The Darkness // Kris Barras // Live Review // O2 Shepherds Bush Empire // London

The last two nights of the ‘Motorheart’ UK tour saw The Darkness take residency in London at the wonderful O2 Shepherds Bush Empire. This was the end of an extremely successful run of shows up and down the country throughout November and December. Original support was to be British Lion, but that changed to Massive Wagons who supported right up until the last two shows where the Kris Barras Band, well half of them anyway stepped in to fulfil the last two dates. Covid has a lot to answer for.

This tour as the name suggests was in support of their brand new album titled ‘Motorheart’ released in October and is your typical full of riffs album backed up by Justin’s falsetto vocals. Yet another killer album by one of the best band’s in British rock, if you haven’t already, check out Justin Hawkin’s Rides Again on youtube where he discusses all things Rock ‘N’ Roll, I’d say he would give his own album a BIG thumbs up! and rightly so, pure Darkness goodness from start to finish.

8 pm sees the lights go down and Kris Barras and Josiah J Manning take to the stage and take to the two seats that are already placed on the stage. These guys literally stepped in at the last minute after that dreadful Covid took Massive Wagons off of the bill. They were set up for an acoustic set, but no way was this a quiet affair. They kick off with an older track but a firm favourite with Kris Barras fans, ‘Heart On Your Sleeve’. This is followed by a track from the upcoming new album ‘Death Valley Paradise’ out next March, and a track that featured heavily on Planet Rock recently, the wonderful ‘Dead Horses’. The next two are also tracks from the new album, ‘These Voices’ and ‘My Parade’, with the latter a definite crowd favourite with a highly addictive chorus.

The penultimate track is another that Kris Barras fans know every word to, especially the chorus and by the end of this song even the crowd here tonight that have not experienced Kris Barras before were singing the chorus back. They finish with a funky bluesy cover of ‘All Along The Watchtower’ which ends a fabulous 30-minute set.

The stage cleared and the anticipation was building for the main event. The area in front of the stage and up to the barrier was covered in confetti which was a definite spoiler for what was to happen later in the show, especially when you looked up and saw a load of large buckets ready to pour.

The lights went down again and at 9 pm Scottish music was streamed across the venue with the stage lights pulsing to the beat. Suddenly silhouettes appeared and the crowd went wild as the band took to the stage and launched into ‘Welcome To Glasgae’ before a quick guitar change then ‘One Way Ticket’. As usual, the flamboyant frontman was on fine form leaping all over the stage and putting on a fantastic performance. As said earlier, this tour was to promote the new album ‘Motorheart’ and after opening with a track from it, it wasn’t long before we were treated to the title track itself. These tracks from the new release were nicely arranged in the setlist amongst more well-known songs and fitted beautifully. The audience were indeed treated to a fabulous display of rock n roll including festive outfits and of course the confetti shower.

This was a wonderful end to a wonderful tour that has been a welcome distraction through these tough times and I am sure all who have attended any of the shows on this tour, would like to thank all who made this happen and will no doubt look forward to doing it all again in 2022.

The Darkness is a band that put on a wonderful show to go along with the music and always leave the crowd with a smile on their faces.

This was a 10/10 performance by one of the most flamboyant frontmen on the scene today, and the new album is definite to check out…


Photography & Review : Will Carter

Two Finger Media





MOTORHEART tracklisting:
Welcome Tae Glasgae
It’s Love, Jim
The Power And The Glory Of Love
Jussy’s Girl
Sticky Situations
Nobody Can See Me Cry
Speed Of The Nite Time
You Don’t Have To Be Crazy About Me… But It Helps *
It’s A Love Thang (You Wouldn’t Understand) *
So Long *

* – bonus deluxe tracks
Motorheart is available to buy in multiple formats from the band’s Official Store

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