The Darkness

Copenhell - 2015

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

This years’ Copenhell offered up a wide array of bands that were new to us, either in the capacity of not being reviewed before, or seen before, or never heard of before. The Darkness from old Britain covered the first two of those three categories, and so we went to fill in the blanks.

“Good evening! We are The Darkness from the motherfucking United Kingdom!”
- Justin Hawkins (vocals/guitar)

Even though The Darkness hasn’t made an impact at this site before, it was clear that they had done so elsewhere. They were after all the runner-up headliner of the day (Ghost was the true headliner, but The Darkness also had a long stage time), and a lot of people had gathered before the Helvíti stage to have a listen.
From the very beginning, it was very clear that this was going to be one very glam-filled experience, The Darkness was glam with glam sprinkled on top! At a first look, and a second and third as well, it was hard to tell if they actually meant what they were doing, or if this was all some big, strange joke. Looking at their more than 15 years long history, not counting the break-up, I would assume that they at least are in it for more than a few laughs.

Anyway, the boys knew what they were doing, and what they were doing was delivering a very competent performance and a rock show. The music itself is hit or miss, and for me it was a total miss, but there was no denying the power of the spectacle they were creating on the stage. Justin Hawkins was the obvious choice as frontman, as he was definitely the liveliest of the bunch, had the silliest outfit, and spent more time on acting wild than delivering music – a true rock star! Hell, he even joinked a video camera at one point and played around with it…
The rest of the band were certainly not statues however, and were dancing and prancing about throughout the entire show – the best of them was bassist Frankie Poullain, but when pulled out that cowbell, there really wasn’t any competition anymore!

“Hands up, who’s wearing their trousers above their navel, the way nature intended it?”
- Justin Hawkins (vocals/guitar)

I’m not sure what it says about their target audience, but while The Darkness played through their gig, there was a huge rainbow above the stage.
And whatever it was, it was clear that the target audience was large, surprisingly so. Considering that the most vocal part of the Copenhell audience, based on comments found various places around the net, only listens to the grimmest and most frostbitten of kvlt black metal, and preferably only played by bands which has, at most, released terrible sounding demo cassette tapes, I had thought that signing The Darkness, which clearly is the exact opposite of that, would be Copenhell’s direst mistake this year. Luckily for them, I was mistaken. People gathered, and they enjoyed themselves and the band.

I was not on board though. I have admitted to the qualities and strengths of the band, but this simply wasn’t for me, and I spent the entire gig with a slightly bewildered look on my face, as I was trying to understand how this ever turned into anything at all. Twice even! Counting the break-up, that is.

Setlist (incomplete):

One Way Ticket

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