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The Darkness - Dingwalls, London - June 3 2015 (Live Review)

Friday, 05 June 2015 Written by Alec Chillingworth

Alongside 'American Idiot', 'By The Way' and a Keane album nobody really remembers buying, The Darkness' debut, 'Permission To Land', was a household necessity a decade ago. Dirty casuals have since dropped from the bandwagon, crushed under its mighty wheels, as the band stalled and started rolling all over again. The Darkness have just unleashed their fourth album, 'Last Of Our Kind', and it's fucking great.

The record's only been out for three days but the capacity crowd packed into Dingwalls belts out the grandiose, expertly over-the-top wail of Barbarian, forever trying but ultimately failing to match Justin Hawkins' dizzying high notes. Mudslide and lead single Open Fire then showcase his versatility as a vocalist, the former boasting a brilliant spoken word slur and the latter a low, sleazy glam rock energy.

Hawkins is devoid of facial fluff and struts about like a cockerel stuffed into spandex. His brother, Dan, bashes out the burly riffs to Black Shuck, repping the usual Thin Lizzy t-shirt and headbanging like a pro. Frankie Poullain locks his bass around One Way Ticket's grooves, bashing a cowbell and continuing to pull off the ‘70s porn star style.

New drummer Rufus Taylor – son of Queen drummer Roger – fills the boots of Ed Graham with a natural air of trepidation. Of course he does. Who could go on stage, pound away to I Believe In A Thing Called Love and not feel a tiny bit of poo clawing its way out?

In the event, Taylor does a sterling job, occasionally looking to his band-mates for reassurance. Justin still sings the line “I'm in a band with my brother and my two best mates,” through Every Inch Of You, and, judging by tonight's chemistry, it may still ring true.

A piano makes its way on stage – Poullain's idea, allegedly – and we're treated to English Country Garden. Dan rips through the solo as Justin bashes away at the keys, reminding all in attendance that the Gallaghers haven't got shit on these two.

Love On The Rocks With No Ice closes the evening - “This is the last song, but don't worry. It'll go on for fucking ages.” – and Justin literally hangs from the rafters, piggybacks through the crowd and high fives a dude mid-solo, all in the name of rock 'n' roll. No straight-up rock band does riffs this dirty, choruses this massive and shows this ridiculously flamboyant. Excuse the faint whiff of cheese and the sound of someone retching in the background, but The Darkness truly are the last of their kind.

The Darkness Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Mon November 30 2015 - NORWICH Open
Tue December 01 2015 - CAMBRIDGE Corn Exchange
Wed December 02 2015 - NOTTINGHAM Rock City
Fri December 04 2015 - NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE O2 Academy Newcastle
Sat December 05 2015 - GLASGOW O2 Academy Glasgow
Wed December 09 2015 - LEEDS O2 Academy Leeds
Thu December 10 2015 - MANCHESTER Academy
Fri December 11 2015 - BIRMINGHAM O2 Academy Birmingham
Sun December 13 2015 - BRISTOL O2 Academy Bristol
Mon December 14 2015 - SOUTHAMPTON O2 Guildhall
Tue December 15 2015 - BEXHILL ON SEA De La Warr Pavillion
Thu December 17 2015 - BOURNEMOUTH O2 Academy Bournemouth
Sat December 19 2015 - OXFORD O2 Academy Oxford
Sun December 20 2015 - LONDON Roundhouse

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