mariabrink@ Newcastle o2 Academy, April 14 2009

Like their endearing frontwoman, In This Moment’s blistering set was short but incredibly sweet.

Second band on in front of a disappointingly sparse Give It A Name Introducing crowd, the US metal stars were clearly the act most fans had come to see and by 9pm a half-full venue suddenly emptied further.

At about this time ITM’s Maria Brink must have been backstage wondering what it will take for her band to break into the UK mainstream. A higher profile gig than this would be a start and a surprising slot on a shoddy tour has done one of 2009’s rising stars no good at all.

If you can get past the obvious Brink-manship, and it’s hard to look beyond the cute singer’s obvious charms, it’s clear this is a band made for bigger stages, bigger crowds and the bigger challenges which surely lie ahead. Perhaps this summer’s Download slot, on the same day Faith No More rock Donington, will see an act oozing potential finally earn the critical claim their music surely deserves.

Boasting a incredibly foxy female singer can be a double-edged sword but ITM are no Femme Fatale (remember them?). Maria commands a vocal range which demands respect and her band-mates complement those note perfect pipes with consistency and quality.

At times it’s hard to believe this is the same vocalist who earned her reputation as a Sabina Classen wannabe, screaming her way through the early years. Watching ITM on the back of new record The Dream is like watching a different band altogether and tracks like Forever and All For You sound as polished live as they do on CD.

Both tunes threatened to bring the house down in Newcastle and given a few more punters filling in the back they might have achieved just that. Those who did spot an opportunity to get up close and personal with Ms Brink were richly rewarded. For 30 minutes this was thrill-a-minute. And you can’t ask for more on a damp and misty Tuesday night.