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By LAWRENCE MANN
It’s been two decades since U.K. rockers the Darkness unleashed their throwback bombast on the world, and they still welcome legions of followers into their campy camp.
Touring the U.S. to celebrate the 20th anniversary release of a deluxe edition of their debut, “Permission to Land” (the new, 4-CD/DVD package is titled “Permission to Land … Again”), the Darkness hit the Wiltern on Friday night, looking super fit.
Lead singer Justin Hawkins wore a skintight jumpsuit that was cut just below the navel. He would have made Freddie Mercury proud. Speaking of Freddie, Queen drummer Roger Taylor’s son, Rufus Tiger Taylor, fit seamlessly in the band.
Near the end of the second song, “Get Your Hands Off My Woman,” Hawkins did a headstand on the drum riser and clapped his feet together to the beat. All their songs are so catchy and perfect to sing along to, it comes off like they were playing a greatest hits set. Halfway through their set, Hawkins sat at the keyboards and told a story that morphed into a proggy song. The song got heavier as Dan Hawkins added stabbing guitar lines.
Justin Hawkins brought on stage two fans who filmed them performing their final song, their hit single “I Believe In A Thing Called Love.” The lights, their outfits, the beautiful venue and a very welcoming crowd made for a super special night.
Setlist: Black Shuck, Get Your Hands Off My Woman, Growing On Me, The Best Of Me, Makin’ Out, Givin’ Up, Love Is Only A Feeling, Curse of the Tollund Man, Stuck In A Rut, How Dare You Call This Love?, Street Spirit (Radiohead covers), Holding My Own, Friday Night, I Believe In A Thing Called Love. Encore: I Love You 5 Times, Love On The Rocks With No Ice
Photos by Stevo Rood / ARood Photo