Live Evil: Lady Gaga, The Darkness, Lady Starlight Twickenham Stadium Review (Yes, We Stayed To Watch Gaga Too)
So, what happens when one of the best British rock bands of the past twenty years rolls into town supporting one of the biggest pop stars ever, who also happens to be a huge heavy metal fan? We go and get drunk and witness a helluva spectacle, that’s what.
Lady Starlight left a few thousand pop fans looking bemused as hell when she threw out Raining Blood during her set supporting Gaga on her last UK tour, and this time heavy metal’s favourite resident DJ goes one bigger and madder. Dropping Van Der Graaf Generator while throwing a few interpretive dance moves and stalking around the stage in a hooded cloak is never going to instantly win over people who have allegedly been queuing for hours upon hours to see a big-budget pop rock opera, but if the point here was to bemuse, confuse and, yes, actually frighten in equal measure, then it’s job most definitely done.
As it happens, The Darkness write songs made for stadium crowds as easily as it takes most people to take a breath, and though new album Hot Cakes isn’t quite at the level of its two near-perfect predecessors, lead single Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us goes down well with a heart-warmingly healthy Twickenham crowd, while Justin Hawkins schools most modern rock frontmen by inciting some outstanding singalongs to modern classics like Get Your Hands Off My Woman and even managing to incite a crowd clap-along with…erm…his legs.
This really is one of the greatest British rock bands of the modern era doing what they do best to the size of crowd that suits them best, and while it’s extremely unlikely that they’ll ever come close to headlining venues like this again, the fact that they’re back in such emphatic fashion really is a joy to see – even if it is a bit echoey in here.
And yes, we do stick around to see what all the fuss is about with Lady Gaga, and yes, despite whatever you may think of her music, we can confirm that she packs a stage show to rival KISS in the OTT stakes. There’s something ever so slightly edgy about her whole persona that many other pop stars just don’t seem to reach – which may explain some of the rather surprising faces we see dotted around the crowd (you know who you are!) – and beyond that, some of the events that unfold on stage are straight-up batshit mental.
From starting the gig on horseback looking like a cross between a Ringwraith and something out of Alien to busting out a keyboard shaped into a Harley Davidson motorcycle and then actually morphing into a motorcycle herself during a song actually called Heavy Metal Lover, it’s unlike anything we’ve ever seen, and with the stage itself formed of a giant medieval castle with multiple layers, trap doors and revolving turrets, you’d have to think Rob Halford would approve. It’s all pulled off with the kind of swagger that precious few mainstream artists have ever really demonstrated, and though she’ll won’t be imposing herself on Gorgoroth or Kreator’s respective territories any time soon, you’d be hard pushed to find this many beards or black t shirts at a Rihanna gig.
Like we said, you know who you are. Fair play, Gags. Fair play.
Coming next week: Our review of the new Katy Perry album! (Not really)