Music Review: The Darkness, O2 Academy, Liverpool

Image Source: The Darkness

The Darkness

Format: Gig
Genre: Rock
Performers: Justin Hawkins, Dan Hawkins, Frankie Poullain & Rufus Tiger Taylor
Review Date: December 18 2019
Performance: December 18 2019
Location: O2 Academy, Liverpool
Duration: 150 Minutes
Age Rating: 16+

On Wednesday December 18, I had the opportunity to see one of the greatest rock bands of our time, The Darkness, perform live at the O2 Academy in Liverpool. I had only seen the band once before at a festival back in 2016, and I loved it so much then that I wasn’t sure if they’d be able to top that. Well, all I can say is that they certainly did.


For those of you who don’t know The Darkness (get to know them!), they are a glam rock band from Suffolk. They’ve had many hits, such as their most famous song I Believe In A Thing Called Love, a song that reminds me of Hugh Grant and Colin Firth chasing each other around a water fountain in Bridget Jones: The Edge Of Reason. Another notable song of theirs was Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End), released in 2003, and a tune on everyone’s Christmas playlist.

I was very excited to witness these songs live again! However, before The Darkness came on stage, there was another band supporting them, an Irish rock band called Rews. They played fast “head-banging” music. They reminded me of another band Paramore, as they had great stage presence, and they really got the crowd moving in anticipation for The Darkness.

After Rews, The Darkness took to the stage. One-by-one, each member walked out, except for front-man Justin Hawkins. They began to play a song from their new album Easter Is Cancelled, and all the while, Hawkins was nowhere to be seen. The crowd were looking frantically around the stage, waiting for him to come out. Then, all of a sudden, he ran out in an absurd, classical glam-rock outfit, he got to the microphone, and he belted out an impossible high note. The crowd wouldn’t stop cheering from here on in.

From then on, they played the entirety of Easter Is Cancelled, the album they are currently touring with, and an album I’d recommend you listen to. My personal favourite song on the album is Deck Chair, an emotional song about the tragic disappearance of a Deck Chair. Justin Hawkins is one of the best front-men I have ever seen, as he has such an eccentric yet down-to-earth persona. I couldn’t stop laughing throughout the gig, especially when he made everyone look at their phones throughout one song to prove a point about modern technology. Another moment that came to mind was when he posed as a chicken as he strutted around the stage.

Throughout every song, almost every audience member threw up their hands with the rock sign. I felt like I was in the 80s; it was brilliant! There was a moment when the whole band walked off-stage, leaving Justin Hawkins alone in a spotlight holding an acoustic guitar. He did a solo version of We Are The Guitar Men, and after they finished Easter Is Cancelled, they did a quick costume change into even more extravagant outfits and began to perform a few hit songs from their classic 2003 album Permission To Land.

Near the end of the show, there was an encore. The band walked off without saying a word. As soon as they were out of sight, the crowd started cheering and stamping their feet in unison in order to get the band back out on stage. At last, The Darkness walked back out. However, this time they walked out in Santa hats. The crowd knew what was about to happen. The band started to play Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End), and the crowd cheered the loudest they had all night!


I knew before even entering the O2 Academy that this was going to be a show to remember. I was proven right; it was everything you’d expect at a glam rock gig, between the costumes, the bouncing and the heckling! One surprise was the amount of children in the audience aged between 8 and 12. They were loving it as much as the rest of us! This should prove that anyone can enjoy The Darkness.

The energy of the band was so high, even after almost 20 years of performing! It might as well have been their first time! Their energy was clearly absorbed by the crowd. It would be hard to write a review on The Darkness without praising Justin Hawkins’ incredible and incomparable falsetto voice. There was a moment where he did a Freddie Mercury-style chant which the audience had to copy. He would make us repeat impossible notes, high and low. It was as impressive as it was hilarious.


I would urge anyone to listen to The Darkness. For such an amazing band, they seem to be very underrated. I have seen many gigs throughout my life, and The Darkness has to be up there as one of my favourites!

Target Audience: Age 16+
Content: 4/5 – Frequent Strong Language
Recommendation: Yes
Overall Rating: 10/10 – Perfect

Find out more about The Darkness by clicking here.