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Hot Leg @ Roadhouse

August 9, 2008

Chris Brierley
9/ 8/2008

FROM the Arena to the Roadhouse . . . it’s been a long way down for Justin Hawkins after the demise of The Darkness.

A couple of years ago he was playing venues packed with thousands before drink and drug problems brought the bandwagon to a shuddering halt.

Now he has started on the long journey back with his new band Hot Leg in front of a couple of hundred in a cramped, dark cellar in the Northern Quarter.

But the flamboyant and charismatic front-man has lost none of his swagger and bravado, and still has that twinkle in his eye as he belts out songs from the band’s soon-to-be-released album in that familiar falsetto voice.

I can’t tell you the names of the songs, other than Heroes, because I’ve never heard them before but if you liked The Darkness then you will like Hot Leg because you can hardly see the join.

Hawkins is joined on the tiny stage by bass player Samuel Stokes, drummer Darby Todd and quicksilver guitarist Pete Rinaldi and for most of this gig all I can see is the tops of their heads from the back of the packed room.

But a few songs into the set and Hawkins manages to stand up on something and rips off his t-shirt to reveal his heavily tattooed and boney frame while someone throws a pair of knickers on the stage.

It’s all a bit cheesy ­– just like the music really – but it’s fun and everyone in the Roadhouse is having a great night – not least the band playing to their first sold out gig.

“This is the most fun we’ve had on the whole tour,” says Hawkins. “You guys are the home of rock. Manchester is the home of rock.”

They play a few covers to beef up the set but resist the temptation to play anything by The Darkness – until the final encore when they blast into I Believe In A Thing Called Love.

And everybody loved it. Welcome back Justin.

He's back
JUSTIN: He’s back


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