As I walked home from the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill last night my ears were left well and truly ringing
From start to finish, The Darkness rocked the roof off in surely one of the loudest gigs ever witnessed in the building’s 80 year history.
Lead singer Justin Hawkins arrived on stage sporting a shorter hair cut and black and white striped dungarees. And he may have turned 40 this year but there was no sign of his trademark high-pitched vocals wavering as he effortlessly belted out hit after hit.
Opening with the single Barbarian from the latest album Last Of Our Kind, the band exploded onto the brightly-lit stage with the exhuberance and confidence you’d expect from a team who have honing their act for more than a decade. And it was straight on to early favourite Growing On Me which kept the crowd bouncing as they lapped up the entertainment.
Black Shuck swiftly followed to the equal delight of fans who were being treated to Hawkins in fine form. The fun-loving frontman took a break from proceedings to throw plectrums into the air for several minutes.
Hawkins spotted a hole around 20ft above in the rigging and was determined to try and throw one of the little pieces of plastic through it. “And just one more,” he kept telling the crowd despite the task proving impossible.
Bassman Frankie Poullain then arrived on stage clutching a cow bell which which he rapped as the intro to the brilliant One Way Ticket To Hell and Back. The song still sounds as fresh and anthemic as it did when first launched 10 years ago. And it was when I looked around the audience that I realised the mass appeal still of these iconic British glam pop rockers.
In front of me was a young boy who may not even have been born when the band launched its classic debut album Permission to Land in 2003. There were also people aged from 50 to 60 plus. The mass appeal of the band was clearly on show in Bexhill as fans of all ages packed out the concert hall in total appreciation. We were treated to the Christmas 2003 hit Christmas Time (Don’t Let the Bells End) with Hawkins demonstrating what an accomplished guitarist he picking out the notes to replicate bells ringing.
But it was the best track never to make Number One which brought the biggest cheers. I Believe In A Thing Called Love got the crowd bouncing off the walls and left them with with their ringing ears from now until Christmas Day