Legends didn’t serve Cumbria’s Falling Red too well last time round. With a severed set the result of a pent-up Sebastian Bach crew, the four-piece didn’t truly get a chance to impress.
But now, headlining a gig of their own at the Newcastle venue, the up-and-coming act got their time to shine in front of a modest yet ferociously intimate turnout.
Velvet Star were meant to warm up this gig with a respectable support slot, but evidently they had other ideas. Instead of easing the Newcastle crowd into a night of sleaze the Yorkshire five-piece stormed the stage with a barrage of hard rocking punk.
An anarchic frontman, shirtless, wild and with a cheese-grater six-pack might be assumed as a poser by all means but there’s no doubt that Danny Jones had the charisma, energy and audacious attitude to go with the raw yet melodic dirge of sound.
When he announces “this is about me, this is Ego”, the track perfectly solidified Velvet Star’s identity as a jagged rock n’ roll punk force. If you stayed for the whole set, you would not only have realised that this was an unexpectedly varied performance, but also that they’re tighter than a rat’s ass.
Speaking of rats, Star Rats followed up with some intoxicating sleaze. Epitomized by a middle-finger, who-gives-a-hoot attitude, the Scandinavian four-piece hid nothing, exerting a 100% effort which, in hindsight worked both for and against them.
Ardently evoking their messy rock n’ roll aesthetics, it became clear that their strongest factor is sheer enthusiasm and the radiating atmosphere they generate. But underneath this, the unfortunate fact remains that they sport a samey, generic and essentially empty cliché shell that simply lacks in inspiration. A quick Social Distortion cover nearly proved this, almost being their best song of the night until Another Tragedy swooped the honours with an emotional, rocky bombardment.
You can completely understand why Falling Red would make some time to berate the main act when they were supporting Sebastian Bach at the same venue last year, especially when their set was cut ridiculously short by the former Skid Row singer. A swift ‘fuck Sebastian Bach’ was in order, but only after attempting to plough their way through a set that could match the brazened intensity of Velvet Star or the zealous heroism of Star Rats.
Popping out some anthemic chorus’ while both support acts flooded the stage, the four-piece created the ultimate party atmosphere to kick off the weekend. What is most pleasing about Falling Red is their ability to not only craft a big chorus, but also to interpret it into a huge epic when playing it to a devoted audience. The pop-edged ‘wooahws’ complemented the thunderous sleazeball guitar riffs on Come On Down.
The Last Kiss Goodbye gave the Cumbrian rockers the much needed variety in their set. Pausing for their very own November Rain moment, the sublime lead picking of Shane Kirk led the verses beautifully, before Shake A Leg reverted back to the bouncy rock excitement that typified the best part of their performance.
Receiving a rapturous applause upon finish, Falling Red closed curtains with a fun-spirited cover of the classic, swinging blues tune Rock Around The Clock.
Evidently relishing the occasion amongst the flavoursome thick sound, they had no apprehension regarding restrictions this time round and thankfully they revelled in the fact. Fuck the Grand National, back Falling Red to materialise from a UK prospect to a dependable sleaze favourite, unless your name is Sebastian of course.