O2 Guildhall, Southampton

The Darkness

It’s a wet and miserable Monday night in Southampton; but don’t worry, The Darkness are in town to bring us some festive cheer. The band return to the area after their triumphant performance at the Victorious Festival in Portsmouth back in August. The band have found some renewed success with their latest album “Last of Our Kind” which features a new, refreshing sound put together with some killer tunes. The weather certainly has not put off the audience: as show time starts the support act are faced with a near-full guildhall.

Tonight’s support are two brothers Craig McCabe and Chris McCabe from Glasgow, who are known as The River 68’s. The just have a very simple set-up with one guitar and a stomp pad. My first thought is whether they are up to the job of warming up this rowdy crowd? After the first song they easily dispersed my fears. The combination of expertly played slide guitar and powerfully delivered vocals really impress, with original songs like “Burgundy Girl” and I’m Alive”. This slice of “Glaswegian Americana” is a pure joy to watch with great use of sibling harmonies and harmonica’s. They have an unexpected and extraordinary talent that thoroughly impresses the Southampton crowd right through to the last song.

The River 68's
The River 68’s 1234

The Darkness arrive on stage to an amazing welcome from the audience and immediately launch into “Barbarian” from latest album, which gets the crowd really moving. The atmosphere in this old building is one of celebration and the band use the energy of the excited crowd to their advantage. With each number they play there is instant recognition from the audience and the words are sung right back at them. Justin is the perfect frontman; dashing about the stage in his outrageous striped two-piece suit, looking a little like Jarvis Cocker with his newly trimmed locks.

Justin invites a 12 year old girl called Faith to the stage to join him at the piano for “Friday Night”. Faith is painfully shy and is reluctant to join in with the vocals, but does do a fantastic jump from the drum riser at the end of the song. Things go really ballistic during “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” where the crowd are asked to bounce the whole way through the song. A small earthquake follows as everyone willingly obliges.

The Darkness
The Darkness 123456789

The encore brings with it the moment that everybody’s been waiting for, fans don their Christmas hats and hold tinsel high in the air for “Christmas Time (Don’t Let the Bells End)” which the band deliver perfectly. The set ends with Justin walking through the crowd sat on a roadie’s shoulders playing his trademark white Gibson guitar during “Love on the Rocks With No Ice”. The Darkness are on fire tonight giving one of the best gigs that Southampton has seen this year. There is a new album in the pipeline which we heard a small glimpse of tonight in the form of “Rack of Glam”. This should more than keep this much-loved band’s momentum high for many years to come.

Set List
Growing on Me
Black Shuck
Givin’ Up
Roaring Waters
One Way Ticket
Love Is Only a Feeling
Friday Night
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

Christmas Time (Don’t Let the Bells End)
Street Spirit (Fade Out) – (Radiohead cover)
Love on the Rocks with No Ice



Words & Videos by Dave “Mudslide” Chinery (Chinners)
Pictures by Jon “Black Shuck” Musselwhite

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to MySpace