Live Review: The Darkness Eaton Hills

8 May 2012 | 5:45 pm | Benny Doyle

The room continues to fill until it’s at the verge of bursting, the air thick with the stench of cheap cigarettes and cheaper perfume.

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Playing to a sea of mullet wigs, spandex, leather jackets and an incredible number of tassels and chains, Gold Coaster's Nine Sons Of Dan seem like a weird choice for an opening act. Firstly, they offer none of the above, their sharp haircuts and muscle tops at odds with any sort of cock-rock revelry. Sonically, they are equally distant; trading rock pomp for pop punk, their sound far more aligned with Vans sneakers than Van Halen. But what the boys do they do well, and although the room seems indifferent at times Nine Sons Of Dan sound confident, they play tight and their songs are undeniably catchy, new single Diamond Skin a big highlight in an entertaining set.

The room continues to fill until it's at the verge of bursting, the air thick with the stench of cheap cigarettes and cheaper perfume. It's not certain where a lot of these people have been hiding but when The Darkness stroll on stage, it's obvious they have been waiting their whole life for this moment. The roar is painfully volatile and when the band kick off with Black Shuck and Growing On Me, you can barely think. It's crazy to remember that only a few years ago these guys were also rans in a rock'n'roll abyss. Tonight, the only thing haggard is Justin Hawkins face, the frontman aging a lifetime in half a decade. The music, however, is watertight and with charisma seeping from every corner of the stage, the energy in the room is skyrocketing. With bouffant bassist Frankie Poullain knocking the cowbell with complete focus, One Way Ticket leads a huge singalong while new single Nothing's Gonna Stop Us and oldie Get Your Hands Off My Woman highlight the consistency in the band's songwriting. The quartet know who they are, what their fans want to hear and continually get it done. In between hitting the highest of notes vocally, Hawkins shreds relentlessly on guitar, but that's to be expected. It's brother and rhythm guitarist Dan Hawkins is the real surprise, his vintage Les Paul singing as he shows a new versatility in his playing, seemingly developed when his brother went AWOL in the mid-noughties. Bras fly on stage and some elusive indoor breast flashing takes place before Hazel Eyes and Is It Just Me rock the foundations of Eatons Hill further, Hawkins even donning his trademark dragon jumpsuit for the occasion. I Believe In A Thing Called Love then rounds out a long set before the band sign off with a three-track encore, closing with Love On The Rocks No Ice to send the ever-loving faithful into complete rock rapture.