Darkness 2013@ Inverness Ironworks, November 21 2013

Roll the clock back 10 years and you’ll have found the country in the grips of war and political turmoil.

But if you were a fan of the British hard rock scene at the time, The Darkness will have been going to war on your ear drums. 

The superb Permission To Land had given a much-needed crotch grab to the genre and the Lowestoft power quartet reproduced the magic on the banks of the Ness on Thursday night.

Strutting like a Lycra-clad Mick Jagger, Justin Hawkins has lost none of his enthusiasm and clamour for showmanship.

New track The Horn is aptly-written for the flamboyant frontman, a shock-rock anthem built around the chorus of “I’ve got the horn, everything you do just turns me on”.

Get Your Hands Off My Woman kick-started the nostalgic rockathon while trademark hit I Believe In A Thing Called Love drew a rapturous response from the Highland crowd.

They were in strong voice as Hawkins guided them through a Friday Night singalong and got up close and personal with him soon after, as the lead singer was carried on the shoulders of an unsuspecting roadie for a tour of the crowd on Love On The Rocks With No Ice.

Hawkins had bantered with one particular gentleman, who insisted he was called Michael, for the majority of the evening after repeatedly fielding bellowed requests for The Darkness’ Christmas classic.

In a brief but raucous climax, the festive season was rang in a month ahead of schedule as Christmas Time appeased the aforementioned superfan and had the Ironworks rocking.

A significant amount of time has passed since the Suffolk boys were regulars on radio stations and award shortlists but they damn sure know how to put on a show.

It may be November, but the hardcore Darkness faithful were left in no doubt that Christmas had come early.

Jamie Durent