The Darkness live in San Francisco
Updated: Mar 8
UKs stadium hair band The Darkness, takes the stage in the U.S.
After publishing my last blog speculating who will be taking the drum throne replacing Taylor Hawkins in the Foo Fighters, it's been mentioned to me that some people are unfamiliar with The Darkness from the UK. Yesterday whilst talking with a group of music industry friends, the conversation gravitated to the hot question of the day...who will be the new Foo drummer... and as the consensus was leaning to Rufus Taylor. I am reposting this article about the Darkness, the band that Rufus is a full time member of as their drummer. During this conversation I mentioned that he's already got a gig with The Darkness, and then realized that Taylor Hawkins also was a full time member of the Alanis Morissette band when he left them in 1997 to become the Foo drummer! The group of music industry friends I was talking to also confirmed that Rufus has been spending lots of time in LA. Whomever takes the throne, I am looking forward to the Foo Fighters tour as in August they will be playing in San Francisco and I hope to be there!
The Darkness are a rock band formed in England in the very early 2000's. The band consists of two brothers, Justin Hawkins lead vocals, lead guitar, his brother Dan Hawkins rhythm guitar backing vocals, bass player Frankie Poullain and drummer Rufus 'Tiger' Taylor. (As a side note, Rufus Taylor, the drummer, is no stranger to rock bands as his dad, Roger Taylor is Queens' drummer.) And since he was six years old, he has been close to the Foo Fighters family especially Taylor Hawkins. Bassist Poullain left the band in 2005, and was replaced by former guitar technician Richie Edwards. Only to return later in 2011.
The Darkness' first hit, "I Believe in a Thing Called Love", from their debut album, "Permission to Land", released in 2003. That first album went platinum in the UK, with sales of over 1.3 million. In 2004 the band started making a splash and winning awards with three Brit Awards for Best British Group, Best British Rock Act, and Best British Album. And soon after, they emerged on the music scene playing bigger venues and stadiums. The Darkness were well on their way up the charts on both continents, making it in the USA on a slightly different scale, than they had been reaching in their home country in the UK.
The band's second studio album, "One Way Ticket to Hell...and Back", was released in 2005. The following year, Justin Hawkins left the band after he did a stint in rehab for alcohol and cocaine addiction. After Hawkins left the band, the remaining members did their own thing in different bands, and Atlantic Records dropped them.
In 2011 The Darkness decided to reunite and announced reunion shows, with the original bassist Frankie Poullain. Their third album, "Hot Cakes", was then released in 2012. Original drummer Ed Graham then left the band for personal reasons. Their fourth studio album was announced and released in 2015, "Last of Our Kind". Then, came a 5th, 6th and 7th album. They have 7 studio albums in all and the present tour came to fruition as soon as it was safe to do so when the pandemic wasn't quite so deadly, starting in late 2021 and 2022.
In March 2022, I covered this show in San Francisco, after many years of wanting to see this band. I'd been a fan since first hearing them in 2003 in the UK. I'd compare their sound to many hair bands in the 80s. Justin Hawkins is a true front man. Strutting around the stage, reminding me of a young Mick Jagger or frontman, Luke Spiller from the Struts. Hawkins was entertaining and commanding the stage throughout the show. Several costume changes ensued during the performance ending with a bit more skin than many are used to when seeing a band. Reminded me a bit of Iggy Pop in many ways. Not a terrible thing for sure.
I love this band and would definitley see them again when they come back to Northern California. If you like good old fashioned rock n roll, or a fan of the 80s-90s hairbands... The Darkness should take a space on your list of bands to see.