It’s not often I’ll go on about a support act, but Foxy Shazam deserve a mention. There was another opener, but I have no idea who they were – even the Academy’s website didn’t bother to list them. Foxy Shazam, though… wow. The first time I heard their name was when I checked the aforementioned website to find out who was supporting about an hour before the doors opened. After a quick peak on YouTube, I decided “yes, I should get there early enough for this bunch”.
They were most definitely, for me, worth turning up for although opinions were divided. I was stood behind a woman who looked like she was wearing a huge blonde wig. I happened to glance at her ridiculously decoratively nailed fingers as she texted someone. “Just not getting this. Singer’s a bit of a knob.” This from someone Â who’d paid money to see Justin Hawkins & co, and who was wearing a Steel Panther t-shirt. Two of the biggest “knobs” in frontsmen, and she reckons someone else is a bit of a nutjob?
In fairness, he was a bit of a knob. But a funny one, and certainly the most hyperactive lead singer I think I’ve ever witnessed on stage. Hell, the whole band were in permanent motion and there are 6 of them. I’m amazed there weren’t any accidents. The keyboard player with the huge beard spent a good portion of the set with one or both feet on the keys, or trying to play the huge instrument like a guitar. The bassist, at one point, had his guitar balanced by the head end upside down in one hand above his head. The singer, towards the end, was sat on the guitarist’s shoulders.
Mental. What they crammed into a thirty minute set, many other bands barely manage to hit you with in ninety.
Oh, and the songs weren’t half bad either. Definitely one to watch out for.
And shortly after, the headliners. The Darkness blasted on stage to a rendition of “Black Shuck”, the brothers Hawkins acted as if the band hadn’t been on a forced hiatus after the lead singer decided that cocaine was a viable alternative to three square meals a day. Tight, fun, bouncy and loud.
The only other time I’ve seen them live was at Leeds Festival when they were still riding high with the one album under their wing. This didn’t make for a good set as the album is only around 45 minutes long and they played for ninety, which means a huge amount of filler including two unfinished songs. This time, however, was much improved.
Beginning the gig inside a huge cage, drummer Ed Graham was “released” part way through – the only major piece of stage work. The rest of the gimmicks relied on a couple of indoor fireworks and a ton of lights. And it worked just fine, thanks.
I think the band have had their day and are about where they should be after all the ridiculous hype around them when Permission To LandÂ came out. They pretty much filled the Academy (not quite as much as Motorhead the other night, but still packed out), and the crowd had a whale of a time. The place was visibly jumping when the expected encore of “I Believe In A Thing Called Love” began.
Not the huge stadium-filling megastars their record obviously thought they should be a few years ago, but damn good fun all the same.