Lost Society @ Newcastle Riverside 2, February 20 2019

Play in a thrash band? When Jeff Waters takes in one of your shows, it’s a ringing endorsement. Even more so when the Annihilator mainman raves about your fretwork on his way home.

The Canadian – recently relocated to North East England – joined a throng of Tynesiders to watch Lost Society rip up Riverside 2 on their first UK headline stint. That the young Finns made such a good impression on the thrash veteran wasn’t a surprise. The band are built for nights like this, shredding their way through songs like Rage Me Up and Hollow Eyes, inches away from a sweaty melee; they make thrash fun again, they soundtrack a great night out and they do it with a panache that would equal that of many of Waters’ contemporaries. If not better them.

Indeed, while Lost Society missed the height of the post-2000 thrash revival, they’ve nevertheless turned into one of its more intriguing propositions, capable of delivering frantic crossover ditties like Terror Hungry and more mature, refined, mid-paced fare such a I Am The Antidote – where Samy Elbanna and Arttu Lesonen take their glorious soloing high into the stratosphere. Both songs found a home on this show’s setlist and both were welcomed with open arms.

You see, this quartet know how to make their performances vibrant and zestful, they understand how to mix up the pace for maximum impact.

It makes for one hell of a gig.

And they’ll even play around a little and throw you the curveball of Rage Against The Machine’s Guerrilla Radio…not something anyone at this show would have expected, that’s for sure.

There’s also a kind of Sunset Strip slickness to Lost Society which puts them in a different bracket to either the all-aggro sounds of Germany’s heavyweights, or the goofball antics of Municipal Waste et al (even though they take plenty of inspiration from across the thrash spectrum).

They manage to sound raw and ultra-polished at the same time. It’s no mean feat.

Three years ago Lost Society pitched up to The Riverside with Exodus…and clearly converted many of Newcastle’s metal community to their cause, if tonight’s near-capacity crowd was anything to go by. Yes, this time around they were relegated to the venue’s smaller stage. But isn’t that how thrash is supposed to be experienced, up close, personal and intense? Plus, the boys from Jyväskylä didn’t exactly seem to mind, as they mainlined the crowd’s energy and incited them to Riot.

And on a night when the not so great and good of the music world were quaffing Champers at The Brit Awards, it was good to be reminded of the strength of the international metal scene, where a sense of belonging runs deep, wherever you happen to hail from… and whenever you were born.