other band who could do those two gigs'.’ We're supporting the Stones. and I think we have earned the right. I mean we've been slugging our guts otit for years.’

It is this ability" to bridge gaps and unite disparate factions that has catapulted them to the top of a dull and stagnant British music scene. ‘There was a real lack of songs. personality and musical aptitude. I mean the Pop Idol guys can't sing properly. pltis what they do is completely and utterly soulless. And with garage rock that the trendy mags were all wetting themselves over last year. it’s all these indie kids pretending they are really into .’\(‘/l)(‘ and throwing themselves round the stage and smashing their guitars bill to no effect at all. Willi original garage rock you had characters like Iggy Pop. I don‘t see anyone in the l)atstins who has that personality.‘

And they are being taken seriously. They even got a nod from the most highbrow of music awards. the Mercury Music Prize. They became the people’s champion and the bookies' favourite. eventually losing otit to [K garage youngster l)i/./,ee Rascal. ‘I think raw talent should be encouraged and I think it's great that he won.’ says l’otillain magnanimously. 'l was chatting to the judges and they were saying it was either tis. (‘oldplay or Dix/cc Rascal. Then the criteria of underground talent came into play. and with its and (‘oldplay we‘ve moved away from the underground and I think that‘s good.‘ Of course. the Kerrung.’ Awards were a given. and the Darkness picked tip two this year. for best album and best live act.

They are a serious proposition musically. certainly in sales. and live they are electric. to use a well worn cliche. It's in the air of anticipation. the effortless band dynamics. the obviotis camaraderie and love of what they are doing. Not forgetting the star jumps. costume changes and wit. ‘Justin is a hyperactive ball of energy anyway and he does most of the performing.‘ says Poullain. And that certainly seems to be the case during the interview: you can hear Justin in the background camping it tip and chatting away incessantly. ‘l)an just loves smashing his guitar. he's a headbanger. We're rockers. We just have that mindset and that discipline. We're not flaky indie kids and there‘s a difference. We really love what we do. It‘s passion and self belief that take you through.‘

Where next for a band that have already touched on all the great rock cornerstones: l)onnington. Glastonbury. T in the Park. Knebworth. Reading and all on the strength of their debut album'.’ 'We'll top that by having a panoramic. bombastic. 31) second album.’ according to Poullain. With rumours of folk double (‘l)s and space rock odysseys. are we heading into concept album territory"? 'l)eiinitely not on the second album. We have some unfinished business kicking ass at the moment.‘ Then there's the aforementioned (‘hristmas single. '((‘hristinas Time) Don't Let the Bells lind‘. produced

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(‘hristmas singles are a tricky business. and incredibly difficult to get right. (‘an you think of any ('hristmas single that doesn't btig the shit otrt of you these days on its urnpteenth listen'.’ Their sound is so individual that it is in danger of becoming cliched almost as quickly as it began. so will the record buying public really want a second album of more of the same'.’ Have they shot their load too soon'.’ We‘ve been tantalised by tales of the nest big thing to take the ['8 by storm so many times before. nearly always to see them languish at 193 in the Billboard ('harts. (‘an notoriously staid middle America really stomach those camp theatrics. or will they run screaming to the hills'.’ Let's hope they can prove the conservatives wrong and stay the course. The potential for sheer exhilaration in years to come as the Darkness step tip to their natural habitat. the stadium. is too good to miss.

Love them or hate them. there's no ignoring them. We need the Darkness to show tis the light. It is ()K to pump your fist and lose yourself in an overblown riff: joyous abandonment

kind of

it‘s what rock‘n'roll is all about.

The Darkness play Barrowland, Glasgow, Fri 17 Oct.

You know we love ‘em but what do the rest of the

great and good in the wonderful world of entertainment think of our four rock rabble-rousers?


I Edith Bowman, Radio 1 DJ They've captured the nation's imagination. We obviously needed an injection of something with a bit of balls and falsetto. There is a certain mystery about them. kind of 'is it real or not?‘ I suppose the big question is will they be around in 18 months time? I reckon so. They're going to crack the States and leave us darklings behind for a while. We'll miss them madly but they'll come back to rock us out again. The best thing about them. though, is they let me Sing lead vocals on ‘I Believe in a Thing Called Love' in a rehearsal room in London. I was in the black and white cat5uit and it was possibly my proudest moment ever. I Dick Valentine, singer of the Electric Six The Darkness are the musical equivalent of the Scorpions. If the Scorpions were a rock band. they'd be the Darkness.

I Stuart Cosgrove, Channel 4 big wig and footie pundit

They are the only memorable band ever to emerge from Lowestoft. And yes. they'll be around forever filth and dirt never disappear. I'm not Sure if they'll crack America but if they do they'll be the first Huddersfield UniverSity graduates that have. They are also woeful and have bad breath.

I Phil Kay, stand up comedian, columnist and step-brother of Darkness bassist Frankie Poullaln

They have allowed a reinvention of how bands get big and gone back to the fresh Wind of audience reaction. They've reset the critics' heads and put an emotion in guitar solos I thought was lost for ever. I Bruce Dickinson, front man for metal monoliths Iron Maiden I can't make out whether

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they're taking the piss in a very clever way or whether they're really serious and committed to rock. I have to go and see them. It c0uld be real or he could be a manipulative. lying son of a bitch who's laughing at his audience for buying his album.

I Elton John, specky Eminem collaborator They remind me a bit of AC/DC and I think the guy IS incredible to watch I can't take my eyes of him. I put the rec0rd on and everyone said: ‘What's that?’ I've seen an American review of the album and they hate it. It's just fun.

I Bam Margara, skater and Jackass TV star

I saw the Darkness playing at a Jackass party in London and thought they were the wildest thing. There's no one else out there with the balls and the fearlessness to do what they do. I think they're going to blow America apart.

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16—30 Oct 2003 THE LIST 23