VENUE: OVO Arena Wembley
DATE: 04.02.2023
ORGANIZER: AEG Presents and Live Nation in association with X-Ray 

Saturday night in old London town is always a treat but even more so when such stellar acts as Danko Jones, The Darkness, and Black Stone Cherry are set to take the stage at OVO Arena Wembley in front of an appreciative and rapturous audience. Three uniquely different bands and yet they complemented each other superbly and made for a wildly entertaining evening. While The Darkness and Black Stone Cherry were co-headliners, Danko Jones was listed as a special guest and kicked things off with a fiery and determined half-hour performance that included some great and punchy tunes in the shape of ‘Full of Regret’, ‘Had Enough’, and ‘Lovercall’ while also displaying just how tight and powerful the trio is. An excellent way to get things rolling.

The Darkness were phenomenal and had the crowd eating out of their hand for roughly 70 minutes. Not only are they in possession of some of rock’s catchiest and most infectious tunes but they also have one of the funniest and most charismatic front men in Justin Hawkins whose every syllable and utterance from the edge of the stage is outright hilarious. More importantly, they played their asses off and never lost their momentum, and there was joy, ecstasy, pyrotechnics, fireworks, arena-sized riffs, killer vocals, and swear words in spades for us to revel in. In many ways, it was pure escapism, but more importantly, it was a fabulous and memorable gig that put a big smile on people’s faces. There was nothing but highlights to be found in the set but for the sake of argument I would argue that ‘Heart Explodes’ and ‘Motorheart’ were the standout moments. Feel free to disagree if you were there.  

Kentucky’s Black Stone Cherry conjured up a massive storm of bluesy hard rock with an endless supply of groove and atmosphere coursing through it, and the quartet was right on the money from the get-go. As with Danko Jones and The Darkness, the sound was pretty damn good where we were sitting and lacked neither crunch nor force. Only an idiot would claim that ‘Me and Mary Jane’, ‘Burnin’’, ‘Again’, ‘White Trash Millionaire’, and ‘Things My Father Said’ are not superbly written and robust compositions with emotional heft to them, and the cool thing is that they came across even better in this particular live setting than on the actual studio LPs. It was simply a beautiful thing to witness these gents on British soil and experience just how impressive the whole affair was, and the amount of energy that was constantly exchanged between the stage and the fans was awe-inspiring to behold. They ended things on a high and climactic note by playing a spirited and rather explosive rendition of ELO’s ‘Don’t Bring Me Down’ – talk about an earworm. Great band, great songs, and a fucking good time!

This was a night to remember and a fantastic time to be a rock ‘n’ roll devotee. Fingers crossed that they will line up a tour similar to this one again soon.

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