The Darkness 

w/ Special Guest: The Dead Deads

The Observatory, OC and The El Rey – Los Angeles, CA

Sunday March 13th and Tuesday, March 15th, 2022

The Observatory: Review and Pictures: Diane Lynn   

The El Rey: Review and Pictures: Marie Randall

Diane Lynn 3/13: The Observatory

The Boys (And Girls) are back in Town!

Opening for The Darkness was a fantastic all female power trio called The Dead Deads. Based in Nashville, these young ladies packed a punch and put on an exhilarating set. They seem to run along various lines of music genre; classic rock meets 90’s grunge meets metal and then some. 

Lead singer and Guitarist: Meta. Bassist and Backing Vocals: Daisy and Drummer: McQueen.

With four full albums already under their belt, the fourth “Tell Your Girls It’s Alright”, just released this past August (2021) I’m positive we’ll be hearing more from this band in the near future.


If you were at any of the recent Southern California stops of the Motorheart Tour, then I know you witnessed a kickass live show! 

The Darkness cruised back into town and blessed us with one of the best shows I have attended in a long time! Last Sunday night the Observatory-OC was jumping with a packed house of longtime, loyal fans. It’s been a minute since The Darkness was in North America, but the fans were definitely ready for them! 

With only a handful of people waiting in line when I first got there (about 90 mins before doors) I thought “this can’t be” but by the time the stage lit up and the music started playing the fans were standing just about shoulder to shoulder. 

With the stage prepped and mics checked The Darkness fell upon us, Dan, Frankie and Rufus took the stage grabbing their instruments and taking their places while grinning with their own excitement. The fans calling out to the band, shouting their favorites name – whipping up the energy and just as it was peaking out popped Justin, decked out in his fuchsia western wear, took center stage and grabbed the mic. 

Tearing into their first song of the night “Welcome Tae Glasgae” from their current album “Motorheart” setting the fans on fire. Next up was “One Way Ticket” then right into “Growing On Me”. 

Most of the set was centered around their widely successful debut studio album “Permission To Land”, but overall they included songs from six of their albums for a total of sixteen songs, including the encore which they ended with the chart topping single “I Believe In A Thing Called Love”.

Early on in the set – during the pause between songs, Justin was handed a couple of handmade birthday cards from a couple of ecstatic fans in the front, after opening each one he graciously said thank you as an impromptu “Happy Birthday” was sung to him from the crowd. His birthday was just a few days away (my fellow Pisces) and you could tell from his reaction he was truly touched.  

Justin Hawkins is quite the showman, with a commanding presence, a flair for fashion (several eyebrow raising costume changes throughout the set) paired with his positively electric vocals, there’s really no comparison, he is a standout front man!

Guitarist Dan Hawkins stayed just right of stage with the occasional step up on the risers to rock out with his brother to which the crowd responded every time. Whether he was upfront or a step back, those fierce guitar licks were played with purpose!   

Frankie Poullain, Bassist, he’s definitely got the right stuff when it comes to laying down those deep bass licks, and when he later came out in his satin looking “smoking Jacket” I decided he was the “Mr. Coolness” of the band. 

Drummer Rufus Tiger Taylor was tucked in nice and tight behind the drums. The timekeeper of the band and definitely a power hitter while keeping the band on pace. Also, another fellow Pisces in the band… 

With all four of these amazing talents on stage together, performing live music, they leave you with one heck of a rock n roll experience at the end of the show! 

Speaking of the end of the show, this one ended with a Man Bun(s)! Writing that sentence in a review is a first for me butt as you can see it was necessary! 

Thank you to The Darkness for having me out, it was one amazing show, my ears were still ringing the next morning. 

The Darkness at The Observatory, Santa Ana, CA, USA Setlist


Marie Randall 3/15: The El Rey

Joining The Darkness as openers on this tour are the Nashville power pop/punk trio The Dead Deads. The pairing of the Darkness and the Dead Deads is by far the best concert dance card I’ve seen in a long while. 

The band were shipmates with The Darkness on the 2019 Kiss Kruise. They were then asked by The Darkness to tour with the them on their 2019 Easter is Cancelled tour, when, in an ironic twist of fate, Easter was in fact cancelled due to Covid. But the boys remembered them and luckily they were able to rejoin the band this year in support of their latest album, “Tell Your Girls It’s Alright“.


At 8:00 pm The Dead Deads took to the stage. McQueen on drums, Daisy on bass, and Meta on guitar. With black Xs drawn over their eyes, the band was visually dramatic-drummer McQueen especially so. At the end of their set, the drum kit was kicked over, Keith Moon style. Their songs are grungy, heavy, moody, and poppy, often within the same song! I could hear everything from the Pixies to Sabbath in their songs.

Equally entertaining was their roadie/tech/manager Baja Erik, who could be seen rocking out at the side of the stage. We’re talking going from being prostrate to leaping and high kicking-all in red stiletto heels! 



Gimme a D! Gimme an Arkness!!! The glorious, the majestic, The Darkness pulled up to the El Rey theater on Tuesday, March 15th to rock the pandemic-weary City of Angels. The only thing contagious on this evening would be fun and thumbs up!

The El Rey was the fifth show of the band’s North American tour in support of their new album, Motorheart. Their seventh studio album which was made during the pandemic. The band is taking on a grueling schedule-hopscotching the U.S. until the end of April. And their fans are appreciative, with many traveling from all parts of the country to see them-and on this evening there was a family that made the trip from Mexico City!

At 8:58, the majestic strains of Abba’s Arrival began, signaling that The Darkness was close at hand. They opened with the chest thumping “Welcome Tae Glasgae“, a tribute to one of the band’s favorite cities. Next up was “One Way Ticket” wherein bassist Frankie Poullain showed off his celebrated cowbell skills. The set list touched upon all but one of the band’s albums-there were no songs from the album “Hot Cakes”.

The crowd knew every word whenever guitarist and lead singer Justin Hawkins thrust out his microphone for audience participation. In between songs, Justin joked and challenged the crowd with a call and response, which grew ever more challenging. The man is a force of nature and his voice is incredible. I do believe he’s one of the greatest front men in all of Rock. The band is incredibly tight. Bassist Frankie Poullain and drummer Rufus Taylor are in lockstep. Guitarist (and brother of Justin) Dan Hawkins is in constant motion and drenched in sweat only a few songs into the set. It’s truly a thing of beauty to watch the Hawkins Brothers trading off licks on their Gibson Les Pauls. 

And of course it wouldn’t be a concert by The Darkness without a few costume changes. First was Justin’s hot pink western-style combo with neck scarf. Later on, it was a gold-fringed catsuit. Frankie also showed off his sartorial elegance, donning a tasteful smoking jacket during his brief bass solo. 

But the piece de resistance came at the encore, during which Justin strolled out in a pair of black Balmain underwear, black leather vest and motorcycle cap. At this point Justin asked that the crowd to put down their cell phones and just live in the moment and bounce together with the band to “I Believe in a Thing Called Love“. 

If you’re a fan of rock and roll, or just want a fun night out- go see The Darkness and get there early to see The Dead Deads. Thumbs up!

****Also my thanks to Jo from the Darkness crew and the El Rey staff for being so cool.

The Darkness at El Rey Theatre, Los Angeles, CA, USA Setlist


Related Links:

The Darkness


The Dead Deads