In our fast-changing world where sports, travel and gigs are being cancelled, where are the heroes that will lead us through this crisis? Riding into town on the eve of apocalypse are the Four Horseman dressed in white known as The Darkness, as part of their—prophetically titled—‘Easter Is Cancelled’ tour.
Coming into battle first are our own, The Southern River Band, who attack with the sort of no-nonsense attitude you’d expect if you were transported to ’70s Australia. They start with the aptly titled ‘None Of Your Business,’ which begins a slew of rocking, heads-down boogie numbers from the band. With a touch of Aerosmith, Quo and Acca Dacca plus a dose of larrikin humour, they provide a great start to the assault that awaits.
Roaring over the hill with the battle cry of ‘Rock And Roll Deserves To Die,’ and armed with instruments in lieu of weapons, is: The Darkness. Attacking with their own selection of catchy songs, gallows humour and exceptional showmanship, it seems the only cure is to join in song with them.
The strategy with the opening half of the show is to play the Easter Is Cancelled album in its entirety before the heavy artillery of the second half kicks in. This means the playful lyrics to ‘Heavy Metal Lover’ delight the crowd as Dan Hawkins takes over vocals to lead the song home before the beautiful ‘In Another Life’ has us waving in unison.
This is what a Darkness show is about: epic audience participation—whether it’s clapping, clicking fingers or sharing in banter with frontman Justin Hawkins. While everyone is aware of the impending doom of COVID-19, Justin makes light of it to remind everyone that we are still at a rock show, after all.
With the battle still ensuing, The Darkness return for the second half and advise everyone, with a cowbell lead surge, that we’re all on a ‘One Way Ticket To Hell And Back.’ ‘Growing On Me’ is still as cheeky as ever, and ‘Get Your Hands Off My Woman’ delivers with an edge that belies its age.
Justin Hawkins continues banter with the crowd, sometimes mercilessly, as he acknowledges that the band’s tour has now been cancelled with this the last gathering for no one knows how long. To celebrate the end, The Southern River Band join our headliners for a heavy version of ‘I Believe In A Thing Called Love.’
As the final strains of Dirty Dancing’s ‘(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life’ ring out over the PA, this will be the last time for the foreseeable future that most of us will be at a rock show. Easter may be cancelled, however the bearers of the bad news, The Darkness, have delivered an amazing show that made us forget—however momentarily—about this impending one-way trip to hell. After tonight, I believe in a thing called The Darkness.
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Photos: Peter Pap