The Darkness glams up South Street - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart
The Darkness | Photo by Tom Beck

The lights go down. The intro music plays. The band makes their way onto the stage wearing their trademark flamboyant clothing. Armed to the teeth with Les Pauls and stacks of Marshalls behind him, lead guitarist Dan Hawkins places his left-hand fingers on the fret board in the necessary position to play the opening riff of “Barbarian,” the band’s lead single from the new album, Last of Our Kind. But instead of the sounds of head-banging, mind-blowingly loud-ass rock and roll blasting through the Marshall cabs, an annoying crackle is emitted — the result of a loose output jack on Dan’s guitar. This was how the concert began.

But don’t worry, it got better. In fact, it got a lot better. The band’s performance may have started with a minor hiccup, but in the end it proved to be inconsequential. In fact, if there’s a phrase to best describe the atmosphere of Friday night’s appearance by The Darkness at the TLA, it’s this: Anything Goes. The concert was anything but typical, as it featured a little girl in a Halloween costume; event security from “Dave from Asbury Park,” and the on-stage appearance of a local Philly artist. But more on that later.

The concert was filled with songs from the band’s legendary first album, Permission to Land, including “Black Shuck,” “Growing on Me,” and of course, “I Believe In A Thing Called Love,” the band’s biggest hit (and unfortunately, the only Darkness song some people know). However, the band played favorites from the latter three albums as well, including “Every Inch of You,” “Mudslide,” and “One Way Ticket.”

A few songs into the set, while lead singer and guitarist Justin Hawkins delivered his classic mid-concert catch phrase “Give me a ‘D’! Give me an ‘Arkness’!” he spotted Eden, a young girl about six years old on the shoulders of her father, who was in full glam-rocker Halloween costume attire. Later in the show, she was brought onstage to sit beside Justin as he played the piano on “Friday Night.”

At the beginning of the encore, Justin complained about the lack of security in the show as a result of a crowd surfing man falling into the pit and, according to Justin, visibly injuring his arm. After politely asking not to be sued and pledging to buy the man a drink if he was still in the building, Justin found “Dave from Asbury Park” and assigned him security duty for the remainder of the night, designating him to the pit. A TLA security guard quickly approached the scene to try and stop things from getting out of hand, but after a short altercation with Justin, went back to the side of the stage as if to say “ah, what the hell.” After all, anything goes at a Darkness concert.

Also at the show was Thom Lessner, a local artist who’s actually good friends of the band. He made the poster for the band’s last show in Philadelphia at The Trocadero. During “Love on the Rocks With No Ice,” the last song of the encore, Justin rode Lessner’s shoulders as he transported him through the general admission area of the TLA.

Afterwards, Eden was excitedly brought back at the end of the night to bow to the audience with the band, winning over the hearts of Philadelphians at the TLA, and stealing the show.

Set list:
Growing On Me
Black Shuck
Roaring Waters
One Way Ticket
Love is Only a Feeling
Friday Night
English Country Garden
Every Inch of You
Rack of Glam (New Song)
Get Your Hands Off My Woman
Stuck In A Rut
I Believe In A Thing Called Love

Open Fire
Street Spirit (Fade Out)
Love on the Rocks With No Ice

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