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The Darkness at O2 Guildhall, Southampton

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by Andy Coleman (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer living in Birmingham. I like Classic Rock, 70s pop music, football and interviewing celebrities. Follow me on Twitter: @andycoleman9
Outrageous band flash their Pinewood Smile
The Darkness are back on the road to promote their latest album, Pinewood Smile. The band's winter tour kicks off at Southampton's O2 Guildhall on November 23 and concludes at Bristol's Colston Hall on December 14.

The Darkness, Justin Hawkins, Dan Hawkins, Frankie Poullain, Rufus Taylor, Pinewood Smile, O2 Guildhall Southampton
Promotion: The Darkness 2017 (pic: Simon Emmett)

Vocalist and guitarist Justin Hawkins, guitarist Dan Hawkins and bassist Frankie Poullain will be joined on stage by drummer Rufus Tiger Taylor, son of Queen sticksman Roger Taylor, who was recruited by The Darkness in 2015. Rufus shares vocal duties with Justin on two tracks on Pinewood Smile.

The Darkness, Justin Hawkins, Dan Hawkins, Franke Poullain, Rufus Taylor, Pinewood Smile, O2 Guildhall Southampton

The Darkness released their debut album, Permission To Land, in 2003. It topped the UK charts, going 5x platinum and selling over 1.5 million copies in the UK. It spawned a series of hit singles including I Believe In A Thing Called Love, Growing On Me, Get Your Hands Off My Woman and Love Is Only A Feeling. It clocked up a series of awards, including three BRIT Awards, two Kerrang Awards and an Ivor Novello for Songwriters Of The Year.

A series of landmark shows, including a headline set at the 2004 Reading & Leeds Festivals, helped make the band international sensations. Follow-up album, 2005's One Way Ticket To Hell… And Back, produced the Top 10 hit One Way Ticket.

The Darkness, Justin Hawkins, Dan Hawkins, Frankie Poullain, Rufus Taylor, Pinewood Smile, O2 Guildhall Southampton
On the road: Justin Hawkins, Dan Hawkins, Rufus Taylor, Frankie Poullain (pic Simon Emmett)

In 2006 Justin Hawkins left the band, checking into rehab, and The Darkness fell apart. Following successful treatment, the band reformed in 2011 touring Europe and South America in 2012 with Lady Gaga.They released their comeback album, Hot Cakes, that year and Last Of Our Kind in 2015.

The Darkness, Justin Hawkins, Dan Hawkins, Frankie Poullain, Rufus Taylor, Pinewood Smile, O2 Guildhall Southampton
Last of their kind: The Darkness (pic: Simon Emmett)

Their story is set to be told in a film, due for release in 2018. The documentary is being created by photographer and filmmaker Simon Emmett who has recorded over 250 hours of footage, capturing the past, present, hopes, dreams and inner mental turmoil of The Darkness.

Justin explains: "As soon as Permission To Land was wrapped up I already knew it was going to be a mega smash. But I also knew that the second album would not be, and that we'd split up, and I knew we'd come back together and I knew the comeback would be fabulous. The fabulous element of the comeback hasn't materialised as yet, but it's all a work in progress. To be frank, the story of The Darkness is: years of perspiration, overnight sensation, over-saturation, temporary separation, reunion elation, career renovation, Pinewood Smile creation!"

The Darkness 2017 UK tour dates:

November 23: O2 Guildhall, Southampton;
November 24: Academy, Manchester;
November 25: King George's Hall, Blackburn;
November 27: O2 Academy, Leeds;
November 28: O2 Academy, Newcastle;
November 29: O2 Academy, Glasgow;
December 1: Victoria Hall, Stoke-On-Trent;
December 2: Rock City, Nottingham;
December 3: UEA, Norwich;
December 5: G Live, Guildford;
December 6: Winter Gardens, Margate;
December 7: Cliffs Pavilion, Southend-On-Sea;
December 9: O2 Academy, Birmingham;
December 10: Eventim Apollo, London;
December 11: Dome, Brighton;
December 13: St David's Hall, Cardiff;
December 14: Colston Hall, Bristol.
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Why? A band to make you smile
When: Tour starts on November 23, 2017, at O2 Guildhall, Southampton
Phone: 023 8063 2601
Where: O2 Guildhall, Southampton, then touring
Cost: £33.10 plus fees
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