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Hot Leg at Camden Proud Galleries – 6th August

August 7, 2008
Justin Hawkins’ live return…we have the report

Hot Leg, debut gig, Proud Galleries, Camden, 6th July 2008 If you had the pre-conceived idea that Justin Hawkins was a flamboyant dressing, novelty rock anthem yelping, glam-rock show-off, then you won’t need much introduction to his new band, Hot Leg. Playing his first gig for two years, Hawkins has been through a breakdown, rehab and the messy break-up of The Darkness, to surface once again and try to take Hot Leg to the top, starting at Camden’s Proud Galleries.

After that two year hiatus, you might think that Hawkins would come back with some fresh ideas or a new take on modern popular music. But why should he? The Darkness were successful and had number one album, so he’s surely within his rights to stick with the same Led Zeppelin on acid style. After all, this shows integrity, loyalty to a genre and determination to make it to the top the way he wants to.

Everything you expect from Hawkins is here. The tiger pants, the headbands, undoubted enthusiasm, and lets face it, the man knows how to put on a show. He constantly addresses the crowd, enticing a chant of ‘Hot Leg’ and engaging in a bizarre scream-off with guitarist Peter Rinaldi to see who can reach the highest pitch. Needless to say, the crowd love it.

But are the sing-along anthems that made The Darkness so popular present? The ingredients are certainly here: face melting solos, epic drum endings, scream till you burst vocals. Despite this, nothing really sticks in your head the way ‘I Believe in a Thing Called Love’ did and the riffs blur into one-another in an undistinguishable manner. Mid-set the band begins a song a cappella, bringing much needed change to proceedings.

Strutting around the stage violently thrusting his pelvis forward, Hawkins screamed out ‘Trojan Guitar’ and ‘Heroes’ (both up on the bands MySpace page), to the glee of the ponytail-heavy crowd, but it’s the set-closer, the aforementioned ‘I Believe…’ brings the biggest cheer of the night.

Certainly unique amongst the music scene today, and lacking no gusto or ability to visually entertain, it would seem Hot Leg have a market to appeal to. Chart success could be beyond them on this showing, but who honestly thought ‘Permission to Land’ would receive five-platinum status? The epic sound of Hot Leg could be about to hit your radio, whether you like it or not.

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