Faux Darkness vs. Actual Darkness: The Darkness Tonight at Marathon Music Works, Black Tusk Tonight at The End

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Someone order a showdown?! In this corner — Marathon Music Works, that is — we have the bulge-brandishing British bombast of spandex-ensconced, post-ironic, '70s-aping, early-Aughts kings of wanting to be Queen, The Darkness. And in that wonderfully crummy little corner of the Rock Block known as The End, we have Deep Southern, sludgy-stoner heavy metal power trio Black Tusk. One band is called The Darkness, the other has a song called "Bring Me Darkness." One sounds like actual darkness, the other one's official URL is The Actual Darkness. One is into hell, the other is into sin. One band describes itself as "swamp metal," the other ... OK, look. I could do this all day. Instead, let's let the picks do the talking. Adam Gold penned a Critic's Pick on tonight's Darkness show at Marathon, and this is how it goes:

My, how time flies. Are bands that peaked in 2003 already starting to mount comebacks and embark on reunion tours? The Hives played Coachella’s main stage last month. On the other hand, early-Aughts, one-hit-wonderfully Australian Iggy Pop apers Jet called it quits this year. Perhaps they should’ve thought ahead and taken off into the sunset halfway through the last decade. That’s what The Darkness did. In 2006, the campy-by-design band of British longhairs — who likened themselves to either a “gay AC/DC” or a “straight Queen,” glamming it up in spotted leotards, leather pants, Gibson Les Pauls and guitarmonies like every night was either 1973 or Halloween — crashed and burned when rhapsodically bohemian frontman Justin Hawkins left to pursue quitting cocaine and alcohol. Hawkins either wholly and successfully rehabilitated himself or totally relapsed, as The Darkness is back to relive (or at least finish) its 15 minutes of fame. The (surprisingly) test-of-time-standing, inescapably infectious 2003 fluke hit “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” was perhaps the single most unsubtle song of its day — but it was also undeniably great. So, give in and get nostalgic for a band that was already inherently nostalgic for the ever-relevant sounds of campy ’70s rock. —ADAM GOLD

Nice one, Gold. That show will run you about $30 to see. Fellow contributor Matt Sullivan wrote a little something on Black Tusk with supporters Haarp, and here's that:

What are those sleeves still doing on your denim jacket? Haven’t you heard Black Tusk is coming to town? Quick, get those Slayer patches sewn on (or Motörhead, whatever). Dudes, you’ve got a few days to get that beard started, you clean-shaven ninnies. Ladies, there’s still time to dye your hair black. You see, not only is Black Tusk bringing their crusty, hard-rocking swamp metal/hardcore up from Savannah, Ga., but NOLA sludge-masters Haarp are also bringing their Phil Anselmo-approved, grade-A filth (as demonstrated on the 2010 album The Filth, released on the former Pantera frontman’s Housecore Records). So get out there and prove you can take a pummeling with the best of them. It’s going to be a big night, and you don’t want to look like a poser. —MATT SULLIVAN

That one's only $6. I think we have a winner?

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