18 Mar 2009

Hot Leg at the Academy, Oxford

+ posted by FlamingWhopper

Rating: 3 out of 5

Five years ago, Justin Hawkins was the biggest underdog success story in British rock. But after selling more than four million albums, his former band the Darkness fell from favour and dissolved in acrimony. Following a spell in rehab for cocaine and alcohol addiction, Hawkins dropped off the map while Russell Brand replaced him as the nation’s favourite ironic-Byronic dandy.

Playing with his new band Hot Leg in front of a modest-sized Oxford crowd on Tuesday, Hawkins looked fitter and younger than in his Darkness heyday. With his bleach-blond moptop and tiger-print leggings, he self-consciously summoned up the cheesy grandeur of 1980s pop-metal titans such as Van Halen or Poison. Likewise the other three band members, all sporting the regulation Sunset Strip poodle-rock uniform of headbands and scarves.

Beneath these cosmetic differences, Hot Leg do not sound significantly dissimilar to the Darkness. Although their songs are slightly less baroque and stadium-friendly, Hawkins still overstuffs them with saucy innuendo, shrill falsetto warbles and majestically incontinent guitar solos. Tuesday’s stand-out numbers, including a dynamic You Can’t Hurt Me Any More and a raunchy Whichever Way You Wanna Give It, easily matched any of his past hits.

Alas, Hawkins no longer has the budget to soar over the crowd on a giant white tiger. But even in credit-crunched form, flamboyant showmanship remains the watchword. His show incorporated synchronised pelvic thrusts, costume changes and a guitar-playing piggyback ride through the crowd on the shoulders of a roadie.

The amount of ironic distance that Hawkins brings to his performance has long been a critical sore point, but this debate is essentially a red herring. Dozens of rock legends, from Little Richard and Mick Jagger onwards, have balanced emotional truth with camp self-mockery. While no serious metal band would write a song called Gay in the 80s, another highlight, the crucial point is that Hawkins clearly loves this music even as he smothers it with wink-wink, nudge-nudge parody.

That said, Hot Leg need more roof-raising, floor-wiping anthems than they can currently muster. Surprisingly free of old Darkness tracks, this show was big on humour, but low on musical punch. Hawkins is a natural crowd-pleaser, comfortable onstage and impossible to dislike. But even the most heroically preposterous man in rock needs to take himself a little seriously at times.

O2 Academy, London SE10, tonight; Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms, Fri; Brighton Concorde 2, Sat; Norwich Waterfront, Mon

Credit: Stephen Dalton | timesonline.co.uk

Ads

New Album - Red Light Fever OUT NOW

Flickr Photostream

www.flickr.com
This is a Flickr badge showing public photos and videos from Flaming Whopper. Make your own badge here.

Archive

June 2011 (2 posts)
November 2010 (2 posts)
June 2010 (13 posts)
May 2010 (14 posts)
April 2010 (4 posts)
March 2010 (5 posts)
February 2010 (10 posts)
January 2010 (11 posts)
January 2010 (2 posts)
December 2009 (17 posts)
October 2009 (13 posts)
October 2009 (3 posts)
August 2009 (5 posts)
August 2009 (10 posts)
July 2009 (16 posts)
June 2009 (18 posts)
May 2009 (13 posts)
April 2009 (20 posts)
March 2009 (53 posts)
February 2009 (39 posts)
January 2009 (32 posts)
December 2008 (32 posts)
November 2008 (23 posts)
October 2008 (23 posts)
September 2008 (37 posts)
August 2008 (56 posts)
July 2008 (47 posts)
June 2008 (63 posts)
May 2008 (26 posts)
April 2008 (24 posts)
March 2008 (19 posts)
February 2008 (36 posts)
January 2008 (9 posts)
December 2007 (3 posts)
November 2007 (8 posts)
October 2007 (3 posts)
September 2007 (4 posts)
August 2007 (3 posts)
July 2007 (2 posts)
April 2007 (7 posts)
March 2007 (8 posts)
February 2007 (2 posts)
January 2007 (8 posts)
December 2006 (8 posts)
November 2006 (3 posts)
October 2006 (2 posts)
September 2006 (9 posts)
August 2006 (11 posts)
July 2006 (4 posts)
June 2006 (11 posts)
May 2006 (15 posts)
April 2006 (24 posts)
March 2006 (19 posts)
February 2006 (27 posts)
January 2006 (36 posts)
December 2005 (45 posts)
November 2005 (39 posts)

Affliates

The Darkness PortugalAngel Of MetalBubblegum Slut - FanzineJustin Hawkins RocksJustin and Dan HawkinsSezzles Online