07 Mar 2009

Gig review: Hot Leg

+ posted by FlamingWhopper

Rating: ***
CABARET VOLTAIRE, EDINBURGH

"I WAS speaking to a Spanish journalist recently," recounts Hot Leg singer Justin Hawkins, "and all he could ask about was the Darkness. 'Will the Darkness be playing any festivals this year?' What do you think, you p*****?" Ouch. Still a bit of a sore point, then?

Hawkins was, of course, also the lead singer in the Darkness, a band who briefly owned the worlds of pop and 1980s hair-metal revivalism between 2003 and 2005, before disintegrating in bitter, booze-fuelled fashion. Hawkins then went on to such career highs as trying and failing to represent the UK at the Eurovision Song Contest and covering Billy Ocean, alongside Jeremy Clarkson, for Comic Relief.

By such standards, his new band, Hot Leg, are a glorious return to form except, by any other, they're just more of the same.

Once again flanked by very average-looking men in eyeliner and gold headbands, Hawkins flings his long hair about, strips down to his tattooed torso and inexplicably reappears for the encore dressed in tennis whites. His defining vocal characteristic, that eardrum-shrivelling falsetto, is dished out during Gay in the 80s and Do it in the Dark and, less thrillingly, throughout an extended coda to the main set-closing Cocktails, during which he serenades the male genitalia.

That just about sums up the show: some crowd-pleasing silliness (including a guitar solo played while being marched around the venue on some poor sap's shoulders), childish humour and a couple of hundred people retaining sporadic interest.

The guy who shouted out "Anvil!" at the end had it right.

Credit: DAVID POLLOCK | news.scotsman.com

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