The Darkness in Boston – October 17, 2023
British glam rockers The Darkness brought the party to a packed Big Night Live in Boston, as they celebrate the 20th anniversary of their now iconic debut album Permission To Land. Fans showed up dressed to the nines for the festivities, with some donning some of Justin Hawkins’ signature looks.
Rock duo Paris Monster kicked off the evening with a short but impressive set, with a complex mix of funk, soul and blues elements. With a simple setup, the powerful twosome wowed the crowd with their sounds, perfectly setting the mood for the rest of the evening.
After a short intermission, the lights went down and the Permission To Land album cover started glowing on the screens, as the band took their spots in the shadows. The explosive “Black Shuck” would kickstart the rock show, with a wild burst of energy that stayed at sky high levels for the entire night. The band would play their debut album in its entirety, staying as close as possible to the original song order, to the delight of the many hardcore fans present. Without skipping a beat, they moved into the cheeky “Get Your Hands Off My Woman” and “Growing On Me”. Despite following the album’s order for the most part, they would conveniently skip a handful of songs that would make a proper appearance later on. They would also include a couple of tracks off the extended version of the record, Permission To Land… Again, driving fans wild.
The band’s unhinged stage presence captivated the crowd as always, with frontman Justin Hawkins at the helm. He interacted with fans often, from hand shakes and fist bumps to borrowing various items from the audience, Hawkins’ charisma dominated the evening: he even wore a pair of glasses one of the photographers handed over. The singer also shared a few stories behind some of the songs, and if you’re familiar with his podcast Justin Hawkins Rides Again, you already know his unique storytelling style.
As the show was coming to a close, there would be one simple request: after teasing the crowd with the first few chords of “I Believe In A Thing Called Love”, Hawkins asked the crowd to put their phones away, as he wanted everyone to be fully present. In a refreshing change of pace, there were very few screens in sight, with the majority of the audience letting themselves go and jumping around to the band’s anthemic hit. They would then leave the stage for what felt like a very long time, only for them to casually return wearing bathrobes and slippers instead. The whole band swapped instruments as they serenaded the crowd with the sultry “I Love You 5 Times”, wrapping up the evening with the rowdy “Love On The Rocks With No Ice”. Despite being notorious for not taken themselves too seriously, The Darkness puts on one of the best rock shows out there, with an incredibly solid sound and a multifaceted frontman that keeps the crowd fully engaged. A perfect celebration for a quintessential rock record.