FOR Frankie Poullain, there is nothing quite like home. The palpable energy and unrivalled spirit of a Scottish audience are the elements he savours every time they traverse the Solway Firth. He beams at the memory of the band's last show in Glasgow, only a few months ago, and is counting the seconds until The Darkness return to Scotland.

Looking back, it seems that so many chapters in the history of the band are set north of the border. They were broadcast to millions across the world as they performed live at the MTV Europe Music Awards from Edinburgh in 2003. Then, famously, they were promoted to the headline spot at T in the Park as David Bowie dropped out due to illness.

There are, of course, the obvious Scottish references in lyrics over the years, with the more recent Welcome tae Glasgae, the vanguard of the 2021 record Motorheart, serving as an ode to their "favourite city…the envy of the sassenach".

It is undeniable that, for The Darkness, playing shows north of the border will always be on the cards, with each date a guaranteed highlight of any given tour. Indeed, their gig at The Barrowlands last December has proved memorable – and an ideal location to showcase their Glaswegian epigram.

Poullain, a Scot himself, recounts some of those incredible Scottish chapters with The Weekender, in the knowledge that the band return in September later this year to play Vibration Festival in Falkirk as headliners. The Darkness' love affair with Scottish shows, perhaps, harps back to their 2003 appearance at MTV European Music Awards – an event which launched them far and wide, and all before a hometown crowd for the bass player.

"That was probably the biggest thing I have ever done," Poullain says. "They asked us to play and by pure coincidence, they were held in Edinburgh, where I was brought up.

"It was the most surreal thing – I remember the night before and we were at this hotel reception with Michael Stipe, Shirley Mansion, The White Stripes and all those who have a big album that year. Crazy. And it was hosted by Justin Timberlake and Christina Aguilera – she introduced us and she was dressed in this 80s hair metal outfit.

"They made this film of the spaceship flying over Edinburgh to introduce and had us emerge from under the stage on podiums through the dry ice… it was pure Spinal Tap. Of course, we were playing live, no backing track or anything. My family was in the audience and there were millions of people watching it TV live all over the world."

Scottish crowds had already taken to the band. And after that MTV broadcast, they were asked once again to play the country's biggest festival at the time – T in the Park. Taking pride of place on the main stage ahead of The Charlatans, Starsailor and Faithless and just behind the legend that was David Bowie.

As fate would have it, Bowie had to pull out due to illness, with The Darkness pushed into the top spot. Perhaps a bit of a turning point for the band, Poullain feels.

"T in the Park," he reflects. "David Bowie pulls out and we're promoted. That was crazy. Looking back, I think that's maybe when the backlash started, because we were not equipped for that. I think we maybe just about got away with that show, and the one in Ireland [Oxygen Festival], but Reading was a tough one.

"We've always been a Marmite band. And a lot of people thought we were a novelty act, with a 35-minute album. And there we were trying to fill an hour and a half set to do.

"Thinking back, it was a crazy thing to do. I suppose we set ourselves up for a fall by doing that, but at least we can say we headlined T in the Park."

The Darkness' second album also bore a few Scottish links, most notably the song Hazel Eyes, as that special affair continued. Indeed, it remained as strong even with Poullain leaving the band for a few years, and then the five-year hiatus – the dark times.

Nevertheless, they re-assembled in 2011, with Poullain back on the four-string, and continued to entertain the masses north of the border. The band's singer Justin Hawkins even credits one Glasgow crowd for getting him through an evening when his voice had been on the brink and his throat in need of minor surgery.

It had been an up and down era for the band since then. Albums 3, 4, 5 and 6 were all wheeled out before they unveiled arguably their best work in 2021's Motorheart, featuring a very Scottish opening track.

Poullain feels the band has been as strong as ever, adding some more progressive elements to their core sound. The sheer joy he takes from his position is clear and the band's culture has become crucial in keeping them together now.

He says: "There is no way we could have lasted this long doing this, touring all over the world, if we were taking ourselves deadly serious. Our way has allowed us to enjoy it, to play these songs night after night.

"There are people who take music really seriously, and who are reverential – the whole 'Eric Clapton is god' type of people – and there are others who are in it for the enjoyment of it, and irreverence."

The climate in the music industry has no doubt shifted since the Permission to Land days, but The Darkness had always been about standing apart from the norm and embracing absurdity and spectacle in equal measure.

The bass player adds: "Justin taps into that sort of, almost, Roald Dahl type of children's stories that are a little bit perverse or dark and twisted. Roald Dahl realised that kids had that kind of imagination – it's not like a Spielberg movie or Disney film, they like things that are a little bit twisted, and grown-ups do, too. He might not even had read those books, but I think he just instinctively has that mindset.

"The rock star should be child-like, they should be both masculine and feminine, and have the qualities of animal – something just a little bit feral. I think that's why people miss Freddy [Mercury] so much...because he just encapsulated that. We had never seen a person like that before."

The Darkness' to and fro with Scotland hit a crescendo one wintery night last year. They were touring in support of Motorheart and finally landed at The Barrowlands. There was no doubt which song they would open with…

Poullain says: "Welcome tae Glasgae goes down so well when we play it live. We started with it at The Barrowlands and it sent shivers through my spine. The bass and drums kicked in and the crowd started chanting the whole 'Here we… Here we… Here we f***ing go' thing and it was just so feral and wild. I had goosebumps."

He adds: "It was strange the way that track came about. I think it started with the bass pattern and Dan told me to stay on that night and he'd work around it – so, I'm just basically playing this note for ages, before Ru [drummer Rufus Taylor] came up with his jungle drums. It felt a little bit Welcome to the Jungle and then someone said: 'Welcome to Glasgow'.

"And something about it just made sense. It's just about that feeling when you're driving up to Glasgow and it's all grey and rainy and you see someone walking down the street eating chips and then you pull in and should be bleak and horrible, but it's just so great. You know it's always going to be a great night in Glasgow – it's such a special place.

"A lot of people talk about Edinburgh, but they don't have the warmth of Glaswegians – they don't have that hospitality, that charm or that wit. Even though I am from Edinburgh, I wish I was from Glasgow."

While some Glaswegians will wince at the phrasing, it is a nod to The Darkness' own stylings that has stood them in good stead for the best part of 20 years.

"Justin went with the, sort of, Edinburgh-ish pronunciation," Poullain explains. "He always likes to do things just a little bit wrong. A bit of self-sabotage. Not sure he'll change the lyrics to Falkirk [for Vibration], he might think that that's the sort of thing Bono would do, so maybe not."