took the stage last night at the Agora with a clear agenda to shock and awe. The British hard rock band began the show with “Open Fire,” which quickly lead into “Love Is Only a Feeling.” "Love" was a feeling the packed crowd seemed to share as fans screamed and cheered on a gyrating Justin Hawkins.
Hawkins has the body language of a wild cheetah and looked as if he were perched and ready to pounce at any moment. Even his screeching falsetto sounded feline. He wore a skintight spandex leopard jumpsuit that complemented him so well he may have come out of the womb wearing it. After a few songs, he unzipped the jumpsuit so that the top half just dangled helplessly around his naked waist, revealing the shiny Ikea-bag-blue interior of the fabric.
Bass player Frankie Poullain looked equally retro and wore a 1970s-inspired velvet mustard suit. Paired with his messy afro, it made him look like he stepped straight out of Boogie Nights
The night continued with the raucous “All the Pretty Girls,” “Friday Night” and “Solid Gold. The band performed them with all the bravado and bluster only it could deliver. At times, Hawkins voice was slightly muffled, and once he talked to the crowd with the mic completely turned off, so nobody could hear a word. Despite such technical glitches, he was in great spirits and seemed to be a guy who rolls with the punches, his positive spirit infecting the fans.
The show was an overflowing indulgence of visceral pleasure. Watching the Darkness perform gives you that kind of queasy sugar rush of eating too much red velvet cake with extra cream cheese frosting, but you can’t stop yourself from shakily lifting your fork to your mouth for another taste. They are crotch bulges and bell bottoms and chest hair.
At one point, Hawkins literally had a fan peeling off his jacket for him. Hawkins completed an impressive spread eagle handstand in front of the drum kit with his legs clapping to the beat. He took a piggy back ride on a bald bouncer’s shoulders through the crowd while playing his guitar.
For the encore, Hawkins went backstage to change costumes and reappeared wearing nothing but tiny Daisy Duke sailor shorts and white sneakers with neon orange laces. He looked like he was ready to lead a 1983 Jane Fonda workout. Probably nobody else on this planet could have pulled off that look so successfully. The band closed out the show with “Japanese Prisoner of Love” and the huge hit “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” before ending the night with “Love on the Rocks with No Ice.”