The Darkness get warm reception in return to Boston

A review of The Darkness at Paradise Rock Club on February 3, 2012

, Managing Editor

The Darkness have surely had a tumultuous go of it since bursting onto the scene in 2003 with mega hit “I Believe in a Thing Called Love”, largely thanks to the drug an alcohol problems suffered by frontman Justin Hawkins. The UK group, which kicked Hawkins out in ’06 only to return with all original members last year, appeared to be back on the right track with a sold-out gig at the Paradise Rock Club on Friday.

The band kicked things off in the same manner as their highly successful debut, Permission to Land, with the heavy rocking “Black Shuck”. The crowd thoroughly enjoyed the trip down memory lane that the Permission songs produced. Not only were fans rocking out to singles like “Growing on Me” and “Get Your Hands Off of My Woman”, but belting out album cuts such as “Holding My Own” and “Love on the Rocks with No Ice”.

However, The Darkness aren’t just back to relive their glory days, which they made clear by performing several new tracks off their upcoming, yet to be named, third album. Of the new material, none of the songs sounded as if they would propel the band back to the level they were at nearly a decade ago. Still, a couple fit right in, such as “The Best of Me”, which featured some heavy riffing and an entertaining, mid-guitar solo high five between Hawkins brothers (Dan Hawkins is the other guitarist). While, “She’s Just A Girl” saw them use similar dark imagery as in past material.

Not surprising at all, the greatest reaction came from “I Believe in a Thing Called Love”, which set the crowd off right before the encore. When the band returned, Hawkins tried taking show-closer “Love on the Rocks with No Ice” to the same level by playing guitar through the crowd and even throwing it behind his head for a solo. It wasn’t quite the highest point of the show, but it definitely came close.

On Friday at the Paradise the Darkness showed that they still have the talent to make them a hot attraction in today’s music scene. Particularly, Justin Hawkins still has one hell of a voice and their riffs are top notch. Sure, this band may have a rocky past, but they certainly have a future.

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