After several South By Southwest days of seeing polite, sexless college-rock bands noodle on synthesizers while staring social-retardedly at their Converse, I couldn't have been more ready to welcome the long-overdue return of JUSTIN FRIGGIN' HAWKINS.
The former Darkness frontman's glammy and hammy new rock 'n' roll brigade, Hot Leg, made their cranked-to-11 live U.S. debut at the Spin magazine SXSW party at Stubb's Friday afternoon. And while I already knew that I'd missed Justin, I didn't realize how MUCH I'd missed him until he hit the Stubb's stage in a rivet-studded, unzipped-to-the-crotch, nothing-left-to-the-imagination tight leather jumpsuit, his glass-shattering falsetto echoing across Stubb's backyard on new barnstormers like "I've Met Jesus" and "Cocktails." (The latter song boasted a stadium-singalong chorus with the word "cock" repeated about 87 times--how rock 'n' roll is that?)
Now THAT is a proper rock gig, people!
This show of shows ended most magnificently and memorably with Justin straddling the shoulders of a roadie and being carried like a king through the audience during his wonderfully wanky guitar solo. Even the most killjoy indie purists in the crowd (you know, the ones at the party to see Passion Pit and Cut Off Your Hands) had Warrant-style cherry-pie smiles plastered across their faces at that point. Because there was no doubting that Justin was BACK and brasher than ever.
"I was huge fan of the Darkness, and Hot Leg's recent debut album is both incredibly tuneful and deeply funny. And Justin is the consummate old-school rock performer--with a capital P," raved Spin editor Doug Brod, whose decision to book Hot Leg for Spin's SXSW bash makes him a rock-hero-by-association, in my eyes.
Right before Justin put on his leathers to play this awesome concert, I had the most delightful opportunity to welcome him back out of the darkness (pun intended) and into the spotlight, when I interviewed him and the rest of Hot Leg backstage at Stubb's. I couldn't help but geek out a bit, nearly dropping my camera because I was so tempted to do the devil's-horn heavy metal sign with both my hands.
But I managed to compose myself, steady my hands on my camera, and capture the deeply funny interview below: