52% intelligent. 9% modest. More monkey than bear.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

I look to the stars and the answers are clear...

Ok, now it's official. The Darkness are the new Spinal Tap.

I know there's been a long running debate on this subject, but having just seen them at the Nottingham Arena this evening, and heard them debut some of their new songs, I can confirm that they are indeed a comedy band. Now, don't get me wrong. I like them. It's just difficult to draw any other conclusion when you hear songs called (and I'm guessing here) "Making Out" which includes lyrics about getting tangled up in your jumper on the back seat. Another song talks about "wrap your dinner lady arms around me", and the song that takes the biscuit is a new version of "An English Country Garden", where Justin sings about entering all the competitions at the village fete (this one is quite good to be fair).

It was a good show. You can't go wrong with fireworks & flamethrowers generally, but when they are joined by roadies in Santa suits, giant christmas trees and (the piece de resistance) a guitar solo played whilst riding over the crowd on a leaping white tiger, you are really in the realm of the Gods.... (actually, on the Spinal Tap theme - the first time Justin appeared on this, at the crucial moment of "Love on the Rocks with No Ice", he launched into the guitar solo, only to realise that his guitar wasn't working. Cue something of a pause, and then the moment that lifts this band up amongst the greats: he went up to the microphone, said "I'm not going to let a little technical hitch ruin my night, and neither should you", and got back on the damn thing, and rode it back the other way -tiger now facing the wrong way- and finished off his guitar solo. You didn't see Spinal Tap get back into the pods, did you?)

It was their first gig as the headline act on an arena tour, and I think they were a little bit excited and nervous about it. Well they might be. They are a fantastically entertaining band, sure, but I don't think you are meant to headline arenas on one album's worth of material. Try as they might, there were inevitably some lulls in the set as they played something we didn't know inbetween the tracks we did. Ending on "Christmas Time (don't let the bells end)" was a nice touch though, as was the gentle piss-take of the Chris Martin intro to the band aid single. I think Justin Hawkins was born to play the keyboard-as-guitar thing as well....

Ash were the backing band (I know, ridiculous, isn't it??) Thanks to the lovely C., we arrived a little late and missed "shining light", but they showed how good a live act they are with great renditions of the new stuff mixed in with the old ("Orpheus" is just magnificent though). I really must go and see them again if they tour solo.

A visit to the Doctor this morning meant that this was my second ever concert with a set of earplugs in place.... regular readers will know that I have been fretting about my ears for some time now, and indeed the doctor told me that I have a problem with my Eustachian Tubes that may take some months to clear up (although the good news is that it should clear up). To be on the safe side, this means I have to lose a bit of atmosphere at a gig to protect my long term hearing. mmmm. Coincidentally, the only other time I did this was at an Ash concert at rock city. Within a song I had taken them out. This time I stuck with it. It wasn't ideal, but needs must.

Anyway - a decent evening's entertainment. I'm off to bed now though, if you don't mind, because I am day-tripping to Newcastle tomorrow for work. Yes. Day-tripping.


Perhaps I shouldn't bother going to bed at all?

toodle pip.
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  • At 8:30 am, Blogger Tom said…

    I saw Ash supporting Coldplay (equally ridiculous concept) at the Hard Rock Cafe in Las Vegas in 2002. At the time I knew very little about them. I think I had heard a couple of singles, but that was all. Knocked me out. I went out and purchased "Free All Angels" as soon as I got back to the UK.

    Coldplay were pretty good as well. Huge in Britain at the time, but nobodies in the States. Interesting to see a big British band playing a relatively small gig.

    I don't know anything about the Darkness, but I love "I Believe In A Thing Called Love" and the Christmas single. Robbed for the number 1 last year, if you ask me.

  • At 10:38 am, Blogger John McClure said…

    My cousin one went out with Tim Wheeler (they were both still at school) and claims that she is the Girl From Mars. Whilst I am willing to accept that she might be from another planet, I'm not buying it. For one thing, if they "went out", I'm guessing she told him her name - which would destroy a central premise of the song somewhat.

    On the ears front - mine are still far from recovered after Kings of Leon on Monday night. Mind you, that might also have something to do with the volume at which Red Snapper accompanied me on my run this morning.

  • At 11:44 am, Blogger Damo said…

    Another report from the Nottingham gig:


    I hear they're playing a total of six new songs, which is a good thing. But it's entertainment, innit. And for all that people speak of comedy, and for all the fact that Justin talks an unfeasible amount of crap, 'I Believe In A Thing Called Love', 'Get Your Hands Off My Woman' and 'Growing On Me' are great pop songs. People lambast The Darkness for their lyrics, but at least they're having a laugh and they know it. How about the first two lines of 'Little By Little' by Oasis:

    "We the people fight for our existence
    We don't pretend we're perfect but we're free"

    How can he sing stuff like that WITHOUT laughing? I know who should really be getting a kicking for being a comedy act, and it's not the band fronted by the Lowestoft geezer with dodgy teeth...

  • At 12:00 pm, Blogger Damo said…

    By the way, you're right, it is called 'Making Out'. It was the B-side to the reissue of 'I Believe In A Thing Called Love'. If you want an MP3 let me know!

  • At 4:55 pm, Blogger LB said…

    it's the fact he threatened to take his non-functioning guitar back to Dixons that I really liked.

    great night. On the Spinal Tap theme, towards the end of last nights show when it got very pyrotechnic and silly, I was reminded of the Spinal Tap lyrics:

    "....And all that you can do is just surrender
    To the Majesty of Rock!
    The Pageantry of Roll!
    The crowing of the cock,
    The running of the foal!
    The shepherd with his flock,
    The miner with his coal...."


  • At 8:23 pm, Blogger swisslet said…

    Damo: totally agree with you. The fact they clearly don't take themselves too seriously is something we should be embracing. Oasis have *always* thought they are a better band than they are - good tunes yes. Diminishing returns certainly. Clever, articulate and with something important to say? hardly. Didn't mean to sound carping about the lack of songs the Darkness have. They have 4 or 5 songs that are just sensational, uplifting rock. To whitewash them as entirely a joke band rather misses that fact. More power to'em, I say.

    Lord B. Hate to rain on your parade, but he said he was taking the guitar back to Gibson.... your story is better, but as Gibson made the guitar in question it seems more likely (all the guitars he used were Gibsons I think - they were all custom made and featured on the terrible South Bank Show they did on Sunday)

    I also forgot to mention that Justin looks balder and to have more teeth in the flesh somehow....

  • At 9:05 am, Blogger LB said…

    just cause you had better tickets than me and I was right at the back so couldnt hear what was going on, there's no need to rub it in.

    Dixons was a better story anyway.

  • At 12:20 pm, Blogger swisslet said…

    couldn't hear? I was wearing bloody earplugs and I heard it!


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