On the same evening that New York Jets Running Back Curtis Martin get’s elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, can you believe that’s only the second best thing that happened today? Well, The 64th installment of the Jay Pork Never Ending Concert Series may have had something to do with that. Tonight brings us to Irving Plaza in NYC for an epic evening with The Darkness! Along with Foxy Shazam (Which ‘thenaturalstoner‘ praises for their latest stellar release), and I believe some other band they threw on the card that will be named in the next paragraph or so. This is great for so many reasons. First trip back to Irving Plaza since the Joe Budden debacle, and as I recall I noted to show up earlier this time and make it a must to get a better spot. Irving Plaza is also the venue me and my friend Pam scalped the fake Alice In Chains tickets and got beat on 100 bucks. Bad things have happened here. But, it’s the freaking Darkness! A band that people don’t know til you sing them the chorus from “I Believe In A Thing Called Love”, and even then they snort in derision. “You’re going to see that band?”. Yea actually I am. I can recall actually having a professor of mine at the College of Staten Island last semester breakdown the Epicness of the Darkness to some classmate who claimed they were a “one hit wonder”. That teacher said he’ll be in attendance tonight, and I will be looking for him(Brian Cogan author of many books available on Amazon, including the “Encyclopedia of Punk”). So there’s that and hey, it’s our first 2012 show-time to get back in the swing of things. I kicked it off huge last year with GWAR, and I expect The Darkness deliver as well (Well, except the “one of the guys in the band dying” part anyway). So let’s get this show on the road shall we?
So after freezing outside on a line for about an hour, they decided to open the doors. I happened to be standing next to a couple outside who I got to chatting it up with. Totally cool people, it was all laughs and talking past show experiences. Love that shit. And it was either Connecticut or New Hampshire they were from I can’t remember because I’m a terrible friend. But I know they were in a hotel and I know they were nice enough to warm me up with some of their Jagermeister while we waited for doors to open. Awesome. Finally some people who are friendly! I’m standing next to someone who says there is a second opener in addition to Foxy Shazam. I’m sure as hell hope not. Anyway I was able to snag a standing room spot upstairs, so video is happening tonight (we hope).
At 9 on the dot, a band fronted by a guy wearing rainbow zebra pants hit the stage. This band turned out to be Crown Jewel Defense- they’ve been on tour with Darkness overseas they say, and by the looks of their wardrobe I believe them. These guys look like before they formed this band they played as a Darkness cover band the way everyone’s pants hugging testicles. I mean, these guys aren’t that bad- they’re tight as a band. This guy has painted lines under his eyes like a Native American chief or something. What the hell goes on with life? A whole 24 minutes of their set went by fairly quickly, before the last song there was chants of “No more songs!” from the Irving Plaza crowd. Wasn’t me this time I swear.
Foxy Shazam came out at 9:40, and were totally freaking cool from the get go. Lead singer grabs the microphone and says: “I know Rock and Roll is dead but that doesn’t mean we can’t dance with it’s fucking ghost!!”. Hell yes! THIS is a band I can get into. They kicked it off with a song called “The Only Way to My Heart”-you had me at “The”! The lead singer jumps on the lead guitarist’s shoulders as he’s playing his little solo part, humps the back of his head. They got what I thought was hydraulic keyboards going on over there, but that was just the dude enjoying lifting it and moving it into obscure angles, including upside down to end the set. He was standing (and stomping) on that keyboard for a while there. Their lead singer is something else. All over the place, crazy swinging the mic-stand around and catching it.. Little bit of Iggy in him,
you know, minus the blood and peanut butter. During the set he asked if anyone in the crowd has a cigarette, he was tossed one with a light and lit it up. He takes a few puffs, and EATS IT. The dude ate a lit cigarette on stage! That’s what I call showmanship right there, that’s a front man I want to see more of… I feel like I’ve said this before, but this band sounds exactly like it’s name. Foxy Shazam.. just say it like this Foxy Sha-ZAM!!..Their set was over at 10:09. Then the wait for the Darkness had begun.
Hey, message to the dudes behind me-bump me again, and I’m going to turn around and punch somebody. The dance floor is downstairs if you wanna boogie, there was 5 of us that ran up here for a reason-to get away from you idiots.
