It takes some serious effort to remain relevant in a career that spans literal decades. Granted, they had a bit of a break in the middle, but British rock legends The Darkness still haven’t lost the spark they had when they first burst in to the international rock scene with their seminal debut Permission to Land back in 2003. With four successful albums under their belt and another on its way, the lads from Lowestoft are heading to our shores once again to play Groovin the Moo, as well as numerous sideshows around the country.
In a band that specialises in frenetic, flamboyant live performances, the band’s bassist Frankie Poullain still manages to stand out. Although soft-spoken and more introverted than his colleagues, Poullain is still a mighty presence on stage. With his signature handlebar moustache/afro combo and Gibson Thunderbird bass in hand, Poullain commands the low end of The Darkness machine in a way that few – if any – could match. Despite having been to our shores several times before – with the last been their Last of Our Kind tour in 2015 – Poullain is keen to see more of Australia than its city centres.
“It’s always a pleasure to play somewhere you’ve never been before. Friends of mine – you know, the brothers from Lowestoft in the United Kingdom – they’re used to playing on the fringes, cut off from the big cities. A lot of our songs come from that sort of sensibility, and I think the songs resonate with people from those kinds of places,” he said.
While Melbourne’s sideshows have been very, very popular – the first two sold out, and a third added – one of the main highlights of their trip will be their Groovin the Moo shows, for a slightly unusual reason: the Groovin the Moo take on the Ashes. Violent Soho threw down the gauntlet back in January, with GTM colleagues The Smith Street Band jumping on board soon after, challenging The Darkness and fellow UK band Architects to what is sure to be one hell of a cricket match. While initially unaware of the mighty challenge, Poullain was quick to jump on board.
“That’s great! I had no idea this was on the cards. Y’know, Dan [guitarist] is a decent cricket player, so I reckon we could well be up for that. I’m pretty sure Rufus [drummer] would’ve played cricket at school too. Bare in mind, though, I’m Scottish and we have probably the worst cricket team of all time. Pass on from us that we accept the challenge – I’m looking forward to it,” he said.
With a bevy of shows rapidly approaching, and a rather hectic recording schedule on the cards, Poullain is excited at the prospect of getting on the road again. “It’s going to be unlike anything we’ve done before. At least, I certainly hope so. That’s why we’ve done it, cause we wanted to do something a bit different,” he said. If the past is anything to go by, The Darkness’ latest trip is going to absolutely blow our socks off.
Written by Alastair McGibbon
Photo by Simon Emett
When & Where: Max Watt’s, Melbourne – May 2, 170 Russell, Melbourne – May 3 & 5 & Groovin the Moo, Bendigo – May 6.
— The Smith St Band (@smithstband) 30 January 2017