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The Darkness returns to brighten our musical mood

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He believes in a thing called reuniting.
Photo: Bill Hughes
Chris Bitonti

The Details

The Darkness
Three stars
February 17, House of Blues

The Darkness’ intergalactic tour ship received permission to land in the desert last Friday, a quick stop on its first North American journey since 2007. Reconquering the States, of course, is a necessary objective in the British band’s quest to complete its rock ’n’ roll circle of life: make it big, crash, burn, break up, rehab, reunite and repeat.

Yes, the group that became a staple on our national party mix by believing in a thing called love is back with its original lineup, and the pent-up rock-xual frustration inside Mandalay Bay’s House of Blues was so palpable you could smell it in the air.

For everything the ’80s got wrong—clothes, hair, trickle-down economics—the decade understood rock showmanship. And The Darkness paid tribute to that era’s over-the-top exploits with minute-long dueling guitar solos, multiple wardrobe changes and glass-shattering falsettos. Friday’s set featured all the hits, including “Growing on Me,” “Get Your Hands Off My Woman,” “One Way Ticket” and, of course, “I Believe in a Thing Called Love.” But The Darkness also cut a little deeper, playing lesser-known fan favorites off both records, plus a handful of new tunes.

In a slight departure from the glam-metal style that popularized the band, the new songs sounded more like Thin Lizzy covers with a discontented Freddy Mercury on lead vocals, but the crowd didn’t seem to mind. The performance felt like a stadium show stuffed tightly into the intimate House of Blues, and after nearly two hours of solid rocking the night ended with security piggy-backing frontman Justin Hawkins across the floor. Naturally, he continued shredding his solo as fans tried to tear him apart.

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