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Liverpool, Mountford Hall, Guild Of Students
8th November 2011

Lee Fitzsimmons
Pics: Wendy Pritchard

lee fitzsimmons

"Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it."

- Terry Pratchett


Darkness and student guilds usually go hand in hand. It is thanks to darkness I managed to pull a fair few times in the University bar. So when asked, "do you want to go see The Darkness at Liverpool Guild Of Students?", I immediately thought, "I'm quids in here! Ah, the good old days relived again". The days of no money, barely washing and plenty of (shall we say) frolics!

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Needless to say, I dug out my old student ID, dressed in five seconds flat and was out the door before a word could be uttered. So, when I finally realised that I was actually going to see The Darkness, my enthusiasm turned a little on its head. I was not going to be in for a fun-filled night of debauchery. Or so I thought!

Crown Jewel Defense were up, first providing a solid support performance. It was an excellent dose of LA rock to get the night on its head and, according to a lot of the female fans around me, a lovely bit of eye candy for them. So a pleasurable experience all round one thinks. Great music for the music fans, some lovely visuals for the ladies and an all-round performance worthy of special mention!

Next up, Foxy Shazam! Can I start off by saying "Oh my fucking god"! They certainly brought the mental to the proceedings! Busting onto the stage with the energy of ten children who missed their Ritalin that morning, they certainly made a massive impact on the crowd.

It was relatively insane in the greatest kind of way. Material was absolutely fantastic and performed brilliantly. This was superb bedrock for the Darkness to follow, as it had the absolute perfect desired response. The energy was electrifying and contagious and soon spread throughout the crowd, plus playing keyboards with your feet is always a nice little crowd pleaser.

A thoroughly and absolutely beautiful performance akin to a supermodel in a straight jacket! Mad as a box of frogs but it was the absolute perfect way to set the tempo for the rest of the night.

Foxy Shazam!

So now to it. Judging by the sheer volume of Darkness T-shirts, haircuts and memorabilia on display, their following certainly has not diminished during their hiatus! Methinks this was the makings of a very appreciative audience and a potentially fun gig. That turned out to be a massive understatement.

I was concerned that the time between Foxy and The Darkness would diminish the momentum flowing in the crowd. A fear that was proven to be totally unfounded, as they graced the stage to an almighty roar. Definitely an 'up for it' audience!

Energised, powerful and, above all else, up for a fun night, they blasted onto that stage. Even from this early point in the set you could tell that they had lost none of their edge and were on amazing form. They brought the fun into Liverpool and drilled it home like a roadworker with a pavement pounder.

The Darkness were technically sound, vocally beyond reproach and they worked that stage like master artisans. A truly breathtaking opener which had me totally hooked and the audience transfixed. It was a full 180-degree show with fans from all angles getting a massive dose of Darkness. Caging Ed is not the name of some cult classic film, it's just the action taken in a Darkness stage performance!


The gig steamed onwards, like an out-of-control juggernaut rolling over everyone in its path. The guys on stage developed a life of their own and created a fantastic musical beast which had the crowd's hands raised in supplication. The audience where loving it and participating every chance they got. Each and every track flowed perfectly within the set, keeping the momentum fast, the fun heavy and the enjoyment to a maximum. The words don't come easily as there is only so many times you can say "It was bloody brilliant"!

Every inch of that stage was covered by the guys, even the speaker tops and the like. They strutted, danced, jumped and shredded that stage like titans of old stalking the world. Everything that night led me to the opinion that this was a truly awe-inspiring, fun gig to attend!

Some classic tracks which really spread a wave of enjoyment throughout the crowd were 'Get Your Hands Off My Woman', a powerful audience favourite and showed the sheer stamina of the guys who performed this halfway point track with ease. You would think it was the first track of the night, as they showed no lethargy even at this point of their set. When the last lyric had been sung and the last note had been played, the appreciation was both thunderous and extensive.

It was at this point Ed's promised hugging service was called into question by an audience member. Apparently promising hugs on Facebook, a female fan vocally demanded her hug after the gig, which Justin acknowledged would be given. After all, Ed is Britain's 'leadest' hugger! New word creation from Justin, and he has claim to it and all rights associated with it. Other banter included a woman declaring that "these breasts are yours", to which the rather quick reply was "I have two of my own". Superb banter and audience interaction. Absolutely loved it!


Out came the top hat, off came the shirt! Jumpsuits made an appearance, the cage was lifted and Ed was unleashed. Track after track was performed, assimilated and stored to memory. 'Christmas Time (Don't Let The Bells End)' was performed with the addition of fake snow in conjunction with a tremendous cheer from the crowd. The acoustic guitar came out and this gave Justin the chance to impress upon the gathered masses just how vocally gifted he truly is.

I could provide you with nothing short of a huge checklist of 'must mention' things, but I'm not going to! I will say, however, you must go and see The Darkness. Even if you are not a fan, the sheer fun and talent on display is worthy of a ticket price.

Right I'm summing up now because I could go on and on! In conclusion, this gig has been absolutely, unequivocably one of the highlights of my gigging backcatalogue. Tremendously impressed by the whole night and finding the words to convey this has been a challenge.

The Darkness have never factored in my musical tastes before, as I prefer the much heavier style of Metal. However, I believe this gig has really hammered home just how much a truly fun gig, performed perfectly, can have even the heaviest Metalhead enjoying the experience.

Here's hoping The Darkness grace the light for as long as possible, never shrinking into the shadows or fading away. This reviewer hopes that the curtain of night is not drawn on The Darkness for a very long time!




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