Justin Hawkins (Photo By Gary Miller)
The DarknessStubb's, April 13
Verily, some scoffed at the Darkness' over-the-top Stubb's show, likening it to Monty Python as heavy metal. Yet the overwhelming force of their 75-minute assault, and their steadfast belief in a thing called love, quieted even the staunchest naysayers and roused the spirits of 1,600 faithful Central Texans who were, in a word, ready to rock
. And it was good. From the opening notes of the instrumental prelude, which cast a lilting bagpipe melody atop some custom, AC/DC, back-alley grind, there were no pretensions, no airs, no aspirations to high art. Voxman Justin Hawkins lost his shirt before ever screeching a word. Brother Dan, outfitted in a Thin Lizzy T-shirt that spoke volumes, was two guitar solos deep before even warming up. They came from London, via Norfolk, requesting Permission to Land
, and it was granted. Landing ass-deep in some nasty Powerage
gnarl, they taxied to the purple-hued loading zone of soon-to-be anthem "Growing on Me" (genital warts never seemed this sexy in health class). Acknowledging their surroundings with shout-outs to Maggie Mae's site of their SXSW 02 stateside debut the Jolly Garogers, and Lone Star beer, their completely mapped-out yet irresistible style ushered in "power ballad time!" before moving on to dirty Zeppelin blues. Teaching a receptive 13-year-old how to cuss, Hawkins revealed that Texas' favorite curse word is indeed "fuck" ("What about 'cunt'?" wondered the frontman). Sealing the deal with a lights-out encore of "Givin' Up" and "Love on the Rocks With No Ice" that, if not quite reaching the leather-clad heights of classic-rock ecstasy, came damn close. Yes, perhaps they overstepped their bounds a bit by choosing a rock update of Dirty Dancing
's "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" for exit music, but not by much.