The Darkness // Bad Nerves // Permission To Land – 20th Anniversary Tour // Live Review // The Telegraph Building // Belfast

The Darkness Illuminates Belfast’s Telegraph Building on Opening Night of Permission To Land 20th Anniversary Tour

In the pulsating heart of the British rock scene, a sonic storm is brewing, and at the eye of this hurricane stands Bad Nerves. This explosive quartet has been making waves not only for their infectious studio recordings but also for their reputation as a formidable live entity. With an unapologetic blend of punk, rock, and an undeniably Britpop edge, Bad Nerves have carved a niche for themselves in the vibrant landscape of contemporary rock.

From the moment they step onto the stage, Bad Nerves unleash an energetic onslaught that reverberates through the venue. The band, comprising Bobby Bird, Will Power, Jon Poulton, Sam Thompson and George Berry, exudes a raw and unbridled energy that is nothing short of infectious. Their live performances are a rollercoaster ride of adrenaline-fueled riffs, pounding drums, and Bobby’s snarling vocals that cut through the air like a musical lightning bolt.

One of the defining features of a Bad Nerves live show is the dynamism of their setlist. Seamlessly blending tracks from their discography,the band crafts a sonic journey that keeps the audience on their toes. The transitions between songs are executed with precision, creating an immersive experience that reflects the band’s commitment to delivering an unrelenting sonic experience.

Bad Nerves excel not only in their musical prowess but also in forging a genuine connection with their audience. The band’s charismatic stage presence and unfiltered banter create an intimate atmosphere, breaking down the barrier between performers and fans. The result is a sense of shared exhilaration, as the crowd becomes an integral part of the sonic maelstrom that Bad Nerves conjures on stage.

At a Bad Nerves gig, predictability is thrown out the window. The band is known for injecting an element of unpredictability into their live performances, with improvised solos, extended jams, and spontaneous interactions with the crowd. This willingness to deviate from the script adds an extra layer of excitement, ensuring that no two Bad Nerves shows are ever quite the same. A delayed start to one of the tracks where the band stands like statues with the audience wondering “Has the PA gone down?” just before from out of nowhere they launch into a blistering assault on the senses once again.

Complementing their sonic assault is Bad Nerves’ keen eye for visual stimulation. The band incorporates vibrant lighting, bold visuals, and a carefully curated stage presence that amplifies the overall impact of their performance. The marriage of auditory and visual elements, especially their quirky old-school rock ‘n’ roll styling creates a multisensory experience that lingers in the memories of those fortunate enough to witness a Bad Nerves live show.

Bad Nerves’ emergence as a live entity is nothing short of a sonic revelation in the British rock scene. Their ability to channel the essence of punk rebellion while infusing it with a distinctive Brit rock flavor has endeared them to fans seeking an unapologetically electrifying live experience. As Bad Nerves continue to rise through the ranks, their live shows stand as a testament to the enduring power of rock and the visceral thrill of witnessing a band unapologetically own the stage.

In a dazzling display of flamboyance and unbridled rock energy, The Darkness set Belfast’s Telegraph Building ablaze on the opening night of their Permission To Land 20th Anniversary Tour. The iconic British rock band, known for their theatrical performances and infectious anthems, took fans on a nostalgic journey back to the glory days of 2003 when their debut album, “Permission To Land,” catapulted them to stardom.

The historic Telegraph Building, with its industrial charm and intimate atmosphere, provided the perfect backdrop for The Darkness to kick off their milestone tour. Fans packed into the venue, eager to witness the band recreate the magic of their breakthrough album that defined a generation of rock enthusiasts.

The Darkness always has that magical connection for me, the album arriving all those years ago reminds me of better times, simpler times, working for Carphone Whorehouse, yes you read that right, and listening to Radio 1 upstairs doing admin, Jo Wylie was playing Dave Grohl ‘I believe in a thing called love’ it was his first time hearing it, and mine too, that solo at the end, guitar solos’s remember them? Both myself and Dave were #mindblown, fast forward to a long weekend in New York, I was walking around Times Square on my first night there, I wandered into The Virgin Megastore taking in the sheer scale of the store and as I was leaving across the PA came an announcement, The Darkness will be playing downstairs in 5 minutes! #mindblown again! So when I think of this band, for me it is a time capsule that will forever be close to my heart and mind, with glorious glam metal classics, glorious guitar solos and some of the greatest and funniest videos you’ll ever see.

As the lights dimmed and the crowd roared in anticipation, The Darkness emerged on stage with frontman Justin Hawkins leading the charge. Dressed in their trademark glam-rock attire, the band wasted no time in launching into the opening chords of “Black Shuck,” the infectious track that first introduced the world to their electrifying sound.

The setlist was a carefully curated trip down memory lane, featuring all the hits from “Permission To Land.” From the anthemic “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” to the riff-heavy “Get Your Hands Off My Woman,” each song resonated with the audience, transporting them back to a time when The Darkness ruled the airwaves.

Justin explains that both himself and his bro Dan were in Belfast’s iconic Crown Bar the day before chilling and taking in the sights of this fine city when the 7 Dwarfs walked in for a pint, he’s not joking either, situated across from The Grand Opera House cleary panto season is in full swing! This is going to be one of those nights, great craic between the band and the Belfast crowd as a night of majestic music takes place.

Two decades since the release of their debut album, The Darkness showcased not only their timeless hits but also the enduring power of their live performances. Justin Hawkins, with his soaring falsetto and charismatic stage presence, commanded the audience’s attention from start to finish. The chemistry between band members, including guitarist Dan Hawkins, bassist Frankie Poullain, and drummer Rufus Taylor, was palpable, creating an electrifying atmosphere throughout the night.

True to their reputation for theatrical flair, The Darkness incorporated dazzling visual elements into their performance. A spectacular light show, accompanied by pyrotechnics and confetti cannons, added an extra layer of excitement to the already vibrant show. Justin Hawkins’ flamboyant costumes, complete with glitter and sequins, further enhanced the band’s larger-than-life persona.

Throughout the evening, The Darkness engaged with their audience, creating an intimate connection that transcended the stage. Justin Hawkins interacted with fans, sharing anecdotes and expressing gratitude for their unwavering support over the past two decades. The sense of camaraderie in the room was palpable, as fans and band alike celebrated the enduring legacy of “Permission To Land.”

The Darkness’ opening night in Belfast’s Telegraph Building was a triumphant celebration of rock and roll history. As they embark on their Permission To Land 20th Anniversary Tour, the band proves that their music is as relevant and exhilarating as ever. The night served as a testament to the enduring power of The Darkness and their ability to captivate audiences with a blend of nostalgia, showmanship, and unapologetic rock energy. A sold-out Irish leg of the tour will drive home the love for great, classic rock on this island and the love affair will continue once again, you can never get too much of a good thing! Even if it is called love!


Photography: Mark McGrogan

@flashartmark #flashartmark 




The Darkness, Britain’s world-renowned and hugely-beloved rock band extraordinaire, have announced nine new shows for the Permission To Land 20 world tour, which will run through the UK and Ireland in December.

Tickets for the new shows go on sale at 9am Friday 7th July 2023 and can be purchased via

Regarding the shows frontman Justin Hawkins says, “We, The Darkness, are delighted to announce that we’ll be hitting the road in the U.K. once again. To commemorate the 20th anniversary of Permission to Land, our set will include every song from our debut album faithfully reproduced (with additional clam notes and meanderings) in the order in which they appear on the record. We’ll also play all of your favourite Darkness songs from the rest of our illustrious and tipsy turvy career. It will be the best show you’ll see this year. I should know, I’m the singer and also a YouTube music expert.”

02-Dec – Belfast, Telegraph Building
03-Dec – Dublin, 3Olympia Theatre
08-Dec – Norwich, UEA
09-Dec – London, The Roundhouse
11-Dec – Glasgow, Barrowland Ballroom
12-Dec – Manchester, New Century Hall
14-Dec – Bristol, Beacon
15-Dec – Nottingham, Rock City
16-Dec – Wolverhampton, The Wulfrun at The Halls

The UK & Ireland tour dates are part of the previously announced Permission To Land 20 world tour which starts in October in North America and continues through Europe.

The shows promise to be a grand spectacle with the band playing the much-lauded, award-winning, foot-stomping, guitar-wailing, groove-making masterpiece in full. Kicking off with the splendid rifferama of ‘Black Shuck’ they’ll blast their way through all of Permission To Land’s 11 tracks, including ‘Growing On Me’, ‘Love Is Only A Feeling’, ‘Giving Up’, ‘Love On The Rocks With No Ice’, ‘Get Your Hands Off My Woman’ and of course the iconic ‘I Believe In A Thing Called Love’.

In addition to that splendid confection of rock brilliance, Justin, Dan, Frankie and Rufus will pump out a bonus ‘Best Of The Rest’ set, stuffed to the gills with all the hits and fan favourites from their six subsequent studio albums.

There will also be a very special expanded Permission To Land deluxe album release coming later this year via Warner Music, with further details to be revealed VERY soon.