It’s not often that Perth sees queues span the length of Fremantle’s Southern Terrace, but on Wednesday the 10th of March, a sea of skinny jeans, animal print and big hair appeared outside Metropolis Fremantle to witness international rock powerhouse The Darkness. For 3 hours, Perth bore witness to the performative genius of the UK 4-piece and glam-rock legends as they kicked off their Australian tour alongside local icon the Southern River Band.
When the unmistakable mullet of Southern River Band’s lead singer Cal Kramer appears on stage, you know something brilliantly bombastic is about to happen. Delving into the rich, multifaceted sound that has garnered them their besotted following, SRB‘s signature ruckus echoed throughout the venue, a sea of bobbing heads testimony to their contagious sound. Renowned for their dance-rock mastery beside the occasional country-esque inflection, the performance was as slick as Cal is cheeky, showcasing the kind of on-stage banter that he is known and loved for between contagiously energetic sets. With a sound that pays homage to the height of the 70s and the rise of the 80s, the nostalgia of their AC/DC-like style alongside the inescapable blast of hair metal gave their already ecstatic performance a deliciously addictive twist. Celebrating the launch of their newest album Don’t Forget Ya Roots, each song boasted a uniquely anthemic quality, with juicy riffs influenced by Van Halen accompanied by brilliantly bombastic percussive beats. Never failing to raise their own bar, the 4-piece more than lived up to their name of Thornlie’s greatest export and WAM‘s best live act. Epitomising the bogan in all of us, SRB is one of Perth’s most iconic musical collectives and their cheeky onstage personas perfectly paved the way for The Darkness to swoop in.
Sonically ambitious and arguably the best thing to come from the re-emergence of 80s-style rock, The Darkness made their long-awaited tour debut on this unsuspecting Wednesday night. Blasting both ears and minds with their explosive performance, the gig was both a visual spectacle and a musical extravaganza; the band appearing on stage in crisp white suits and those tight jeans we all know and love. Big hair went hand in hand with big personalities atop the Metropolis stage, an unforgettable performance embracing the brilliance of the 70s and 80s between muscular guitar riffs and incredible showmanship. In true Darkness fashion, the concert was delightfully raucous with a nostalgic flair, a theatrical display of musical mastery. Showcasing their sixth full-length album Easter Is Cancelled, the band’s melodic evolution was clear. While increasing in technical complexity, the band still retained their addictive sense of fun, incorporating more 70s-inspired harmonies betwixt classically 80s riffs for a touch of pop-like flair.
Having performed the length of their album, a quick costume change was necessary before delving into the classics we all know and love. I have to say, I have never seen a man rock a low-cut, black lace jumpsuit with bell-bottoms as well as Justin Hawkins did that night. Epitomising the glam in rock, Justin Hawkins may have been the centre of attention, but this didn’t stop Dan Hawkins, Frankie Poullain and Rufus Tiger Taylor from stealing our hearts with an equally energetic performance, clearly enamoured with the musical genius of the internationally renowned sound. With what is set to become one of the most memorable performances of the year, if not decade, The Darkness has raised the bar for all live acts set to walk the Perth stage and all whilst in skinny jeans.
Upcoming The Darkness Shows
Friday 13 March – Enmore Theatre, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 14 March – Forum Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC
Sunday 15 March – The Gov, Adelaide, SA
Tuesday 17 March – 170 Russell, Melbourne, VIC
Wednesday 18 March – The Tivoli, Brisbane, QLD
Photography by Jessica Vaini