The Darkness and Massive Wagons: Brighton Dome 17 November 2021
The Darkness were back in Brighton at The Dome! And boy did they deliver and give us one helluva show with the Massive Wagons as support.
The Darkness are a British rock band formed in Lowestoft, England, 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 came to prominence with the release of their debut album, Permission to Land, in 2003. Backed by the singles “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 1, “Christmas Time (Don’t Let the Bells End)”, which only just fell short, both singles reaching number 2 in 2003.
The boys were back!
December 2019 was the last time they visited Brighton, playing again at The 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 out 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 opening music was ABBAs 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.
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 through the set. Hawkins and his brother Dan team up wonderfully and 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 cat suit. He had told us earlier in the set that the red leather strides he started the evening with were a tad uncomfortable.
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.
Growing On Me, new song Eastbound and Open Fire were up next. This unstoppable rock and rollercoaster 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?
This masterclass was giving us incredible performance from this tight and highly professional band. They looked really comfortable up there on their stage. Its Love Jim from that aforementioned new album. It was quickly followed by the huge song Black Shuck from the first album. Another new track was up The Power And The Glory Of Love was fired into us. Build a catchy tune on a guitar, turn Frankies 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 albums 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 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, Justin now attired in an open chested seasonal red cat suit 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!
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Don’t let the bells end…
Now given the time of year, well its 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 emptied out into the Brighton chilly night. Safe to say nobody was going home disappointed.
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.
The Darkness are on the internet here
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.
Members: Barry ‘Baz’ Mills; Adam Thistlethwaite; Stevie Holl; Adam ‘Bowz’ Bouskill; Alex ‘Roy’ Thistlethwait
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 the 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.
Never standing still Baz whirls his mike-stand as the band ducked or ran for cover! He spins and leaps and even hits out with a high kick as he delivers those blistering vocals. He is lethal with that mic stand! China Plates smashes into the crowd. Baz asks “Brighton are you having fun?” frequently and before launching into the next song, Pressure.
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Massive Wagons bowed out just as they had begun some 30 minutes previously with a melter, Back To The Stack. The set flew by and 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.
Massive Wagons are on the internet here
Thanks to the bands, The Darkness and Massive Wagons for a wonderful rockin night out and for letting me capture some action. Also to the crew at the Brighton Dome. Its been a while since I have had the chance to drop back in, but these guys are so friendly and will always be happy to help. Thanks to Brighton and Hove News music team.
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