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    THE DARKNESS 16/12/2023 THE CIVIC HALLS, WOLVERHAMPTON, UK

    Words & images: Reg Richardson (RockStarsRising Music and Events Photography)

    Can’t believe its been 20years since the release of The Darkness‘s debut album “Permission to Land.”  The Wolves Civic is packed out and we’re in for a good night…

    Bad Nerves, as described on their Facebook page are a “Jazz band from Skid Row” and also the bastard child of a one night stand with the Ramones and The Strokes and according to Mick Jagger , they’re the “greatest band on Earth right now… Actually, they’re a 5 piece Powerpop-RocknRoll band from East London…

    The short, but highly energetic, set from this lot lasted just half an hour and involved plenty of leaping around, Billie Joe Armstrong and Joey Ramone-style vocals & visuals and even more leaping around!

    Most of the songs were taken from the band’s self-titled album, released in 2020. In typical punk fashion the band had more songs on the setlist than they had any rights to have and they rattled through their ten songs in the 30 minute slot comfortably. A good watch and a band to look out for in the future for sure.

    Bad Nerves Setlist:

    1. Don’t Stop
    2. Baby Drummer
    3. Palace
    4. Terminal Boy
    5. Radio Punk
    6. Electric 88
    7. USA
    8. Can’t Be Mine
    9. Mad Mind
    10. Dreaming

    BAD NERVES

    By the time The Darkness were due on stage, the main room in the Civic Hall had filled to capacity, with bodies oozing out of the doorways. The band wandered onto the stage and were greeted to a raptuous applause. Justin Hawkins makes an announcement –  he asks the crowd to put away their phones (most complied) because he didn’t want rubbish recordings on the socials pages and he, himself, didn’t particularly want to feature on the socials pages either. In other words (his words); “Don’t Be A Cunt!”

    If you don’t know The Darkness, the band comprises of 2 pretty sensible members, 1 slightly mad member and 1 complete bag of frogs.

    Most of the songs tonight featured on the original release of Permission to Land, with a few more coming from the 20th Anniversary multi-disk offering, Permission to Land . . . Again, released a little earlier this year.

    The crowd were ready, the band were ready, time for it all to kick off, and kick 0ff it did! Black Shuck opened the set, followed by Get Your Hands Off My Woman and Growing on Me. By now we’d had the opening warnings from Justin and a quick blast of the confetti cannon, what could be next? Well, it wasn’t in the script, but someone from the crowd shouted that they wanted the naked girl from the original album cover to make an appearance. Justin explained that wasn’t possible but having spotted the chap that made the request he asked if he wanted to play the part of said naked lady just for tonight. I think Justin was a little taken aback when the chap accepted! So, he duly climbed on stage with a request that he didn’t take everything off but he did make the most of shedding his t-shirt and cavorted around the stage, all to the amusement of the band and the crowd. Dan didn’t know where to look at times. As the band played Growing on Me the stage visitor was invited to climb onto the drum riser and launch himself off it alongside Justin – all great fun.

    The visitor exited the stage as the band got into Best of Me. Justin was in a particularly chatty mood and claimed that this show in Wolverhampton was ‘the big one’ on the tour which got the crowd going even more.

    Throughout the show Justin leapt about, spending a significant amount of time taking flight. Brother Dan was the epitome of a professional guitar player, head down, got on with the job with no histrionics, bassist Frankie Poullain looked like a disco ball in his multi-coloured suit – I didn’t see any cow-bell tonight, I must have blinked, and sat, hidden, behind the drums was Rufus Tiger Taylor.

    Most of the remaining songs from the original version of the album were played and as the band were approaching the end of the main set Justin decided to train the crowd to sing Friday Night and between them all a good acappella version emerged before the band  went full steam ahead into it accompanied by the audience. Justin then left the stage . . . to return bearing his Santa hat and a couple of additional helpers (Justin’s Little Helpers); the crowd knew straight away what was coming. I reported a couple of weeks ago that at the De Montfort Hall show put on by Europe erupted when the intro to The Final Countdown commenced but that was nothing compared to around 3,400 people yelling and cheering as the band broke into Christmas Time – Don’t Let the Bells End, it was absolutely deafening! Then, to continue the carnage the final song was I Believe in a Thing Called Love, the 2003 single that earned the band almost instant recognition.

    There were 2 encores, I Love You 5 Times and Love on the Rocks With No Ice, but the ‘damage’ had been done with the previous 2 songs.

    It was hardly a surprise that the venue was changed from the very much smaller Wulfrun Hall but even the Civic Halls greater capacity struggled to hold onto the excitable crowd. A bloody fantastic night and I hope the next tour, whenever that is, gets the same response from the public.

    Setlist:

    1. Black Shuck
    2. Get Your Hands Off my Woman
    3. Growing on Me
    4. Best of Me
    5. Makin’ Out
    6. Givin’ Up
    7. Love is Only a Feeling
    8. Stuck in a Rut
    9. How Dare You Call This Love
    10. Street Spirit / Holding my Own
    11. Friday Night
    12. Christmas Time, Don’t Let the Bells End
    13. I Believe in a Thing Called Love

    Encores:

    1. I Love You 5 Times
    2. Love on the Rocks With no Ice

    THE DARKNESS

     

     

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