Preview: The Darkness @ Download

by Adam Aiken

The Darkness are gearing up for their appearance at Download as the iconic rock and metal festival makes its full post-covid return.

A smaller version of the event was held last year, with 10,000 people attending a government-mandated pilot, but things are now back to normal for the first full-capacity festival at Castle Donington since 2019.

And The Darkness, who have been busy on a tour of the US, will be back on these shores for the festival, which takes place over the weekend of June 10-12.

It’s a venue the Lowestoft band know well as it was the scene of their triumphant reunion show 11 years ago.

This year they’ll be on the second stage on the Sunday for a performance that will come just a year before the 20th anniversary of their smash debut album, Permission To Land. It was the record that propelled them to the top of the rock charts with their brand of catchy rock, falsetto vocals, humour and risqué lyrics.

But the fact that they are still going strong has surprised bassist Frankie Poullain.

Download is back for 2022 (Picture: Matthew Higgs)
Download is back for 2022 (Picture: Matthew Higgs)

“When we got the record deal I could feel this momentum, but I could never have imagined that it would be 20 years by now,” Poullain recently told the Daily Star.

Permission To Land went on to sell more than 1.5 million copies in the UK alone, but despite the follow-up success of One Way Ticket To Hell And Back, The Darkness split up in 2006 before Poullain, frontman Justin Hawkins, guitarist Dan Hawkins and drummer Ed Graham got back together five years later.

“The comeback in 2011 with the original line-up, that was incredible,” said Poullain.

The Darkness during their 2015 Download appearance (Picture: Danny North)
The Darkness during their 2015 Download appearance (Picture: Danny North)

“We had lost contact with each other. Basically, we all made up after the five-year hiatus and then did a couple of warm-up shows and were just thrust onto the main stage at Download in front of 70,000 people. It was just incredible.”

Now with Rufus Tiger Taylor behind the drum kit alongside Poullain and the Hawkins brothers, next month’s Download appearance will be their third, as they were also there for a “secret” set at the 2015 festival.

The headliners on the main stage this year are Kiss – making their farewell UK appearance – Iron Maiden and Biffy Clyro, with Frank Carter And The Rattlesnakes, Megadeth and Steel Panther topping the second stage.

Meanwhile, The Darkness recently announced a trip to Australia and New Zealand for later this year as part of their Motorheart tour.

Click here for Download tickets.

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