This is the first concert review I have ever done. Up to this point, I have done comedy interviews and podcasts for this website, but when I saw that I had the chance to see The Darkness and tell people the tale, I jumped on it. Now, I feel as though I need to give a little background so you understand where this review comes from.
My favorite band/artist is Ben Folds Five. I will give you a second to roll your eyes or do whatever you need to do to feel better than me.
I need you to know that, so my take on this The Darkness concert makes sense. Since I was a teenager, something about BFF’s mix of piano, bass and drums has spoken to me and it is music that I go back to in times of sadness, joy and boredom. Having this music has been very comforting for me and I’m glad to have it in my life. That said, watching the crowd during this concert made me see myself from a new side. It made me see myself standing for two hours, singing every word of every song of an artist, BFF, that most people would classify as a one hit wonder.
The phrase “One Hit Wonder” is very prevalent in music. You never hear of painters being one hit wonders, or a comedian that had one joke and then faded into the ether. Most people would place The Darkness into the OHW category. Although they may be correct in terms of sales or “hits”, I would suggest you attend a show and see the people who experienced the music of the Darkness at a time that it just stuck with them. They know every word. This makes me think that there is no such thing as a one hit wonder.
While I stood at the show, I felt like I was there on false pretenses. I felt like almost everyone in that room paid good money, 50 bucks, to see a band that they love and I was there to just have an experience and tell others about it. This feeling never went away and probably skewed the experience for me and possibly the few people around me that could see that I was observing, not enjoying.
This doesn’t mean the show was not good. Lead singer Justin Hawkins makes for a wonderful host as he takes you through, for me, a mostly unrecognizable catalogue of songs. I do wonder if the show being live streamed on Yahoo! made the experience different than a non-streamed concert. Looking completely different from his “Thing Called Love” video days, Hawkins’ crowd interactions and asides were very enjoyable.
The rest of the band is very tight, both musically and as rock n’ roll personalities. I didn’t know that the band was made up of two brothers, a bass player that looks like a character you created in Rock Band, and the drummer is the son of a Roger Taylor, of Queen. Very tight rock songs.
This is a weird aside, but they had more tall fans then I have ever seen at a show before in my life. I’m 6 feet, 2 inches, and I was dwarfed by many people right in front of me.
I was asked by my girlfriend when I got home if there was a lull in the show and I told her “no”. The overall arc for me was I knew the second song they did, “Growing on Me” and the last song they did, “I Believe in a Thing Called Love”*, but as I observed the audience as much as I did the band…mostly because of their previous mentioned height, there was never a moment when the audience as a whole checked their phones. At one point, the band did a song that the lead singer said had never even been recorded and people were into it.
I was standing in front of some people who must have been super fans, as they were talking about the previous night’s show and they said The Darkness rocked even harder in Chicago. I do again wonder if that is because of it not only being a one off show in a major market, but people were also potentially watching world wide on the stream.
The band sounds great and although I’m not a fan of them, I felt bad that they were playing in House of Blues. This is a band that needs to be seen in a arena. You give them a few more hits and take them back about 30 years and this band would be performing in all the venues that we saw in the 80’s videos showed during the time lapse set up of the stage.
If you are a fan of The Darkness, you are going to be thrilled by their enthusiasm, love for the music and ability to put on a good time. If you are not a fan, you will still enjoy it, but you do have to wait a while to hear the song you really want to hear.
Show Rating: 7 1/2 out of 10.
Growing on Me
One Way Ticket
Love Is Only a Feeling
English Country Garden
Every Inch of You
Rack of Glam
Get Your Hands Off My Woman
Stuck in a Rut
I Believe in a Thing Called Love
Street Spirit (Fade Out) Radio Head Cover
Love on the Rocks With No Ice
*I didn’t stay for the Encore because I wanted to go home and hug my girlfriend.
Matt Riggs grew up in rural Indiana and barely attended Indiana University. After his dreams of working at an amusement park for the rest of his life were squelched, he headed to Chicago to try comedy. He can be seen in shows all over the Midwest and is a cast member of Chicago Underground Comedy. He participated in the 2012, 2013 and 2014 Chicago Women’s Funny Festival, The Limestone Comedy Festival 2014 and the 2013 TBS Just for Laughs Chicago. He has a weekly podcast called Bad News/Good Timing on iTunes. When he is not trying to think of things that people might want to read on his bio, he is enjoying a nice podcast or perhaps inventing a new food made with mostly hot dogs.