A few weeks ago I hobbled over to the 9:30 Club to see the Darkness. First, a shout out to the fabulous staff at the venue for accommodating my temporarily handicapped self (stress fracture in my foot = stupid boot thing for a while). I got a nice reserved seat on the upper level to watch all the action from.
First up was Crown Jewel Defense. They did a short set that was entirely okay. The most notable part of their set was when the lead singer busted out a giant foam cowboy hat – yes, the same “It’s a big hat. It’s funny.” giant foam cowboy hat circa the Norm MacDonald as Burt Reynolds Celebrity Jeopardy SNL sketch. No one else around me seemed phased by this, but it was super random.
Turns out it must have been crazy hat night because the lead singer of Foxy Shazam also busted out a bizarre hat (sort of a neon-lighted cowboy hat) during the next set. Did I miss a memo or something?
If I had to describe Foxy Shazam in one word it would be ‘somersaults.’ If I had to describe them in three words, ‘lots of somersaults.” Seriously, the singer was averaging 3ish somersaults per song with a forward somersault to backward somersault ratio of 2:1. I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone move around stage so frequently and so quickly. He was like a somersaulting cat. He also wore a cape to and from the stage, so he was all sorts of precious. I wasn’t familiar with their songs, but everything was instantly likeable. Their set was fun and I’d totally see them again live, if only for the somersault viewing.
My ticket purchase for this concert was pretty impulsive. “I Believe In A Thing Called Love" came out while I was living in London during my junior year of college. It was EVERYWHERE and my roommate Jen and I were obsessed with it. I like the whole Permission to Land album, but can’t say that I’ve listened to it since 2004. Nor do I have any idea what The Darkness have been up to since then, save for the lead singer popping up in a Super Bowl commercial this year. But I figured it could be a fun show, so I got a ticket. Little did I know how fun it would be.
Luckily the band’s set was heavy on Permission to Land songs (Turns out they have two other CDs. Who knew?). They kicked things off with “Black Shuck” and quickly followed it up with another PTL favorite “Growing on Me.” It was falsetto galore and Justin Hawkins was wearing, appropriately, a skin-tight leather American flag getup. Unfortunately, Hawkins still had the creeper facial hair from the Super Bowl commercial. I’d tell you that there were copious jump kicks, but, duh. Mid-set highlights were the raucous “Get Your Hands off My Woman” and the ballad “Love Is Only a Feeling” (which Hawkins performed alone with an acoustic guitar). I forget what song it was for, but at one point Hawkins did a prolonged guitar solo while a 9:30 Club security guy carried him around the crowd on his shoulders. It was pretty epic. The band ended their set with “I Believe in a Thing Called Love,” natch, before returning for a two song encore ending with “Love on the Rocks with No Ice” (because, of course, they would have a song with a title like that).