A little under a decade ago, no one really knew whether to take The Darkness seriously. On one hand, they were bringing high-camp glam rock back to Top of the Pops and selling more than a million copies of their debut album, 'Permission to Land'. Yet, on the other, their undeniable Spinal Tap-ness meant they weren't always taken seriously. Lowestoft's very own Kiss.
But the album went four-times platinum and, on second release, breakthrough single 'I Believe in a Thing Called Love' charted worldwide - only The Black Eyed Peas' 'Where Is the Love' kept it from top spot in the UK singles chart. It even made top 50 in Q Magazine's Greatest Guitar Tracks and remains a Guitar Hero favourite to this day. Lead singer Justin Hawkins fitted the bill too; tattoos, spandex, make-up, a falsetto voice and a bona fide drugs and drink problem.
Not long after The Darkness smashed their way onto the scene, the band (in true rock style, it should be noted) started to fracture and stumble. Hawkins took his habits into rehab and emerged blinking into the daylight after The Darkness. He left the band and they moved on to become the Hawkins-free, and markedly less successful, Stone Gods [that may not have been due to them being Hawkins-free... ever heard of Hot Leg? Exactly - Ed].
However, all good rock fables have at least one encore and The Darkness have happily reverted to type and reformed. Hawkins is back - as is the remainder of the original line-up - and three dates have been announced ahead of their appearance at June's Download 2011 festival on Friday 10th June (day tickets cost £75, £145 for the weekend).
With a third album on its way, The Darkness perform at Norwich Waterfront on 5th June (sold out), Leamington Spa on 6th and then at London's Shepherd's Bush Empire on 8th June before playing Download (10 - 12th June). Tickets are available now and start at £20 (£25 for London).
Note that the Shepherd's Bush show is also available 'free' to holders of tickets to see The Darkness at Download (on the 10th June). How totally rock'n'roll.
You can also catch the band at this year's annual Celebrity Soccer Six along with Shayne Ward and Eurovision's Blue (don't worry boys, Jedward won't be there to beat you again) amongst many others on 30th May at The Valley. Tickets cost £12 for adults, £8 for children, with family tickets (2 aduts, 3 children) coming-in at £40.