and a grey (possibly Bluejays) cap. He proceeded to wear all three for the rest of the show.
The encore of this show was a very, shall we say, unique experience. Originally scheduled to be just two songs, it was pushed to three after the constant insistence from a fan who introduced himself as Joey to play “Love On The Rocks With No Ice” earlier. Justin ended up with Joey’s denim jacket… and his phone. Then, during an epic guitar solo, Justin rode the guitar tech’s shoulders through the centre of the crowd and back to the stage.
Capping off the show, The Darkness played the hit that started this entire journey, “I Believe In A Thing Called Love”. Just hearing the opening chords sent the crowd, and myself, into one final frenzy. This show was genuinely one of the most entertaining shows I have ever seen. Full of amazing outfits, audience interaction, and incredible musical and vocal talent, if you ever have the chance to see these four live, DO IT.