by Bill Pearis

The Darkness!

Oh happy day! The Darkness are coming back to America in early 2012, including a February 4 stop at Irving Plaza. (No on-sale date yet.) A full list of North American tour dates are at the bottom of this post.

We haven't had The Darkness on these shores in at least five years around the time the band was promoting their overblown second album One Way Ticket to Hell...and Back. Due to rock n' roll problems, the band didn't last much longer. Bassist Frankie Poulain left in 2005, and frontman/songwriter Justin Hawkins quit the following year after a stint in rehab. The remaining members of The Darkness continued on as the Stone Gods and Hawkins formed the more latex glam Hot Leg who played SXSW in 2009. In March of this year, the original line-up of The Darkness reformed, started playing shows and announced they were working on a new album.

That album is part of the reason why they're touring. Hawkins tells Rolling Stone that the band are going to Nashville in January to record a few more songs. The tour in February will unleash a few of those new tracks, as well as the entirety of the band's fantastic 2003 debut Permission to Land, which this writer considers to be a genuine classic, one of my favorites of the '00s:

Clearly you don't wear spandex cat suits, sing in a Tiny Tim falsetto and write a love song to a genital wart ("Growing On Me") and not understand irony, but it was clear singer/guitarist/songwriter Justin Hawkins loves this stuff. Part Thin Lizzy riff rock boogie, part Queen flamboyance, Permission to Land is all hits, start to finish. (If you can get past Justin Hawkins' falsetto.) And some of the most inspired, melodically-driven guitar solos (some songs have three) on any album of the last 20 years. Plus "Friday Night" which could almost be a Pulp song. And hilariously insane videos (especially "Growing on Me".) It all went up Hawkins' nose on the overblown second album, but Permission to Land is brilliant.

I still wear my Darkness t-shirt that I got free with purchase of the Permission to Land CD at Virgin Times Square and count their September 2003 show at Bowery Ballroom as one of the most fun of the last ten years.

Tour dates and some of their classic Permission to Land videos are below.

The Darkness - Growing on Me

The Darkness - I Believe in a Thing Called Love

The Darkness - Friday Night

The Darkness - 2011 Tour Dates
Feb 01 Phoenix Toronto, Canada Tickets
Feb 03 Paradise Boston, MA
Feb 04 Irving Plaza New York, NY
Feb 07 Trocadero Philadelphia, PA
Feb 08 930 Club Washington, DC
Feb 10 St Andrews Hall Detroit, MI Tickets
Feb 11 Metro Chicago, IL
Feb 12 First Avenue Minneapolis, MN
Feb 15 Summit Denver, CO
Feb 17 House of Blues Las Vegas, NV
Feb 18 Celebrity Theatre Phoenix, AZ
Feb 19 House of Blues West Hollywood, CA
Feb 21 Fillmore San Francisco, CA

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