The Darkness make a dazzling return at Download

Newly reunited glam rockers play first festival in five years

The Darkness make a dazzling return at Download

Photographer: Sara BowreyAnna Hyams on 10 June 2011

Frontman Justin Hawkins' new look is more Ringmaster than Masters of Rock and they started slow with a longer-than-necessary intro leaving the crowd looking rather nonplussed.

Hawkins' ear-bleedingly high pitched vocals did pick up a pretty cold audience with 'Get Your Hands off My Woman' and 'One Way Ticket To Hell', but the cheers die quicker than a bug on a windshield and never make it further than the sound tent.

'I believe In A Thing Called Love' was always guaranteed to get a good response and the sound was near perfect quality, regardless of the attempted wailing-along everyone was doing. It was a bright moment in an otherwise mildly dissapointing set.

Despite their musical talent, something in the show has clearly gone awry. The band exited with ticker tape explosions, pyrotechnics and shiny lights aside but were not firing at their best. Some audience members commented that they should have tried a few smaller, friendlier events to ease back into it.

Def Leppard play a controversial headline set tonight at Download Festival 2011, with System of a Down and Linkin Park headlining Saturday and Sunday night respectively.

Earlier today Virtual Festivals caught up backstage with Asking Alexandria and Children of Bodom before their Friday afternoon sets for a quick interview.

Follow VF on Twitter and Facebook for the most up-to-date coverage of Download Festival 2011 throughout the weekend.

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