LIVE REVIEW + PHOTOS: The Darkness in Boston, MA (10.17.23)
Boston’s Big Night Live was set ablaze when the legendary rock band, The Darkness, took the stage with their unapologetically flamboyant and high-energy performance. This was my 6th time seeing them, and they are consistently one of my favorite live acts to see out there. With a setlist that spanned their chart-topping hits and a few unexpected gems, The Darkness delivered an exhilarating night of good ol’ fashioned rock ‘n’ roll. This is their 20th anniversary tour supporting their album “Permission to Land”, which featured their single “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” that catapulted them to stardom, hitting #2 on the UK Singles Chart and #6 on the American Billboard 200 chart.
Kicking off the night, The Darkness launched into thunderous “Black Shuck,” wasting no time in setting the crowd’s energy levels through the roof. The crowd was certainly picking up energy as front man, Justin Hawkins, strutted across the stage, (sporting his signature catsuit) his voice was as powerful and electrifying as ever. Playing the first three songs from their album in order, “Get Your Hands Off My Woman” followed, with Hawkins’ vocal range always reaching astonishing heights. The band effortlessly transitioned into “Growing on Me,” a song that resonated deeply with the devoted fans in the audience. “The Best of Me” continued the onslaught of hits, proving that The Darkness had no intention of slowing down.
The setlist was a rollercoaster of nostalgia and modern rock anthems. “Makin’ Out” and “Givin’ Up” had the crowd singing along, while “Love Is Only a Feeling” brought a more melodic and heartfelt moment to the show. “Curse of the Tollund Man” showcased The Darkness’s ability to explore complex themes within their music, adding depth to the performance. “Street Spirit (Fade Out),” a Radiohead cover, was a testament to The Darkness’s ability to make any song uniquely their own. The haunting melody merged seamlessly with their signature rock sound, earning a rapturous applause from the crowd. Hawkins and company pulled out all the stops, culminating in an always killer performance of “I Believe in a Thing Called Love.” Before they launched into their hit, lead singer Justin Hawkins made a plea to the crowd to put away their phones and just enjoy the moment; to jump around and let the music make the floor pound and move. The entire room was a sea of raised hands and ecstatic voices singing in unison. It was a moment of pure rock euphoria.
The encore was a bit of a different flavor for them. The band returned to the stage all relaxed wearing different forms of silk PJs and robes. Even their bassist Frankie had some fun sporting short shirts and showing some leg, which was certainly good for a few laughs. After some fun banter with the crowd, they launched into “I Love You 5 Times,” a crowd-pleaser that got everyone dancing and boogying. I felt they really let loose with this one too, including some fun improvising and jamming. Drummer Rufus Taylor (son of legendary Queen drummer Roger Taylor) got in on the fun, swapping places with Frankie. This was also the lead singer’s moment to ride one of the security personnel’s shoulders to take a spin around the crowd as he has been known to do in basically every show I’ve seen from them. The night ended on a high note with “Love on the Rocks with No Ice,” a thunderous performance that left the audience with an insatiable thirst for more. Throughout the show, The Darkness exuded a magnetic stage presence, and their passion for their craft was palpable. Justin Hawkins was a charismatic force of nature, and the entire band radiated a love for performing that was truly contagious.
The Darkness’ performance at Big Night Live in Boston was an electrifying journey through their discography, packed with anthems, surprises, and an undeniable sense of showmanship. The band’s ability to seamlessly blend rock, humor, and theatricality made for an unforgettable night of entertainment. Their masterful musicianship, combined with their over-the-top showmanship, made it clear why they remain an iconic rock act. With a setlist that celebrated their classics and showcased their versatile sound, The Darkness left Boston craving more of their extraordinary rock ‘n’ roll experience.
Photos – The Darkness at Big Night Live in Boston, MA on October 17th: