The problem with starting a gig early and not telling people who are waiting for their friend who is inexplicably really late is that individuals suddenly find that, whilst they expect to have missed the start, they are walking into a gig 8 songs in.
Those that know Danko Jones will know that is not a good feeling because God only knows what you’ve missed (well the internet will tell you later, but that just makes it worse). However, those that know Danko Jones will also know that doesn’t mean the gig is almost over.
Cramming more songs into their setlist than Dream Theater cram riffs into songs, Danko himself was in fine form at the Underworld in Camden, getting everyone singing along to ‘First Date’, which was the first song I heard, then hitting a double hitter of ”Do You Wanna Rock’ and ‘Had Enough’.
The reason he was hitting the stage at the stupidly early time of 8.30 was seemingly to do with the club night being held there (I’m assuming they had to close to clean to reopen or something) and Danko made sure everyone knew it with a rant about rock & roll vs disco, which was very entertaining, but being as it was an alternative club night I expect most of the audience were probably going to be there later…
Another double hitter of ‘Code of the Road’ and ‘Legs’ (“that song was about ladies legs”) followed before ‘Invisible’ and the strength of the setlist really sunk in then, as it seemed the band were playing quite a few they hadn’t done for a while, especially when I later learnt they had opened with ‘The Rules’, which was the first song I ever heard by Danko Jones when I stumbled upon them at the second stage at Ozzfest whichever year it was at Donington (2001?) and I haven’t heard performed live since.
Danko then introduced a song that was “just one riff” and launched into ‘Cadillac, while bassist, John Calabrese, got the crowd chanting “hey!” at the appropriate times.
It was about this time that I noticed I hadn’t seen drummer Rich Knox all night, due to the Underworld having their stage in the corner, so my vantage point essentially gave me visual access to stage left and a speaker. I assume, therefore, he was playing like a demon and loving life. I also assume he hasn’t been replaced. I do know he sounded good though.
Another classic Danko Jones track from debut album ”Born A Lion” got an airing in the form of ‘Lovercall’ and that was accompanied by WWE Royal Rumble theme ‘There’s Gonna Be A Fight Tonight’ and the audience gave the loudest encore call I’ve ever heard. Strutting back onstage Danko responded “thanks for wanting more songs by us…here’s to spontaneity” and they launched into ‘Are You Ready’ by Thin Lizzy, which actually could have been a Danko Jones song, with its sound and feel.
As the mantra skit from ‘Mountain’ ended and the last note rang out, the huge crowd gave one final roar and slowly started exiting, hot, sweaty and above all grinning.
Danko Jones, you’ve done it again.