Oct. 23 – 2015 – The Phoenix, Toronto, ON
Oh, what do two out of towners do on a Friday night in downtown Toronto when the Blue Jays are playing a game 6 elimination game? It must be a sign that The Darkness just happen to have a song and play it live, entitled “Friday Night”. Still a decision must be made. Who am I kidding, already had tickets for months to see one of our favourite bands for this the 3rd time so we found a pub near the venue to catch the first hour of the Jays game since apparently this was a much earlier start time for a club show, going on “around 9 pm or so” when we called the venue. The evening began in a fun way, Toronto you are so easy to bait! Walking into the pub every screen was tuned to the same station that would be showing the Jays so I quickly inquired aloud about putting on the Habs game! They are unbeaten after all this season compared to the Maple Leafs seven games in, and continue to be as of this writing at 9-0! Not a chance. Anyway, we did get to see first few innings of the Jays vs. KC then jostled down 2 blocks. 9:05 we should be good. In we go, cool shirts at the merch table so I ask the guy what time The Darkness take the stage. They are on and one song in. Oh well, we missed new song “Barbarian”. A new career highlight for me in concert-going, I have never arrived late, I am that anal about being “early guy”! No worries. Holy wow, the place is packed. I mean shoulder to shoulder. Good! Last 2 times it was busy but not this packed. So we head to the back and find a great spot on a landing that allows my wife and I, both being fairly shorter than most, to see over everyone.
The band is on fire, better than ever and more going on stage in regards to lighting and drum riser. Very cool to see the block lights across the stage that of course will light up in letters during the evening and other fun things. The backdrop LED lighting is great as well. Justin sounds pitch perfect and while not the 5 or so costumes in previous shows, his black and white striped jumpsuit overall fit perfect and I mean perfect, well done.
Dan wails on his Les Paul. I believe him to be extremely underrated as a player and certainly as a live player, his stage presence is phenomenal while playing note for note perfect.
Frankie is the comic relief and backbone on bass. Always finely dressed in his leisure suit, he is forever playing up the crowd and having fun which in turn transfers to the audience. An often missed aspect of a band/musician. If you are not having fun, we can tell!
As for Rufus, the newest member of the band he played awesomely, solid drumming all night. We just couldn’t see him much. He sits low behind his kit and there was nary a light shone on him. (how is that for my English grammar tip ‘o the hat eh?)
The setlist was strong on all fronts, I could use a few more tunes from their second release One Way Ticket but oh well they play almost everything from their first, and I was glad to hear 3 songs from their latest Last of our Kind, well 2, since we missed “Barbarian”. “Mudslide” and “Open Fire” are great rockin’ tunes!
If you want straight ahead hook-heavy, melody filled, nothing but a good time music, you must get yourself to The Darkness live. I have never been let down and three times in they are also not tiring, the energy is so high.
Justin had some fun with a fan’s Blue Jays hat wearing it for quite some time onstage after trading a couple guitar picks for it. He did make sure the fellow received his hat back.
The show was done in time for us to get back to the same pub and catch an inning to see the Jays tie up the score, wait through an hour-long rain delay, but then lose the game by 1 run and the series by 2 games. Oh well, it was a fine season Toronto and a long time in waiting for a return to the playoffs: 22 years.
- Blair De Abreu