Darkness crowned the kings of rock

By Mark HeathSHAGGY-haired rockers The Darkness were crowned as the new kings of rock at last night's Brit Awards after they walked away with three gongs.

By Mark Heath

SHAGGY-haired rockers The Darkness were crowned as the new kings of rock at last night's Brit Awards after they walked away with three gongs.

The group, fronted by Lowestoft brothers Justin and Dan Hawkins, won Best British Group, Best British Rock Act and the much-coveted Best British Album for Permission to Land.

Their three-award haul was the biggest of the night and capped a phenomenal year for the retro-rockers, which has seen them top the album chart and enjoy several huge hits.

After accepting the prize for Best British Group, flamboyant front man Justin - a former pupil at Kirkley High School in Lowestoft - told the massed audience of the group's delight.

He said: “This is a real privilege, a tremendous honour and a great achievement - and I have to say, we probably are the best British group.”

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Of winning the rock award, he added: “Apparently, they created this category especially for us and we are honoured and privileged.

“We should thank our collective parents for bestowing on us the gift of rock.”

Then, true to form, the band put on the most outrageous stage show of the entire evening, which was held in London's Earl Court.

Sporting a feather-trimmed silver catsuit, Justin wailed out the lyrics to their number two hit, I Believe In A Thing Called Love.

At the climax of the song, performed against an underwater Atlantis backdrop, Justin was lifted into the air on a huge flashing neon column.

Yet, while The Darkness were the evening's big winners, another Suffolk pop star almost stole the show.

Busted won two awards, Best Pop Act and Best British Breakthrough Artist - a category in which they beat off stiff competition from none other than The Darkness.

Smartly dressed in retro-style suits, the group wowed the massed audience with a rocking rendition of The Undertones classic, Teenage Kicks.

Former Framlingham College pupil Charlie Simpson, who comes from Woodbridge, fronts the group, who shot to stardom with the single What I Go to School For.

Since then, the band have enjoyed a number one single with Crashed the Wedding - beating pop princess Britney Spears to the top of the charts - and two smash-hit albums.

In 2003, the group were the second-best selling act in the UK, behind only international superstars Coldplay.

mark.heath@eadt.co.uk

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