top of page

Shots From The Road: The Darkness in San Francisco

The British trailblazers bring exactly what you'd want from a rock show.

the darkness, the darkness tour, justin hawkins
Photograph by Katie Lewellyn

Text, Photos by Katie Lewellyn (@KatieLewellyn.Photo) at the

Masonic Auditorium in San Francisco, CA on October 3, 2023:

UK's premiere trailblazers, The Darkness, have just concluded an electrifying tour run in celebration of the 20th Anniversary of their seminal full-length, Permission to Land — stopping by venues across North America and breathing new life into the fan-favorite release. The band's San Francisco tour stop at the Masonic Auditorium was an audiovisual feast from beginning to end with frontman Justin Hawkins commanding a vibrant crowd.

Bareback and Black Shuck kicked us off and streamrolled right into a crowd keen for the contemporary classic. Permission to Land was welcomed with open arms as the many in attendance praised its soaring nature with each passing track.

the darkness, the darkness tour, justin hawkins
Photograph by Katie Lewellyn

Growing On Me, Love Is Only A Feeling, Holding My Own, and more Darkness staples comprised this special set, the likes of which defined what a rock show should be. It had it all: outfit changes, exquisite solos, showmanship, and of course, stellar instrumentation.

From blazer to shirtless, Justin Hawkins excelled on his end as Frankie Poullain carried the groove with rumbling bass lines that were felt up front. Strobe lights shined upon the glory of Friday Night and Curse of the Tollund Man. The room was electric; not one frown or sign of frustration but joy and gleeful passion filled the room.

the darkness, the darkness tour, justin hawkins
Photograph by Katie Lewellyn

As I stood in awe of the power on display, Justin entrusted me among many to record the fan-favorite, I Believe In A Thing Called Love (which you can see here). Hundreds raised their arms in unison, chanting and clapping along to the track's chorus infectiously as the set concluded. However, this was not the end as an encore followed soon after with I Love You 5 Times and a closing Love on the Rocks With No Ice.

It's performances this moving and this engaging that cement The Darkness as a premiere live act not to be missed. Permission to Land...Again is out now via Warner Music and as we sit back and reflect on the marvelous night at the Masonic, let the below photos serve as a testament to the performing prowess of the Hawkins brothers and The Darkness. May Permission to Land forever reign.

The Darkness Photo Gallery


bottom of page