The Darkness at Park West in Chicago, IL

The Darkness continues their Motorheart Tour throughout the US, making a welcome return to Chicago’s Park West accompanied by The Dead Deads.

The term “Ones to Watch” is banded around a lot, but never has there been a more apt phrase when referring to up-and-comers The Dead Deads. The Nashville-based three-piece are currently kicking up a storm as the openers on this tour. Those in attendance at Chicago’s Park West were fully engrossed in the powerful performance, something that is no mean feat. If you have tickets for this tour, do yourself a favor and make sure you get there early to catch The Dead Deads – you will certainly not be disappointed. Besides The Darkness, they have already found themselves opening for the likes of Halestorm, KISS, Seether, Stone Sour, and many more. 

Any praise you hear about The Dead Deads is truly warranted. From the moment the trio took to the stage, they blew the roof off with their blend of punk, metal, grunge, and rock. It’s refreshing to see new bands like this emerging. They undoubtedly picked up a large number of new followers after this impassioned performance. 

After an opening act like that, you can’t help but think to yourself, “How can anyone top that?!” But then you remember, the band taking to the stage is The Darkness. Justin Hawkins is the epitome of what you need in a frontman of a band. He has style, charisma, and a good dose of a British sense of humor. He’s like the Energizer bunny personified. It’s no wonder he would climb the barrier in front of the crowd – the small stage was just not big enough to contain such a large personality. 

The Darkness are always such a fun band to see live. After all of these years, seeing Hawkins strut around the stage in his catsuits still brings joy to the fans as they sing along whole-heartedly to all of the songs both old and new. You always know what you’re going to get. Dan Hawkins will always play the dark and mysterious guitarist being sultry in the corner while rocking a power stance, occasionally bouncing along to the catchy beat. Frankie Poullain will always provide an element of funk, adding the occasional cowbell with such a look of pride on his face. You can’t always see Rufus Taylor, but you can certainly hear him and see his flailing arms as he pounds on the drums in an Animal-like manner. 

The adrenaline is kept at 11 all night. There’s no dip in this set, there are no slow songs. Every song is a song to bounce to, to scream in the face of your friends next to you, and maybe the stranger on the other side of you, too. They kicked off the set with “Welcome Tae Glasgae,” “One Way Ticket,” followed by “Growing On Me.” With that, the show was off to a roaring start! As Justin shouts to the crowd, “Give me a ‘D!'” those who have been to their shows before knew what was coming next and beat him to the punchline of “Give me an ‘Arkness!'”

It’s been four years almost to the date since The Darkness were in this very venue. They were scheduled to tour the Easter is Cancelled album in 2020, also with The Dead Deads, but we all know what happened there. Since then, they have released another album, Motorheart, so this tour is supporting it. They performed just three songs from the new album throughout the night, making sure they had enough time to cram the oldies but goodies in there. It wouldn’t be one of their shows without hearing “Black Shuck,” “Keep Your Hand Off My Woman,” “Love Is Only A Feeling,” and, of course, “I Believe In A Thing Called Love.”

It’s always been incredible to hear the range of Justin’s voice. But the fact that he can bounce around the stage all night, jumping off the drum riser, climbing the barrier in front of the crowd, while singing these incredibly high notes throughout the entire set is still unbelievable. 

As the crowd filtered out of Park West with croaky voices just from attempting to hit those high notes, a great and enjoyable night was had by all. The joy of hearing live music will never get old, especially when there are performances such as these. 

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About Kirstine Walton 383 Articles
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!