My Sunday was rescued from being a snooze fest by The Darkness! The British band played a packed Varsity Theater as part of their “Blast of our kind” tour.
Opener In the Whale is a high energy, two piece rock band hailing from Denver, CO. Members Nate Valdez (vocals and guitar) and Eric Riley (drums and backing vocals) have been making no nonsense, balls-to-the-wall rock songs since they formed the band in 2011. Everything you know about the band’s attitude you can gleam from their web site and favorite hashtag inthewhalesucks.com / #inthewhalesucks. From the moment they hit the stage the duo proceeded to kick ass, take name and taunt the audience to get them fired up. Faced with a stoic midwestern audience they kept prodding and pushing until they had the crowd eat out of their hand. For good measure they got everyone to crouch down and then jump up and go ape on command.
Their music is straight up, in your face rock with a bit of punk tossed in. In the Whale has been playing several large festivals. In one comment to the crowd they described themselves as “Fluffer Band” with the job to get the audience lubed up so The Darkness could slide right in. Their gig in Minneapolis is a bit of a Rock Cinderella story. The Darkness’ opener for Denver (These Raven Skies) had cancelled so In the Whale was asked to fill in. The Brits liked them so much, they asked if they could open in Minneapolis as well.
Check out their Website or their music on Bandcamp
While The Darkness only have been around since 2000 they feel like one is back in the Glory Days of 70s Glam Rock (but with modern twists). Taking to the stage to a Mike Oldfield tune, they opened with Barbarian and delivered a set that was as high in energy as it was in fun. The lights at the back of the stage must have been borrowed from nearby TCF stadium each time they lit up it felt the temperature rise and half expected to see a sunburn when I got home.
What stood out for me where the fans. I have rarely see so many grins and smiles in a front row. And The Darkness was feeling it too. At one point lead singer Justin Hawkins to the audience that he loved how many were singing along to the band’s new songs. And as a reward, he said, we will now play one of our older songs.
Hawkins also gave a shout out to In the Whale, calling them ACE!
Overall a great and fun set the a veteran band that knows their audience. As a bonus, here is a bit of trivia about The Darkness’ connection to exotic Golden Valley, MN brought to you by The Current
Growing on Me
One Way Ticket
Love Is Only a Feeling
English Country Garden
Every Inch of You
Rack of Glam
Get Your Hands Off My Woman
Stuck in a Rut
I Believe in a Thing Called Love
Street Spirit (Radiohead cover)
Love on the Rocks With No Ice