TO MY eternal shame I failed to catch The Darkness first time around.

It was a pleasure to put that right.

More than one football team calls itself “The Pride of East Anglia” but in rock terms The Darkness has an undisputed claim to that title.

Southampton Guildhall was packed for the return of the fun and fabulous foursome last night.

Few musical experiences can rival watching a leading rock band in full flight and the crowd urging them on.

You can keep your Pop Idol hopefuls and reality television rejects – this is how it should be done.

The show opened with flaming pyrotechnics and a rip roaring rendition of Black Shuck, the song dedicated to the fabled demon dog that prowls the eastern flatlands.

More classic tracks followed along with guitars being played behind the head, bassist Frankie Poullain embarking on some solo cowbell and frontman Justin Hawkins standing on his head. There was also a sneak preview of material from the third studio album due out next year. It was great to see the Hawkins brothers back together again. Their separate projects, Hot Leg and Stone Gods, both rocked, but this was the original article and no mistake.

Without any doubt The Darkness lit up Southampton.