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London Astoria, 24 November, 2008

The Duvals started the evening off, a two piece augmented by backing tapes as it was juts a guitarist and vocalist. The songs were strong, melodic based ones with a slight indie rock feel and certainly a band I will be investigating further on MySpace. They went down well and I am sure they won over a few fans on the night.

Next up Hotleg the new band formed around ex-Darkness frontman Justin Hawkins who showed off his flat belly to doubtless counter the rather unkind jibes at his love handles on the last Darkness tour.

He certainly looks fitter and was bouncing around the stage and amazingly the guitarist in the band has almost a high dog-bothering voice as Justin Hawkins! The band look like 80's hair metal rejects and sadly the tunes lacked any hooks bar the recent single 'Trojan Guitar' which is a good song.

They got a fair reception from the crowd and the few hecklers were admirably dealt with by Justin Hawkins but Hotleg made little impression on me unlike the first time I heard the Darkness supporting Def Leppard. They look like Bad News, pose like Spinal Tap, and really need to pen a few decent hook filled songs to make any impression on music fans.

I was looking forward big time to seeing Extreme as live wise I had only seen them previously on at the Freddie Mercury tribute concert. They kicked in with an amazingly fast paced start to the set with new song 'Comfortably Dumb', followed by a frantic 'Decadence Dance', 'Rest In Peace' and a very heavy version 'It's A Monster', guitarist Nuno Bettencourt was on fine form for this one.

The Queen like 'Star' of the new album went down well with the crowd and it was amazing to watch the sheer stage presence and mobility of vocalist Gary Cherone. Happy to report as well his voice still sounds great and for me a real treat was a medley of songs of their first album including 'Kid Ego', fantastic stuff.

The band reduced the tempo midway through their set with their big hit 'More Than Words', although Nuno Bettencourt had a little bit of fun playing the intro to 'Stairway To Heaven' and said he wished he'd written that one!

From the onstage comments I assume Jimmy Page was somewhere in the audience. After this came 'Ghost' of the new album which shows the band's harmonies off to a tee and is great song that more than matches up to their past work.

'Get The Funk Out' got a rousing reception with bassist Pat Badger getting his turn in the spotlight. Quick mention as well to drummer Kevin Figueiredo who is a fantastic drummer able to keep it simple when needed and other times add some neat, funky playing plus he sports the best set of sideburns and afro hairdo last seen on footballer George Berry!

Encore time saw 'Am I Ever Gonna Change' followed by a stripped down version of 'Hole Hearted' and finally another nod to Led Zeppelin in the set as the band tore through 'Communication Breakdown'. Blimey on this performance messrs Page, Jones and Bonham will be bringing in Gary Cherone for an audition for their upcoming tour!

Extreme were superb and hopefully they will back again soon. A great night of funky melodic rock and if you've not got their new album go grab a copy pronto.

Review by Jason Ritchie

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