buckcherry@ Newcastle 02 Academy, July 28 2009

Could you ask for three better rock bands on one bill? Whatever the reason for headliners Buckcherry playing a truncated 85 minute set it meant more music for your money in the shape of two of the UK’s hottest new acts and the value was there for all to see.

Heaven’s Basement are on a classic rock par with The Answer and Stone Gods and, as a result, are at the forefront of the Tidal Wave Of British Heavy Metal (TWOBHM).

With more name changes than an MI5 spy they might still be suffering from losing one or two fans along the way but the cracking riffs have remained constant. Reign On My Parade and set closer Executioner’s Day are two of the tracks of 2009 and live they take on a new lease of life. In spite of their tirade against the media (cheers guys) this latest incarnation of Hurricane Party should be huge – watch this space.

That Dear Superstar have leapt ahead of Heaven’s Basement in terms of bagging the main supports and the blanket media coverage is, in large part, due to the unflinching work ethic of Micky and his mates. They do boast a slew of cracking tunes in the shape of Live Love Lie and Brink Of Destruction but so do a zillion other acts.

What sets the manic Manchester crew apart is their ability to capture new fans everywhere they go with an intoxicating blend of boyish enthusiasm and sleaze rock charm. Boasting music borne out of the 80s and fashion stuck in some other bygone era it’s impossible not to feel some kind of affiliation with the band responsible for 2008 highlight Heartless.

They might be best mates with Papa Roach and Buckcherry but on tonight’s evidence they don’t need no superstar patronage. The music is more than enough.

And so to the headline act. If Velvet Revolver are still searching for Scott Weiland’s successor, or Jane’s Addiction ever decide to get shot of Perry, then Buckcherry crooner Josh Todd is the perfect fit. Tattoed, tight and capable of delivering a demonic tune, the uber sexy singer used a sweaty Newcastle show to reinforce his reputation as one of rock’s great frontmen.

Strolling through a cover of Deep Purple’s Highway Star, the charismatic vocalist caressed the crowd with a mix of raw emotion and focused delivery. While Buckcherry boast enough ‘out-there’ original material to play back-to-back shows at the same venue, it was this stirring cover which reminded everyone present of their enduring class.

Rousing renditions of the excellent Everything – with it’s landmark riff – and Talk To Me were the pick of the band’s trademark anthems but Rescue Me, with its uncomfortable theme, came a close second. 

Of course Crazy Bitch is the kind of sleaze rock anthem every band in the world would be proud to call their own and it provided the perfect conclusion to the band’s main set. There was no need to reappear for a lacklustre one-song encore and even less reason to complain about the 11pm curfew – if Buckcherry really wanted to play more songs they would have ditched one of their three supports.

We’re glad they didn’t and glad they showed up in Newcastle in the first place. A mighty gig from a monster band.