The Darkness - Manchester Apollo - 23.02.03

The Darkness sound like some gloomy goth band from the eighties, but don't let the name fool you. The five piece have a frontman who wears a pink T-shirt with matching leather trousers and unruly curly mop of hair. In fact the band are so stuck in the 70s that I felt i'd travelled back in time as musically and fashion wise there is nothing to suggest that The Darkness belong to the 21st Century.

They're here tonight supporting Def Leppard for the ageing rockers and their more reluctant sons and daughters. The music the band play can be turned into a game of spot the influences. We have the backwards guitar playing (Jimi Hendrix), the high pitched falsetto vocal (Paul Rodgers from Free), the melodic rock guitar solos (Thin Lizzy), sat on the shoulders of somebody playing guitar whilst be carried along (Angus Young from AC/DC), the camp flamboyant theatrics (Freddie Mercury) and guitar solos worthy of Status Quo.

Opening with a rousing instrumental that sounds like The Shadows mixed with the ferocity of Led Zeppelin before heading into the new single "Get Your Hands Off My Woman". Taking tips from the old showbiz circuit were even treated to a costume change from frontman Justin who returns with a stripey catsuit for their previous single which reached 180 in the charts. "I Believe In A Thing Called Love" is another outrageous assault on the senses. By the time they end with "Love On The Rocks" the Darkness have truly won the crowd over with an amazing array of showmanship and effortless musicianship.

At the end of March and beginning of April, the band embark on their own headline tour and for the sheer spectacle are well worth checking out.

Nicholas Paul Godkin

Post your The Darkness reviews / comments on the Message Board