The Darkness, HMV Picturehouse HH

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**

In 2003, The Darkness bewildered the world with their odd mix of classic rock and cheeky pop.

Led by the outlandish Justin Hawkins, there was an ironic, almost Spinal Tap, comedy to their act and songs which instantly captured an impressively large fan base. Seven years on, however, the comedy seems to have wavered and the self-indulgent guitar solos have taken over.

The band’s history has been a troublesome one, with various departures and personal struggles leaving them in disarray. Earlier this year, however, a reunion tour was announced which saw the original line-up back together again. Could they re-capture what was once a winning formula? Sadly not.

After being around for so long, it seems baffling that the band only have two albums to their name. The absence of a steady back catalogue meant their set was unnecessary tedious and relied too much on their old material to rescue energy levels.

Their initial appeal of caricature rock has run its course and any chemistry within the band seems non existent. There are expectations on The Darkness to put on an engaging show because of their reputations but a disillusionment with their musical past seems evident.

Undeniably though, Hawkins’ voice is frighteningly skilled and when matched with his catsuit costume changes and a few pyrotechnics, which were thrown in for good measure, it seems you can’t fault his talents as a flaunting frontman. But, there is still something fundamentally missing.

Music has moved on from the time of the band’s success and watching their set seemed awkwardly outdated as we no longer need a parody of Thin Lizzy or a replica of AC/DC.

They have everything in place for a perfect rock band; loud guitars, a strutting front man and costumes that Kiss would be proud of, but it falls flat. They’re an oddity; not tongue-in-cheek enough to be completely funny but certainly not original enough to be consider an important band. Sadly, the novelty has well and truly worn off for The Darkness.