The Darkness / Wembley Arena a paradise for stage owners and seducers alike

The double, trouble, toil and hard rocking bubble that is Black Stone Cherry and The Darkness co-headline tour arrived at the OVO Wembley Arena on the last evening of their seven-date journey.

The Darkness – OVO Wembley Arena

Saturday, 4 February 2023

Words: Monty Sewell

Photography: Steve Ritchie

The Darkness - OVO Wembley Arena - Saturday, 4 February 2023
The Darkness – OVO Wembley Arena – Saturday, 4 February 2023. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk

The only coalition to ever bring about feelings of relieved excitement from its subjects, it was the announcement no one expected but the night everyone suddenly desperately needed. MetalTalk’s Paul Monkhouse met with the guys last year to discuss the upcoming tour, and with the musician’s fever clearly running high for the event, it seemed like a mighty long seven months to wait.

But here we were, at what promised to be nothing short of black soot heart and soul perfection.

The Darkness - OVO Wembley Arena - Saturday, 4 February 2023
The Darkness – OVO Wembley Arena – Saturday, 4 February 2023. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk

The Darkness then take to the stage first. With the OVO being the perfect open aired paradise for stage owners and seducers alike, I was eager to see how charismatic frontman Justin Hawkins would make use of it.

Opening with Growing On Me, the lads stride forth to their audience with as much rock-swollen pizzazz as ever. Hawkins – in cut-off denim jeans and not much else – is a 60-storey high-stage rocket. Daring the audience to rock out harder than they have ever done before, he is both tireless and untamed.

The Darkness - OVO Wembley Arena - Saturday, 4 February 2023
The Darkness – OVO Wembley Arena – Saturday, 4 February 2023. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk

Brother Dan Hawkins is as cool as ever, providing masterly guitar instrumentations whilst Frankie Poullain rocks his bass like the goddamn messiah of suave. Drummer Rufus Taylor, on a high-rise platform, reaches his snare fuelled wing span further and further with every hit.

The Darkness - OVO Wembley Arena - Saturday, 4 February 2023
The Darkness – OVO Wembley Arena – Saturday, 4 February 2023. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk

Black Shuck, Motorheart, Solid Gold, provocative first single Get Your Hands Off My Woman and of course, the big one, I Believe In A Thing Called Love, all feature in a 10/10 setlist which draws from their whole discography into one pot of showy brilliance.

The Darkness - OVO Wembley Arena - Saturday, 4 February 2023
The Darkness – OVO Wembley Arena – Saturday, 4 February 2023. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk

The highlight of the night is, of course, when Justin jumps on the back of security and solos his way through the 12,000-capacity venue crowd.

We happened to have picked the perfect spot and could almost graze Hawkins’ pink-tasselled unitard as he glided by. Chucking his socks out to the crowd, it’s a hand-standing, fist-pumping dreamboat of lavish rock ‘n’ roll.

But I mean, when have The Darkness ever let us down?

To read the report of Black Stone Cherry, visit https://www.metaltalk.net/black-stone-cherry-flawless-musicianship-on-a-wembley-arena-night.php.

The Darkness - OVO Wembley Arena - Saturday, 4 February 2023
The Darkness – OVO Wembley Arena – Saturday, 4 February 2023. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk
The Darkness - OVO Wembley Arena - Saturday, 4 February 2023
The Darkness – OVO Wembley Arena – Saturday, 4 February 2023. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk
The Darkness - OVO Wembley Arena - Saturday, 4 February 2023
The Darkness – OVO Wembley Arena – Saturday, 4 February 2023. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk
The Darkness - OVO Wembley Arena - Saturday, 4 February 2023
The Darkness – OVO Wembley Arena – Saturday, 4 February 2023. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk
The Darkness - OVO Wembley Arena - Saturday, 4 February 2023
The Darkness – OVO Wembley Arena – Saturday, 4 February 2023. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk

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