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Justin Hot Legs it to Brum

August 8, 2008

Justin Hawkins back on stage with his new band.Justin Hawkins back on stage with his new band.

Hot Leg
The Barfly, Birmingham

There wasn’t a sequinned catsuit in sight as former Darkness frontman Justin Hawkins made his return to the stage with his new band Hot Leg.

Hawkins says Hot Leg is ”a more intense version of the Darkness” and he certainly delivered on that promise last night with his trademark falsetto and flamboyant harmonies.

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Sporting tiger stripe jeans, a headband in his shaggy blond hair and bright orange finger polish, he looked lean and energetic after two years away which have included a session in rehab to help him kick his well-publicised drink and drug addictions.

It was business as usual as Hawkins continued on his mission to put the smile back on the face of rock along with his four-piece band.

Last time he played in Birmingham, he was greeted by 11,000 Darkness fans at the NEC as he arrived above the stage inside a giant pair of illuminated boobs.

The time there were about 300 fans packed inside the tiny Barfly for the band’s first low-key dates, and the singer-guitarist merely strode on to the stage, but the welcome was no less rapturous.

The set was heavy on material from Hot Leg’s soon-to-be-released debut album, including Trojan Guitar and Gay In The 80s, which might turn out to be the band’s big anthem, plus the download-only track Heroes.

There were two intriguing and somewhat eccentric covers, both called The Power Of Love – the Jennifer Rush and Huey Lewis songs – as well as a blast through Van Halen’s Hot For Teacher which saw Hawkins do a quick change and come back dressed for a game of tennis!

Hot Leg wrapped up the show with what was called on the set-list “The Ultimate Song”. It turned out to be his former band’s biggest hit, I Believe In A Thing Called Love, and won the biggest cheer of the night.

The Darkness may have divided rock fans like no other band, but Hawkins showed last night that he can still light up any stage.

By Ian Harvey



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