drr@ Newcastle Head Of Steam, August 12 2009

With the Journal headline of the same morning screaming out ‘You can’t pigeon-hole it but we’re pretty proud’, the pressure was on Dirty Rock And Roll to deliver their unique Brit sound and then some.

In addition there was the less than complimentary tone of a previous rushonrock review still ringing in the trio’s ears. So how would the kings of the North East’s underground rock scene respond on one of their favourite stages of recent months? And in front of a largely metal crowd to boot?

The answer is in some considerable style. This was by far the best DRnR show of the year and, some would say, ever. Every song was nailed, the crowd lapped it up and most even had smiles on their faces – even those sat down tapping away to the band’s plethora of snappy tunes.

Frontman Adam asked for a pint of water midway through the set but he appeared to lose four times as much fluid through a flimsy grey T-shirt clearly ill-equipped for a sweaty basement shindig. Still sporting his ‘reverse Waddle’ perm, the singer performed with a degree of confidence worlds away from his early days as the Baby Rattlesnakes’ leader.

Interracting with thick set, shaven headed Machine Head fans has never been easy. Even if you’re Machine Head. But DRnR managed to convert the metallers, transform the barman into a karaoke king and persuade at least one of the sofa dwellers from around the corner to wander into sight of the stage. This was entertainment delivered by true entertainers.

Songs like Fight and Halo deserve to be heard by a wider audience on a bigger stage but for now they sound awesome framed by four old walls and a dangerously low ceiling. According to Adam DRnR don’t sound too dissimilar to early era Stereophonics now they’ve grown into their Brit rock sound but any ‘Phonics fans who’d chanced upon the band last night would have crapped themselves.

This was a loud set played in front of a loud crowd and we loved it. Every passionate, crazy, perspiration soaked minute of it. This was the set the record label bosses needed to see – it didn’t look like any of them did but there’s always next time.

Footnote: We don’t see enough local metal bands but Skneepa – on before DRnR – did the business in a Metallica-style fashion with a refreshing ferocity and some fret burning solos. Keep an eye out for these guys. We are doing as of tonight.