The Darkness/MindRIOTmt – Belfast, Limelight 1 – 15 October 2017 Print E-mail
Written by Marc Leach   
Sunday, 22 October 2017 04:20

When it comes to modern rock music, no one defines the term ”sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll” more than the flamboyant The Darkness. With the new album ‘Pinewood Smile’ having been released, this of course called for a re-visit to the Emerald Isle, from Limerick, to Dublin all the way up to Belfast. This reviewer has waited a very long time to finally see them so was it all worth it? Let’s find out…




Kicking off the night for their second run in the Limelight 1 venue this year (following their support with Devin Townsend in June) were them lads from down south, MindRIOTmt. With a much bigger turn out compared to their set with Devin, the lads from Cork showed a lot more confidence this time round. From led singer Tony Gorry’s stories about their trek around Ireland with The Darkness (especially crashing into the light engineer’s car) to a fun yet chunky set that included tracks like the catchy ‘Boys Of The Tomahawk.’ This reviewer may have had doubts about seeing these guys so soon but it was refreshing to see how they have come along since.


With the Limelight 1 reaching its sold-out capacity, it was time for the one, the only, The Darkness to hit the stage. As each member of the band took to the stage, it was the extremely over the top, frontman Justin Hawkins who got the biggest cheer of all. Dressed in a green version of his signature, open chested suit and his trusty white Les Paul in hand, the British rock gods brought a high octane performance like no other through opening tracks like ‘Love Is Only A Feeling’ to the recent ‘Southern Trains.’




It was obvious from the big, board smiles on the band’s faces that they were more than happy to be back on these shores as they fed off the energy from lively Belfast crowd. While every voice in the room was raised for classic tracks like ‘Black Shuck’ and ‘One Way Ticket To Hell’ it was Justin’s frequent rendition of Boney M’s ‘Belfast’ which was the true highlight of the night (even if he did keep singing it over and over again, even to the point of having it played through someone’s phone on his microphone.)


Other traits the band brought along with them were the mixture of bassist Frankie Poullain personally handing people a middle finger, Justin having imaginative apple crumble stuck in his ears so he couldn’t hear how great the crowd were and guitarist Dan Hawkins bringing one of his many Thin Lizzy shirts to where it rightfully belongs. The new material from the recent album ‘Pinewood Smile’ may have slightly gone over people’s heads but they still kept the energy going, plus the tracks helped showcase the talent of their new drummer, Rufus Tiger Taylor (whose father plays with some band called Queen).




‘Why Don’t The Beautiful Cry?’ was where Justin showed off just how talented he is as he went from playing the keyboard to playing the guitar which reminded on his lap. After a couple more tracks off their new album, it was the band’s first single ‘Get Your Hands Off My Woman’ that led the crowd into a full frenzy, plus this gave Justin the perfect opportunity to show off his swimming skills with an extensive crowd surf. After wishing everyone in Belfast luck for the oncoming hurricane Ophellia plus a reprise of ‘Love Is Only…’ for the one person that missed it at the start, the set was brought to a close with none other than ‘I Believe In A Thing Called Love’ which had the whole venue both bounce and reach those high pitched notes during the chorus.


The Darkness proved that they are still a most dominant force and that they haven’t lost any of their charm as both the Belfast crowd and this reviewer could have died happy there and then after witnessing a rock show to end all rock shows.


PHOTO CREDIT: All photos © Marc Leach/Uber Rock. View our full gallery of photographs HERE.


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