The Darkness, The Southern River Band @ Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide 15/10/2022

“Give me a D, give me an ARKNESS! We’re the mother fucking Darkness,” proclaimed front man Justin Hawkins to near sold out Adelaide crowd at the iconic Thebarton Theatre. The Darkness juggernaut hit town for what was an incredible show. Hard to believe the last time the band was here it was the day before world changed for what had become the Covid years.

Opening act The South River Band hailing from Thornlie, West Australia were fantastic. These guys sounded great and made plenty of the right noises to win over The Darkness fans. Plenty of rock swagger and catchy rock tunes such as Chasing After Love (I’ll Burn A Hole In Your Shoes), Cigarettes (Ain’t Heling Me None) and Second Best. Front man Cal Kramer was still in a bit disbelief losing a good chunk of the day leaving Perth at 8am and lobbing in to Adelaide around 3pm later adding that the band had been given a raw deal by Qantas who had been sticking it to them all year. These likeable larrikins and their ‘bogan’ banter was gold. They will definitely be worth catching next month at the Adelaide UniBar.

The Darkness need no introduction powering their way through Motorheart, Black Shuck and the epic Growing On Me. The sound mix probably wasn’t what it could of been early despite the band playing an absolute blinder. The band were awesome at keeping the crowd revved up during Welcome Tae Glasgae and after with this clapping chant that had an energy of its own leading in to One Way Ticket. It’s Love, Jim was killer and as Hawkins described their self assessment of the song was a “fuck yes!” Givin’ Up received a similar assessment and Adelaide agreed.

The armoury was loaded with good songs to fire off including the likes of Heart Explodes, Barbarian and Love Is Only A Feeling. The energy at “The Barton” or “The Thebarton or whatever you want to call it” was fever pitch and Hawkins did not have to remove his ear piece to feel the Adelaide vibe compared to Perth. Friday Night and Japanese Soldier Of Love kept that intensity and energy right up there. Solid Gold is exactly that and the lyric “and we’re never gonna stop, shitting out solid gold” is unbeatable. Hawkins said that he adored the crowd but he suffered having a 5am lobby call and a redeye flight to Adelaide from Perth with not a lot of sleep. Still, his energy and hand stands on the drum kits complete with scissor kicks was abundant then throw in a run and stage dive in to the crowd was classic during Get Your Hands Off My Woman.

Encouraging the crowd to put their phones away, particularly if they respected him, questioning why film the show for those who didn’t bother to come given that there still some tickets available, Hawkins wanted to see the crowd bounce during I Believe In A Thing Called Love. This was a great moment before the band left the stage to momentarily to return for an encore. Cal Kramer joined the band on Christmas Time (Don’t Let the Bells End) finishing the show on Love on the Rocks With No Ice. It was clear that there is plenty of love for The Darkness in Adelaide so we look forward to a return visit sometime soon.

Live Review By Rob Lyon

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