O2 Academy, Bournemouth

Legendary rockers The Darkness are back in Bournemouth with their latest tour in support of their new album “Motorheart” which was only released yesterday. Despite new releases this week from Ed Sheeran, Adele, and Elbow the album is hurtling towards the top ten. Tonight is only the third night of their tour and they have brought along Lancaster’s finest export Massive Wagons as a very notable support.

With the venue virtually at full capacity, 8pm signals the entrance time for one of the most hardworking Rock bands on the live music circuit. The five-piece explodes onto the stage and frontman Baz Mills gets to work on the Bournemouth crowd, injecting as much energy into his performance as he is capable of. Kicking off with “In It Together”, the band performs in front of a perfectly symmetrical row of red Marshall Amps. The sound is loud and clear with Stevie’s and Adam’s big guitar volume easily rising up to the venue’s high ceilings.

With only 30 minutes on the clock the band race through a host of their best tunes including “China Plates”, “Pressure” and “Banging on Your Stereo”; which features an impressive improvised medley. There are plenty of “Wagons” fans in here tonight, mixed amongst The Darkness fans and they are all making plenty of noise. You cannot help feeling with this top-class performance they are winning the hearts of any “Wagons” virgins here tonight. The band end on a high with their stadium-sounding anthem “Back To The Stack” and a salute to Status Quo’s guitarist the late Rick Parfitt.

Massive Wagons
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When you buy a ticket to see The Darkness, you pretty much know what sort of show you are going to get for your money. Justin, Dan, Frankie and Rufus always give 100% and with a fantastic new album of material to perform, tonight’s gig is totally unmissable. Kicking off with a brand new track that has some bagpiped injections “Welcome Tae Glasgae”, Justin shows us his lyrical humour has in no way changed; before moving into more familiar territory with “One Way Ticket” and “Growing On Me”.

The title track of the album is a hilarious story of the purchase of a robot sex doll that needs to be charged up after use. The song has a killer guitar part with an almost “Middle Eastern” sounding riff and Justin provides us with his wonderful trademark vocal delivery. Despite the track only being around for a short time, the fans are already well-versed singing along with the band. Other new songs include the incredibly infectious “Jussy’s” Girl”, “Sticky Situations” and the epic “The Power and the Glory of Love”. In all we get six tour debuted new songs from the new album, which was clearly appreciated by most.

The Darkness
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Towards the end of the gig, the atmosphere in the place increased with excitement as the band wheeled out their big hitters “Get Your Hands Off My Woman” and their massive hit “I Believe in a Thing Called Love”. Both tracks were performed with a fresh energy that radiated out into the audience, with the lyrics sung at the tops of everyone’s voices. As the festive season is shortly upon us, I’m sure in the back of everyone’s mind was will they play the Christmas hit…..but it’s only 20th November!!

The band left the stage and as the audience are cheering and clapping demanding an encore, a cheeky costume change was happening backstage. The band dutifully returned with Frankie dressed as a Christmas Turkey in a bra, Rufus is dressed in a Christmas tree outfit (how he played his kit with this on is anybody’s guess); Dan has a Christmas jumper on, given to him by an Auntie and Justin has a camp red jumpsuit on complete with red Santa hat. There was no doubt now “Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End)” along with part of Cliff Richard’s “Mistletoe & Wine” signaled the start of 2021’s Yule festivities. Everyone in the place including security staff, bar staff, roadies, sound techs, lighting techs, and the audience sang the tune at the tops of their voices like a wonderful, somewhat inebriated Christmas choir. This ends a wonderful evening featuring two top-class bands and you can still hear the chatter of excitement as people filter out into the cold Boscombe air.

Set Lists
The Darkness
Welcome Tae Glasgae
One Way Ticket
Growing on Me
Open Fire
Sticky Situations
Givin’ Up
It’s Love, Jim
Black Shuck
Heart Explodes
Friday Night
Love Is Only a Feeling
The Power and the Glory of Love
Solid Gold
Get Your Hands Off My Woman
I Believe in a Thing Called Love

Christmas Time (Don’t Let the Bells End) / Mistletoe & Wine

Massive Wagons
In It Together
China Plates
Bangin’ in Your Stereo / I Fought The Law (The Clash) / She Does It Right (Dr Feelgood)
Professional Creep
Back to the Stack



Words by David Chinery (Chinners)
Addition Media by Josh Chinery
Pictures by Lynn Frances Photography

The Darkness