By Christi Vest, Rock At Houston Correspondent
Venue: House of Blues, Houston–April 19, 2016–The Darkness-Back in the USSA Tour with RavenEye and Catch Fever
Even with record breaking floods in and around Houston, with road closures making it impossible for some to even leave their home and threats of the rain and flooding to continue, there were quite a few people who still “Believed in a thing called love” and cautiously made their way to the Houston House of Blues to see the highly entertaining band, The Darkness during the Back to the USSA tour.
Houston’s own Indie/Electronic/Alternative rock duo, Catch Fever opened the night to a small subdued crowd. Consisting of guitarist/vocalist Taylor Huffman and Josh Wilson on bass/keys/backup vocals, this two-piece formed in 2013 and began writing on their debut album, Shiny Eyes soon after. I was very impressed with the full sound that came from the stage with just two band members. I was surprised I had never heard of them before. Thankfully more people trickled in during their set and by the end, I know they had made new fans. Me being one of them. Can’t wait to see/hear these guys play again.
Catch Fever in Houston – April 19, 2016
Next up was RavenEye. Despite a small hiccup at the beginning with the PA, this trio blew in on the stage with one purpose–to ROCK…and boy did they! Award winning guitarist/singer Oli Brown, drummer Kev Hickman and bassist Aaron Spiers were not only incredible musicians but their stage show was insane to watch. Oli had such a strong, soulful rock voice – I could not help but wish I could hear it acoustic–it reminded me a bit of Chris Cornell. Oli was a fantastic frontman – straddling the bass drum while playing the guitar, jumping into the photo pit and getting in the crowd’s faces. He definitely got the crowd pumped up! Halfway through the set, Oli got on Aaron’s shoulders and they continued playing to an amazed crowd who was cheering them on. It blew my mind – all I kept thinking was “Why hasn’t anyone ever done this before? This is freaking AWESOME!!” Drummer Kev Hickman did not let being behind a drum kit keep him from completely ruling the stage at times. With his long, curly locks and infectious smile, this guy was amazing! The only thing lacking was a harness raising him high above the stage while he headbanged and beat the shit out of the drums. Seriously…if this happens this show will need a disclaimer because it will cause people’s heads to explode.
RavenEye in Houston–April 19, 2016
Formed in 1999, The Darkness is a British hard rock, glam metal band. Unless you were living under a rock in 2003, you heard the song “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” from their debut album Permission to Land. The cheesy video. The hair. The crab. One of the only lyrics that can seriously crack me up “Touching you. Touching me. Touching you cause you’re touching me” – I’m cracking up while typing it! Since RavenEye’s drummer was not playing the drums from a harness above the stage, my head was still intact.That is until Justin Hawkins waltzed out on stage wearing an outfit that looked like he just came from taming lions at the circus.
This show was a whirlwind of entertainment. Even when Justin was talking to the crowd, people hanging on every word, smiles on faces, a sense of excitement coming from everyone. By now the floor was completely packed. Two dudes in cowboy hats and boots, some women in nice dresses and some wearing shorts and flip flops. It’s not often that I’ve seen big men that probably drive Harley’s, yelling and singing along to every word from a “glam rock” band. It was awesome! It was easy to see, that this crowd that braved the Houston weather absolutely LOVED The Darkness – and why shouldn’t they? A singer dressed like a lion tamer who not only will stand on his head and sing, but who also has this amazing vocal range and is hilarious!! He was very talkative between songs and thanked the crowd numerous times for braving the weather. He took one person’s phone and posed with it and then picked people from the crowd to yell “Fuck Yeah”. Very much the comedian. At one point he pointed out a man in the crowd with a “mustache like Tom Selleck post Magnum P.I.” and asked him to come on stage. The man, who introduced himself as Mike sat down and one of the crew guys brought him a water while Justin started singing “Friday Night”. Soon, Mike and the rest of the crowd were singing along. Playing a 14 song set with a two song encore, The Darkness ended the night with Justin playing the guitar while walking through the crowd on someone’s shoulders. Maybe this is a new trend??
I absolutely loved this show and by the smiling faces, endless laughter and the fact that just about everyone knew all the lyrics to every song, I wasn’t the only one.
Funniest moment-During The Darkness’ set the lights in the back spelled out C*NT….naughty boys!
Note to Houston – check out Catch Fever if you get a chance. Very impressive.
Note to photographers – I met Aaron Spiers, bassist of RavenEye after their set and informed him that they are now my heroes and to please do “guitarist on the bassist’s shoulders” trick during one of the first three songs! Hopefully someone will get that shot! 😉
Not to everyone – if you get the chance to see The Darkness during their Back in the USSA tour..DO IT!!
The Darkness – Houston April 19, 2016
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