Resorts World Arena, Birmingham
Tuesday 31st January 2023
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BLACK STONE CHERRY & THE DARKNESS – BIRMINGHAM – LIVE REVIEW
One fateful night many years ago in the depths of the forests of Thetford a relatively spontaneous pairing occurred as Black Stone Cherry jumped in to support The Darkness after an infamous festival cancellation.
I was there that momentous evening to witness the magic that transpired. I was rather pleased then when the two bands announced a co-headline arena tour a decade or so later. So, tonight I head to the Resorts World Arena in Birmingham to relive that fine evening.
Opening on this tour is Danko Jones, who always delivers the goods. You know that you are in for a good rocking with Jones and tonight is no different. When your time onstage is short, you need to make the most of it and that’s exactly what Jones does with a fast paced rock n roll romp.
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The first of our two headliners to take to the stage are The Darkness and as their set progresses I find myself reminiscing of that night in 2012. I remember that the band were fresh into their return and finding their feet again as a live act. The Darkness have always been considered a fantastic live act, but tonight I realise just how much further they’ve come.
Consistently good new material over the past decade has helped, but the band has really fine tuned themselves with drummer Rufus Taylor having a large role in that. The Showmanship of Justin Hawkins, the flamboyance of Frankie Poullain and the flair of Dan Hawkins now have a harnessing force that makes them incredibly slick.
When you then throw in plenty of pyrotechnics, you have a recipe for a stunning show and that’s exactly what The Darkness deliver tonight. From opening number ‘Growing on Me’ through to theatrical set closer ‘Love on the Rocks With No Ice’, The Darkness not only reassert themselves as one of the best live acts around but demonstrate the progress that they’ve made in the last decade.
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Progress is a key word also when considering Black Stone Cherry who close the night this time around. They’ve come a long way in the last ten years and are now a regular arena filling act in the UK.
Tonight their time onstage is perhaps slightly shorter than usual, but they still manage to pack a career spanning setlist into that time. Less theatrical then The Darkness, Black Stone Cherry have always been happy to let the music do the talking and the crowd tonight are more than content with that.
Newer material like ‘Burnin’’, ‘Again’ and their latest single, ‘Out of Pocket’ feel at home in the set and evidence the great work produced by the band since 2012. Of course though tracks from that time like ‘White Trash Millionaire’ and ‘Blame It On The Boom Boom’ elicit huge response from the audience.
These are three different performances tonight from three different bands all bound by the love of rock. I knew walking into the arena that I’d be catching three of the most consistently good live acts on the circuit, so the quality of the evening isn’t a surprise tonight. Walking out of the venue however, I’m most impressed by the growth and evolution shown since that memorable evening in the woods!
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