I headed down to the village friday just gone to see Justin Hawkins and his new band HotLeg. Ive heard a few of their songs before through their myspace and having been a fan of the darkness in their time thought it would be worth a gander to see Justin take out his Axe and throw out some rocking riffs.
I arrived just as the support band “The Crave” were starting their set. They rattled through an array of catchy rocky type songs which felt strongly influences by The Atari’s. Being a fan of The Atari’s i actually enjoyed their set and really felt for them as the place was pretty sparse on people at this point. The Crave put on a good show and had some good songs but they deserved a better crowd than they got as it seems that anyone coming for hotleg was leaving it last minute to show up.
After the Crave Finished up i went to the bar and had a chat with a friend about them, picked up their CD and before i knew it Hotleg were on stage. Very little waiting between bands and suddenly a raft of people had appeared. The Crowd was more of less as full as it was going to get, i dont think it was the showing Hotleg were hoping for as it was easy enough to get to about 4 lines back from the stage without pushing. Those attending though were very into the gig and got into the spectacle from the first song. The whole gig seemed choreographed from song to song with the band taking it in turns to showboat and riffs stopping at the same time with the drums continuing the beat and all the guitarists arms out over the head clapping getting the crowd involved at every point.
As with the darkness at this point in their career they only had the 1 album to call upon for songs and i half expected some covers to pad out some time having seen some youtube live video’s of them.
In fairness to them they didnt play any covers that i could discern and they included a fairly lengthy song which they entitled the “Erection Section” which was a more slow type song filled with solo’s and bit kind of like Gary Moore “ive still got the blues for you” which afterward they asked who had erections now, admiting they themselves had gotten erections from that song.
They came back for an encore with justin now wearing a tennis shirt and what looked like either boxers or fairly tight tennis shorts. eventually the tennis shirt came off and the finished off the gig justin mostly naked. They had a crowd interaction part for one of the final where the crowd in time would say “whooooooooaaa …………………….. HUH”
This eventually caught on among the crowd getting the timing right and the band proceeded to play a song around the crowds sound effect. It was done fantastically and really brought the crowd into the show for the final part of the gig. They closed off the gig to a rapturous applause and delerium considering the size of crowd, a fantastic show put on by a person who seems born to entertain.
Im not completely sold on hotleg’s music, some of the riff’s still reek heavily of The Darkness and i suppose there will be no getting away from that for him. I did like the music but i dont think the songs nor the lyrics were as anthemic or as catchy as his time with The Darkness. This might come with time as the new proejct settles into its comfort zone. Listening to him in an interview the morning before the gig on the Ray Foley show, he seemed to believe that the darkness thing had run its course and there wasnt anything else left in that. It will be interesting to see now if they are able to produce the kind of mass and cult following that they had during the Darkness era.
Certainly the era of cock rock isnt over just yet and i will be interested to see what comes next from hotleg, i dont think this album, or any of the single releases will garner them the support and adoration that Permission to Land got them but only time will tell.