wednesday-tall@ Newcastle o2 Academy, March 31 2009

One day there will be no more Mr Alice Cooper and maybe that’s the day when the cynical rock community will wake up and take notice of Wednesday 13. So he wears his shock rock heart on his sleeve and pours forth straight from the celebrated and oft mimicked Furnier songbook. So what? We can’t watch Alice every night – why not back his bastard son from time to time…

As likenesses go it might be deemed shamefully lazy to compare Wednesday with Cooper but you simply can’t avoid the similarities. The former openly pays tribute to the latter and yet his high energy shows stop short of becoming a tired tribute act. The punk rock verve of songs like Rambo and Gimmie Gimmie Bloodshed boast a second life of their own and even if the anthemic I Love To Say F**k is almost laughable, nobody else ever wrote the song.

Wednesday isn’t quite the performer that his idol still is but then Alice isn’t hamstrung by a guitar. Just about managing to wield a toy gun with a light, an individual so comfortable with risqué lyrical content never seems totally at ease playing the part on stage. And his instrument doesn’t help. There will surely come a time when the guitar has to go in order to feed the overall performance. And without his most obvious crutch how will our old mate Wednesday fare?

That’s a question for the future. For now he’s finally signing off the Skeletons record before concentrating on a countrified side project and taking the summer off. At times Wednesday looked like a musician just about managing to haul himself towards the finishing line and conscious that the end is in sight. The sheer volume and aggression of his Newcastle set meant satisfied customers were in the majority but we have come to expect more from this consistently demonic entertainer.

And rightly so. Live is where Wednesday is at and where he will always be. Singing about zombies, skeletons, death, depravity, ghouls and graveyards night after night is no easy job and yet this bloke normally does it so well. Imagine him backed by Cooper’s budget, Cooper’s band and Cooper’s grandiose backdrops (instead of two drapes depicting spades which any 10-year-old kid could have painted) and Wednesday could well be the next king of shock rock. Alice should beware the black prince.