The Darkness stormed the UK charts way back in 2003 with their absolute gem of an album `Permission To Land’, an album that holds something very dear to this writers heart. It was practically the first album I bought with my own money, so to hear it from a live perspective gives a warm fuzzy feeling somewhere ha-ha.
Anyway, the band itself realistically and quite unfortunately, peaked here. From 2006, they pretty much disbanded when Justin Hawkins went his own way, until 2011 when rumblings of a reunion were about to occur. They were not wrong.
Forward to 2018, 7 years after the reunion, comes a live album. Recorded at the world famous Hammersmith, you get 19 songs of pure Darkness balls out fun. The album commences with `Open Fire’ and it’s pretty much what you’d expect from The Darkness. It’s ballsy and extremely high octane, it’s not one that holds the nostalgic value but it’s exactly what you need to open a high energy rock live album.
Now as soon as the 2nd track kicks in, that’s when it starts pulling at the heart strings with `Love Is a Feeling’. A track that back in the heady days of 2003 was absolute smash hit and such a great song to finally hear live. If you remember the video for the song, yep an actual video that was probably on MTV, it’s a pure rock anthem; you can mentally see all the lighters held aloft in the darkness of Hammersmith.
Songs from ‘Permission to Land’ are the really heavy hitters on `Live at Hammersmith’. From the aforementioned `Love Is Only a Feeling’ to the gut wrenchingly amusing `Get Your Hands Off Of My Woman’, and not to go without mentioning `I Believe In A Thing Called Love’ just pulls at the nostalgia heart strings. Play it loud, actually wait, play it very fucking loud. It’s fun and uplifting. Even though it’s a hot June morning, hearing their infamous Christmas song `Christmas Time (Don’t Let the Bells End)’, it’s actually refreshing.
Going through the album, it’s a perfect representation of what The Darkness was, is and will probably be for many years to come. Yes the tracks from ‘Permission To Land’ really do hit the mark more than the rest, it still shows just what The Darkness brought to the Rock community; the wider music scene as a whole back in 2003 and that’s all out rock extravaganza. Full of fun, loud crunching guitars and high pitched vocals from Justin, whether it’s 2003 or 2018, The Darkness show off their credentials as rock n roll royalty.
9/10 – 2003 or 2018 The Darkness are still the kings of high octane British Rock n Roll.
Stand out tracks:
`Love Is Only A Feeling’, `Get Your Hands Off Of My Woman’ and `I Believe In A Thing Called Love’
1. Open Fire
2. Love Is Only A Feeling
3. Southern Trains
4. Black Shuck
5. One Way Ticket
6. Givin’ Up
7. All The Pretty Girls
9. Buccaneers of Hispaniola
10. Friday Night
11. Makin’ Out
12. Every Inch Of You
13. Solid Gold
14. Stuck In A Rut
15. Get Your Hands Off Of My Woman
16. Growing On Me
17. Japanese Prisoner of Love
18. Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End)
19. I Believe In A Thing Called Love