An epic night for rock music at Chicago’s Park West with The Darkness and opening band Diarrhea Planet.

This show is one that leaves you gasping for breath by the time it finishes. Kicking off at full speed with Diarrhea Planet, the foot is not taken off the gas until the very last note of the night. If you haven’t yet seen Diarrhea Planet, you should. This crazy six-piece are as musical as they are energetic. Their set is full of posing and popping their heads between their bandmates’ legs, all the while not taking away from the music itself. With four guitarists, you would think it could become a little over-powering, but it wasn’t. The challenge was deciding which part of the stage to watch at any given time. Their last song of the set takes it out to the crowd as some members crowd surf with their instruments while guitarist Evan Bird jumps from the stage and disappears through the audience. Now, that is a way to open a show!

This was Chicago’s second helping of seeing The Darkness in one day as many had also had the privilege of seeing them perform a brief intimate set at JBTV earlier in the day. The short set there clearly wasn’t enough to satiate that appetite as many fans show up early to get a good spot for the night.

Any other band would be concerned having to come out on the stage after such an opener, but not so for The Darkness. Justin Hawkins is everything a rock frontman should be, and oh so much more. His younger brother Dan is the epitome of the cool guitarist, rocking his Thin Lizzy jacket and perfecting his guitarist’s power stance in front of his Marshall stack whilst ripping out the well-known riffs. Frankie Poullain looks like he is enjoying every second of the evening, while Rufus Taylor pounds his drumkit into submission song after song.

Park West is a beautiful venue and perfect for so many shows, but it was an unusual choice for a rock band such as The Darkness. Usually there would be a pit to separate the audience from the stage, but the lack of one made for a very intimate setting for those on the floor. Often bands like to have that slight separation from the front row of the crowd, but the closeness seems to fuel Hawkins all the more – not that he needed it. It certainly makes for an up-close and very personal show, with Hawkins even commenting on the audience’s polite restraint as he poses with his butt facing them.

Most shows will take a dip at some point when the band pull out their slower songs but don’t expect that at a Darkness show. Slow songs do not exist. Banging out hit after hit, this juggernaut of a setlist just keeps on rolling. No matter how many times you see them, you can’t help but be impressed with the range of Justin’s voice, particularly when singing songs like “Every Inch Of You.” “Barbarian” led to some fun audience participation as various fans had the microphone thrust into their faces.

As enjoyable as all the songs on the setlist are, there’s nothing quite like the dose of nostalgia that is delivered as they bang out three songs from their first album before leaving the stage prior to their encore – “Stuck In A Rut,” “Get Your Hands Off My Woman” and “Growing On Me.” And, of course, you can’t see The Darkness without a face-melting rendition of “I Believe In A Thing Called Love.”

From start to finish, this is one of the most fun shows you will ever see with a killer combo of two such energetic bands. In fact, it’s likely that any show that you go see after this will struggle to live up to the adrenaline rush that is delivered by The Darkness.  

The Darkness
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Diarrhea Planet
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Park West
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Event Date: 11-APR-2018

About The Author

Kirstine moved from the UK to Chicago in 2011, and has fallen in love with the city and its music scene. She enjoys combining her two biggest passions – music and photography. If there is a band with a guitar playing, chances are she’ll be there…camera in hand. Kirstine went to her first live concert at 7 years old, and hasn’t looked back since!

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