A Driving Instructor's Blog

When The Darkness last toured – before they split up – I wanted to see them when they came to Rock City, in Nottingham. That must have been in 2004. Unfortunately, The Sun newspaper did an article on them and mentioned they were on in Nottingham, at which point the tickets sold out instantly.

Crown Jewel Defense @ Rock City, Nottingham

This time round, and several years down the line, I get email alerts for all the bands I’m interested in before tickets go on sale, and The Darkness were one of them. This gig was still a sell out, but I’d got tickets the moment they went on sale – and I was really looking forward to it!

There were two support acts. The first was a Californian band called Crown Jewel Defense (or CJD). Their mySpace page describes them as “Powerpop/Arena Metal”, but I’d put them in a number of other categories, including heavy rock and even glam (but not “pop”). They were extremely loud, but the music was excellent – you can hear some of it on their mySpace page. They are absolutely a band to watch out for, and one I’d happily go and see again.

Foxy Shazam @ Rock City

The second support act was a six-piece band called Foxy Shazam, from Ohio. From the moment they came on stage, you knew they were different. The lead singer, Eric Nally, is the spitting image of Freddie Mercury, but that’s where any similarity ends. As Eric says on their website, their music doesn’t fit into any genre, but last night it was powerful rock and showmanship.

Nally rolls around the stage (literally), climbs on the drums, races around, and does juggling acts with the microphone and stand that Roger Daltrey could only dream of. He has a powerful voice and a great personality.

The keyboard player is a strange character right from the off. He’s bald, but has a huge and very long beard. Foxy Shazam @ Rock City (2)

He’s from the school of musicianship that treats the keyboards as a piece of gym equipment – he uses his feet, elbows, everything to play them. He stands on them, and at one point he even brought them out into the crowd where he and his keyboard were supported by the audience as he played away.

Of course, something you have to put up with when you go to these shows is the Resident Prick – he might be the one who throws things on stage, or who leaps around oblivious to everyone else. Or - as in this case – he might be a heckler.

Dickhead @ Rock City

This one just kept shouting out “The Darkness” right in the middle of Foxy Shazam’s set, and Nally understandably got pissed off with it. He got the idiot up on stage, and you could see the light dawn in his piggy little eyes when he realised that he wasn’t the Superhero he’d imagined himself to be, and had attracted the universal derision of the audience.

If anyone knows this dickhead’s name, please let me know and I’ll put it alongside his photo.

Anyway, knowing the sort of performance The Darkness puts on, you could easily see why these two bands were supporting them. They were lively and immensely entertaining.

Now it was time for The Darkness’ performance. By now, Rock City was packed to the rafters – I can never understand why people leave it until the last minute to come in and don’t watch the support, but they do. And then they piss me off by trying to get right to the front, after I’d staked my claim for floor space two hours earlier!

As best as I could tell (and with a bit of Googling), The Darkness’ set list was as follows:

  • Black Shuck
  • Growing On Me
  • Best Of Me
  • One Way Ticket
  • Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us
  • Get Your Hands Off My Woman
  • Out Of This World
  • Holding My Own
  • Love Is Only A Feeling
  • Concrete
    Friday Night
  • Cannonball
  • Is It Just Me?
    Street Spirit (Fade Out) – Radiohead?
  • Givin’ Up
  • Stuck in a Rut
  • Christmas Time (Don’t Let the Bells End)

Then for the encore they did:

  • Bareback
  • Tie Your Mother Down – Queen
  • I Believe In A Thing Called Love
  • Love On The Rocks With No Ice

The crowd were leaping all over the place, and ordinarily I’d have been furious at the crushing and jostling (used as an attempt to move forward by some of the late arrivals), but the support bands had put me in a good mood, and I was transported back to a time when I used to act like a prat without any encouragement whatsoever, so I joined in. It was great fun, and the music was superb.

The Darkness@Rock City

The light show was good for a venue this size, and from what Justin said, they will have a new album out next year, and they’ll be touring to support it – with Nottingham likely to be on the schedule again. I’ll be there.

The night was rounded off with a good curry in the Mogal-E-Azam.

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