Brisbane music fans were in for a night of high-octane rock ‘n’ roll with UK rock icons The Darkness drawing out a capacity crowd at their midweek gig at Brisbane’s equally as iconic music venue The Tivoli.
Over their 20+ year career, The Darkness has become synonymous with the pure essence of rock, breathing a whole new life back into glam metal and heavy rock.
Bringing their 2021 album, Motorheart to the fans, the band wrapped up their Australian tour on Wednesday night in true Darkness fashion.
The Darkness have lived the epitome of a rock n roll life covering all the highs and lows that befit the genre. Line up changes, addictions, recoveries, massive hits and struggles to keep it all going. Despite their challenges, one thing was evident on this wet and windy ‘school night’ gig – their fans love them faithfully and unconditionally.
With the current line-up of original members Justin Hawkins, Dan Hawkins, Frankie Poullain along with epic young drummer Rufus Taylor (son of Queen’s Roger), The Darkness have not only stayed current in the world’s giant pool of mass-produced music, but they have also continually taken rock by the balls and held up the essence of what this genre represents. Big riffs, exploding drums, killer bass and vocal dexterity defines a classic rock voice. And that is exactly what the crowd were in for at their final Aussie show.
But first – we need to talk about The Southern River Band.
One of the best things about international touring up and running again is the chance to get in early to check out our local talent and maybe find your new favourite local artist. I am more than confident to say that, judging by the crowds’ (and later the headliner’s), response to TSRB, many indeed, discovered their new favourite Aussie band this night.
The Southern River Band are Cal Kramer, Dr. Dobbin’ Donny Carter, Pat Smith and Todd Pickett. Imagine a musical stew where you took a little bit of Def Leppard, Status Quo, Rolling Stone, The Black Crows and Queen and seasoned it with a big dose of Aussie rock flavour from Skyhooks to AC/DC to Stevie Wright. What a feast.
For those old enough to remember, let me take you back to a day (the ‘70s) when the Ted Mulry Gang were one of the hottest touring acts in the country. The Southern River Band have the same Aussie larikin spirit, entertaining storytelling and authentic rock soul that gave TMG its iconic reputation.
They opened their set with Second Best winning the crowd over with frontman Kramar (looking like he just walked off the set of Stranger Things) oozing charisma and winning the crowd over by the first chorus. The band are as tight as a drum, performing like seasoned pros. Kramer’s hilarious random crowd banter advising everyone to never buy a pie at Canberra airport, had the crowd hooked.
Taking the punters on a journey through their tracks from the bluesy Chasing After Love (I’ll Burn A Hole In Your Shoes) to the fully charges Cigarettes (Ain’t Helping Me None) TSRB had The Tivoli eating out of the palms of their hands. They played, joked and rocked through their set blowing everyone’s musical minds along the way.
Kramer is a rock star in looks and sound. Shirtless with studded leather pants, he had the crowd hooked in with their ballsy track Chimney. The band don’t miss a beat and was having as much fun on stage as the almost capacity crowd. Headbanging their way into the hearts of Brisbane music fans. They took the set out with big guitar riffs and belting drums on Vice City II. The crowd were happy and showed their love with a roar.
It wasn’t long before the crowd had refilled and refreshed and found their place for the show. The Darkness didn’t keep the fans waiting for long.
Their entrance onto the stage was hyped up with the befitting musical introduction of Abba’s 1975 instrumental track, Arrival, belting out across the crowd.
The Darkness have an army of faithful fans and they were ready to see the band hit the stage. Their arrival on the stage had the crowd moving to throw their horns and headbanging to the opening track Motorheart. Dynamic frontman Justin Hawkins worked the stage like the seasoned pro he is, showing off his famous vocal skills.
If you had to define to someone what pure untarnished rock sounded like you would play The Darkness. Growing on Me had Hawkins using the stage to its full potential playing directly to the fans. His love of being on stage comes through in his lively banter with the crowd. The fans take on this energy with a playful vibe running through the floor.
More from the latest album with Welcome Tae Gasgae then back to the early days with One Way Ticket bringing out the pipes from their faithful fans. The song ends with a riff explosion then we go back to the new with It’s Love, Jim. The band are the epitome of rock n roll. They wear their image like the icons they are, Guitarist Dan Hawkins with his Thin Lizzy t-shirt and leather jacket, Frankie Poullain pulling off the glitter and glam with his sparkly jacket and Rufus Tiger Taylor belting away at the back like the star drummer he was born to be.
An eager fan threw a bra on stage and Justin puts it on backwards drawing out cheers from the crowd, wearing it through the next few tracks. They gave Give It Up the ‘boogie woogie’ treatment with a bluesy tempo through the first half of the song.
They then welcomed their guitar tech Ian Norfolke on stage, with a semi-acoustic addition to Heart Explodes. The crowd responded, hands high clapping along to the opening beat reminiscent of Queen’s Radio Ga Ga. They played non-stop through tracks old and new including epic tracks Barbarian, Love Is Only A Feeling and Japanese Prisoner Of Love. Friday Night had the Wednesday night crowd singing along in mass.
The band took everyone back to where it all started with their debut single Get Your Hands Off My Woman, with the frontman jumping into the crowd.
His agile antics took him from standing on the hands of the fans to climbing onto the balcony and diving into the waiting hands of the crowd below.
With the night almost done Justin, back with the band, called The Southern River Band back onto the stage and gave the lads massive praise. They led the crowd into their smash hit I Believe In A Thing Called Love asking that all phones be stashed away and to just enjoy the moment. The crowd were on a high and when the band left the stage they knew there was more to come. They returned with encore tracks Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End) and Love On The Rocks With No Ice.
The fans left The Tivoli and headed out into the rain happy and fully satiated with their dose of The Darkness.