Belfast. Cold, wet, and windy. Some things never change. But tonight things were going to change up a notch in the Limelight with the sold out gig that was The Darkness supported by Rews.
The line was long tonight with the Limelight filling up fairly early on, a good sign of things to come. And my goodness, things were off to a storming start as Rews kicked off with “RIP up my heart”, “Can You Feel It”, and “Your Tears”. This band was a pure joy to watch as Shauna and her band mates tore up the stage with high energy alt-rock/pop on, what can be described as home turf, as Shauna Tohill is of good Ulster stock and from a well-respected musical family.
The audience were pumped in turn, reflecting the infectious punkish attitude of the band. The grins on their faces were well deserved as they continued to deliver incredibly catchy songs with wonderful rock riffs. “Shake Shake”, “Miss you in the dark” and Monsters” keep the place buzzing.
The joy was overwhelming as nobody was standing still, in fact it was impossible to be unaffected. They dropped in their latest single “Birdsong” with aplomb and finally finishing their set with “Shine”. Interpersed throughout with a lovely bit of banter, including with family members kept the whole performance felling like they were performing in front of friends and the audience responded in kind. What a performance andits always well worth seeing this group live.
A short interlude and on dandered The Darkness to a roar from the audience as they nonchalantly start with “Rock and Roll deserves to Die” while Justin started singing off stage building up some anticipation, in true Dr Frank n Furter style. On walks Justin and the crowd goes wild. “How Can I Lose Your Love” “Live Till I Die”, and “Heart Explodes” just opens up the place to high energy rocking out as Justin banters backwards and forwards with the crowd with pure comedic timing and keeping things grounded.
“Deck Chair”, “Easter is Cancelled” and “Heavy Metal” just keep the place pounding, the audience were putty in their hands. It was very plain to see on everyone’s faces that this was a perfect tonic for a Tuesday night as the joy of rock ebbed throughout the place.
Justin joked about in-between songs and when he asked a punter what his name was, it was Alex by the way” he led a chorus of “Alex, Alex, who the F*** is Alex”. Such was the ease the band felt and how relaxed the crowd were and ready for a night of just plain fun. Justin promised that they were playing the latest album “Easter is Cancelled” and that it was the first part of a two part act tonight. Part two will be all the older songs, to which he received a massive roar of approval.
Another Life”, “Choke on It” and “Guitar Men” rounded off the first act and everyone just went wild with every single song. The Darkness were just a perfect storm of rock, fun and camaraderie with themselves and the fans.
Act two balsted off with “One Way Ticket (To hell and back) as the roof lifted with overjoyed fans giving it all. Then came “Barbarian”, “Growing on Me”, and “Japanese”. Utter. Pure. Joy. That is what was going on in the Limelight. There was not a single person stood still or not enjoying the show and the pervading atmosphere of unadulterated fun metal and rock.
It was a time to completely forget about any woes or worries you were feeling, everyone was swept up in it. “Love Is Only A Feeling”, Solid Gold” and “Street Spirit” continued the onslaught of pure fun. It coalesced into a moment of unique comedy as Justin was going to shave his bandmates beard to leave a moustache. A crowd member suggested it be a charitable act, Justin agreed and set the target of £3. Around £20 later, and lots of throwing coins they did the deed. This was definitely never going to be a show to forget. “Get Your Hands Of My Woman”, “Friday Night” and “I Believe In A Thing Called Love” kept the unstoppable train of joyous rock speeding along. The final song was one that many had been waiting for. It is nearly that time and yes, they played “Christmas Time “Don’t Let The Bells End”.
It was without doubt an incredible performance from a tight, professional band who know how to be comfortable on stage, with their fans and how to enjoy themselves. Grins were on everyone’s faces and no one was going home disappointed.
As The Darkness and Rews continue the “Easter Is Cancelled” tour, you will honestly kick yourself very hard indeed if they are playing near you and you miss them. They have to be seen live. You will not be disappointed.
Review by Ivor Whitten
Photography by Metal Planet Music