So at like 10:50, the lights went off and a little intro music for a minute or so before they appeared before us: THE DARKNESS !
Rocking a stache like no other, decked out in an American Flag themed outfit looking like Johnny Depp meets Freddie Mercury. The place has filled out to the gills and going completely crazy.. these people are screaming so loud I could barely hear the notes at first. Started it with “Black Shuck” and went into “Growing on Me” from there. As someone who writes stuff on the interwebs, this point of the show I’m in heaven with a great spot and no event staffers in sight. I’m rolling, I’m gonna get this whole freaking thing! “The Best of Me”, “One Way Ticket to Hell and Back”, “Nothin’s Gonna Stop Us”(The music video they release a few days ago), and “Get Your Hands Off My Women”-with the only one I wasn’t recording was the new one.
To me, this set happens in portions. The above paragraph is me rocking out doing my Social Media Journalistic duties from the 2nd floor leaning over the railing, recording songs like the rest of the room-except I’m not using an iPhone. So this schmuck starts tapping me on the shoulder during “Can’t Believe It’s Not Love” and demands I put the camera away. Really dude? Again, I can’t stress this enough, IF YOU DON’T WANT ME TO BRING A CAMERA, THEN PUT IT IN THE EVENT INFO! You can’t just make up rules. Besides the fact of all the pot smoke and cigarettes being smoked downstairs. But no, me standing next the mom of one Foxy Shazam’s photographers with a little tiny camera is a problem. Screw you guy, you almost ruined my night.
It was at that point I realized my kidney’s were not up to the task of holding this urine in much longer, and since this great spot has gone to waste thanks to that event staff prick, might as well hit the head right about now. And I promise you this is how it went down, I can’t make this up. I run downstairs as I hear that Justin Hawkins is strumming an acoustic, but now I’m on the run to the stall and as soon as I close that door and begin to relieve myself, I hear that the song they’re playing is “Holding My Own”.. as I look down and, let’s face it, I too am also holding my own. I ran back upstairs because I heard “Love Is Only a Feeling” about to get started and I got up there and couldn’t see a freaking thing it’s so packed out. I was so mad for that split second I swung my fist towards the wall and almost punched it, I pulled back before I hit it (damn people watching me must think I’m a nutcase). I walked downstairs and sat back to enjoy this great song, and this great night. Eff that guy-I got “Growing On Me” that’s gonna have 100′s of views by next week. Porks 1, Event Staff 0.
Some bands let you down with their live performance-that is not the case here tonight. I cannot believe this guy can hit those high notes like that in real life-too bad Queen isn’t still looking for a front man to tour with-because THIS would be the guy. And keep now I’ve moved to the bar, and I’m watching the on stage happenings on a flat screen TV. I’m being blown away through a Television! This back end of the set they actually mixed in a few new songs too, that Justin said is on an album they’re working on. Good news for us Darklings. “Friday Night”(I love that song) was followed by a new one called “Everybody Have a Good Time”. He said it was “Everybody Have a Mother Fucking Good Time”, but the chorus didn’t have the expletive in it, so I’ll assume it’s not going in the title. “Givin’ Up” was in there too at some point, my iPod was dead I couldn’t take the songs down in order..Their were at least 2 more new ones in there that we weren’t privileged to be given the names of before the night was over. They went off well after Midnight, with “I Believe In A Thing Called Love” being the last song before the encore, and it was already 12:10 by then.
What a night. Feels so good to get back in the swing of things for 2012-as much as I love discussing festival lineups and trying to plan trips to Beale St., it fells so freaking good typing every single word of this as the clock ticks past 5AM. Tons of other shows coming this year, as we try and top last years total of 23: We got DMX coming up, Kasabian at Terminal 5 in March, Local H coming back at the Mercury Lounge in April. Fun times, fun times indeed. But here’s something not fun: I have a restaurant to open up in 4 hours-working til 9PM. And you know what, maybe someone get’s Merlot instead of Cabernet later because I’m so shot from all this madness… but it was all so damn worth it. Thanks for sticking around for all this jibber jabbar-stay tuned.