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Justin Hawkins Rides again... Again The leader of the Darkness brings his YouTube show to the Glee Club

Justin Hawkins Rides again... Again

The leader of the Darkness brings his YouTube show to the Glee Club

by Tim Sparks,
first published: April, 2024

approximate reading time: minutes

Reviewing a track sent in by audience members, Hawkins dropped the funny man vibe for a short time offered genuine insight...

Glee Club

I had the pleasure recently of attending the Justin Hawkins Rides Again show at the Glee club in Birmingham, an interesting venue, with seats are far too close together for my liking. And all on one level too, so the view is somewhat restricted. The audience was a mix Darkness fans, Justin's YouTube viewers and few folks just dragged along with a partner or pal.

After an hour or so wait, the main event kicked off with Hawkins, the self-proclaimed Rock God casually sauntering onto the stage to present what is effectively a live version of his current YouTube channel offering, and over the PA comes the words… Please No filming or photographs, I guess so as not to have footage out there ahead of the forthcoming shows….or else maybe people might not attend.

Hawkins is a sort of morphed version of Blackadder and Lord Flashheart, with a cheeky chappy vibe, he starts with his YouTube intro jingle which wouldn’t go amiss in an episode of The Clangers, and encouraged everyone to sing along, the crowd made an effort to humour him, I'm not sure if the nerves were making him a little on edge appearing as a solo act.

The main thrust of the show seemed to revolve around a series of questions previously emailed by attendees, with Justin reading the answers out, and calling out the names of those who participated, mildly amusing but a little dull overall. It filled some time.

After a brief chat about how he got started, where he lived etc, he went on to give us some history of various parts of his Darkness life, siting drink and drug fuelled events that led to a virtual band break up, and his recollection of leading the Rock Band frontman lifestyle, which I feel was much more exciting for him than it was for those around him at the time.

He seems to have severe dislike of Gary Barlow and Take That for some reason, so much so that he spent maybe 15 minutes or so berating them, and Barlow in particular in every way possible, I can only surmise its related to their global success and 45M record sales, but who knows.

The interesting moments featured Justin playing guitar, getting into the more detailed parts of songwriting, talking about some of the people he has met along the way, and the odd “serious” line where you feel it's the real person behind the persona, I think a bit more of this would have gone down well, we can all see the showman image on his YouTube channel, I probably wasn't alone in hoping to see more of the man behind the mask.

The final half hour or so was dedicated to listening to, and critiquing a song penned by an audience member chosen Justin prior to to the show. This was probably the most interesting bit for me, the song played and it was very good, written and recorded by a Female/Male duo. Hawkins offered genuine insight, he dropped the funny man vibe for a short time and entered into a discussion about the track, and had some good feedback and comments.

Overall it was interesting and entertaining, you can't dismiss the fact that he’s amassed a following of some 500k subscribers, personally I would have liked a bit more material that's not seen on the YouTube channel, and a little less comedic material, but there we are.

Would I go again…probably yes…

Main image by Sven Mandel via Wikimedia Commons

Tim Sparks

Tim is a UK based music producer who takes a keen interest in artists who are just starting out, from helping them to get their music heard, to advice on studio production and live performance and way more.

about Tim Sparks »»



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