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Darkness singer stages his return

November 3, 2008

Rick Pearson, Evening Standard 03.11.08

Hot Leg

Rock hero: Justin Hawkins with new band Hot Leg and lyrics from the Spinal Tap school of poetry

Do you remember The Darkness, the four-headed lovechild of Queen and Spinal Tap that stormed the charts in tiger suits and Spandex? Well, their frontman Justin Hawkins is back. Hot Leg, his latest effort, were Saturday night headliners at the London Games Festival — a free interactive extravaganza in Trafalgar Square celebrating computer games and grizzly rock music.

There’s a growing relationship between Ram and rock at present, with games like Guitar Hero bringing the sounds of Aerosmith and AC/DC to teenage bedrooms around the country.

Can Hot Leg profit from this rock-friendly climate? I doubt it. Hawkins was on fine form as ever, braving the bitterly cold evening in a fetching beret-and-vest ensemble, but there wasn’t a lot to suggest that he and his hairy rock companions would be headlining arenas any time soon.

There were highlights, of course. Heroes had a galloping beat, helium-assisted harmonies and a lightning guitar solo. Elsewhere, current single Trojan Guitar was part medieval ballad, part
Seventies prog-rock and the closest thing to a hit on display.

As you’d expect from a man who includes references to ping pong and archery in his pop songs, there were some interesting lyrics to ponder. One number included the refrain: “Oh the Eighties/They were the gaydies/They were the straighties/In 1980,” suggesting Hawkins may have attended the Spinal Tap school of poetry.

Not that he is one to let something as trivial as lyrics stand in his way. “This is going to be our Christmas single,” he announced to the crowd, before launching into I Met Jesus, a maddeningly catchy ditty about a chance encounter with the Lord.

It’s not the first time Hawkins has tried for a Christmas number one. The Darkness’s Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End) was narrowly beaten to the top spot by Michael Andrews and Gary Jules’s version of Mad World in 2003. It would be a mad world indeed if I Met Jesus were to change this.

Although in a land where artists such as Bob The Builder and Mr Blobby have bagged Christmas number ones, it may be Hot Leg’s best chance of success.

Failing that, they might be able to get a track on one of the guitar hero games and become rock stars in virtual reality. As for becoming a hit band in the real world, I’d say that was virtually impossible.

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