Decibel’s “Braintrust” Sees the Darkness in Philly

I didn’t watch the Super Bowl. I’ve died many small deaths with the loser-ass Jets for 26 years and really wasn’t in the mood for one more dick in the ear. Instead, I Netflix Instant-ed this…

… which had its moments, but wasn’t long enough to sufficiently ignore the entire game. And so just as I commit to masochistic fourth quarter hate-watching, on pops this commercial:

Now, remember, this is Sunday. I was eagerly anticipating our esteemed editor-in-chief Albert returning to Philly for the first time since the birth of his daughter, not because I wanted to see baby pictures, but because he hooked us up for the Darkness show at the Trocadero on Tuesday. So, sure, the band had been bouncing around the periphery of my mind (along with wishing I had two dicks and considering throwing some espionage/stolen plutonium in my next novel). But I think it’s safe to say nobody on fucking earth anticipated a zillion dollar commercial in which Justin Hawkins Kool-Aid Manned his way into a world where a bunch of smartphone cunts knew every word to the nine-year-old “I Believe in a Thing Called Love.”

This, of course, meant the Troc show would be beyond sold out. Albert and I got lit elsewhere and timed it perfectly, walking in just as the lights went down to their intro music (“The Boys Are Back in Town,” nice). We spent the first four-and-a-half songs in the balcony upstairs, so we could drink more, which was a mistake on multiple levels. First, the ceiling slants down severely, so if and only if you sat on the barf/beer/jizz-stained carpet behind the back row, you could maybe get a sweet panoramic view of the band from the waist down. Second, they fucking opened with “Black Shuck,” “Growing on Me,” some jam I’ve never heard, gotta check out second album deep cuts again, and “One Way Ticket.” Justin was wearing a stars-and-stripes jumpsuit. You don’t want to be sitting Indian-style in smegma for that.

(these pictures suck; blame albert)


At this point, Albert and I decided to play Vonta Leach and Ray Rice. This didn’t entail unzipping our pants so much as him fucking bulldozing all the way to roughly the sixth row, and me nimbly following in his destructive wake. Immediate consequences were paid via two 97-pound girls (could’ve been dudes; there were a lot of wigs) punching him in the shoulder blades. But mission accomplished: we were in the middle of, well, not a pit so much as a bunch of smartphone cunts fist-pumping to the new kinda-weak-but-whatever-it’s-better-than-the-shit-Andrew-W.K.-puts-out single “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us.”

It was at this point when I realized I only really know-know like eight Darkness songs. As for Albert, uh, don’t be surprised when Permission to Land shows up in the Hall of Fame someday. He was making fast friends with the various fatties and weirdos requesting songs the band debuted, like, a day ago in NYC while I patiently waited for “Get Your Hands Off My Woman” and “Love Is Only a Feeling” to rule faces. Maybe an hour into it, they busted out a beyond radical Blue Oyster Cult-esque cover of Radiohead’s “Street Spirit (Fade Out)” that nobody seemed to recognize for some reason. Oh my god, it was the best. Radiohead can feel free to redeem the last 15 pointless years of their career by covering “Growing on Me” any day now. Thom’s dance goes perfect with that one.


around the world

Like true showmen, they saved the best for the encore. No, not “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” (it ended the main set, and was excellent), but a possibly 20-minute version of “Love on the Rocks With No Ice,” which involved a) Justin leading the crowd in a ridiculous falsetto call-and-response, b) a bouncer carrying Justin, soloing the whole fucking time, the perimeter of the floor on his shoulders, c) Justin climbing up to the balcony Ed Ved-style and swan-diving almost right onto us (I touched his boot OMG!). Oh right, I also caught a pick (well, picked it up off the ground after the dorks in front of me whiffed), which was attached to Justin’s bare chest by god knows what. Good show. Listening to the second album as I type, it’s only got a few clear-cut winners, but I assure you: they will all rule live.