love hate@ Newcastle o2 Academy II, September 2 2009

Every so often an incredibly charismatic frontman comes and goes in the fickle world of rock without ever really making the mark his talent deserves.

Jizzy Pearl, akin to Perry Farrell in terms of his on-stage energy and quirky delivery, was always that man. But 20 years on from writing the first chapter of the Love/Hate story, the vibrant vocalist could yet fulfil his immense potential and complete a classic fairytale comeback.

Often sounding like Sammy Hagar on heat, Pearl shines in the intimate setting of club venue, able to interract fully with fans who happily hang on his every word and appear never less than wholly confident flanked by founder members Skid Rose, Jon E Love and Joey Gold. This quartet was always a cut above the majority of their sleaze rock peers in the late 80s and time does not appear to have diminished the band’s appetite to entertain.

Blackout In The Red Room, the anthemic title track from Love/Hate’s finest record, is still one of the best party anthems to emerge from the hair metal era and it got this particular shindig off to a spelndid start. There was a better song on the band’s breakthrough album and it came in the shape of She’s An Angel – thankfully Jizzy’s emotive rendition on Tyneside ensured it was the highlight of a flawless show.

Why Do You Think They Call It Dope and Maryjane came in a close joint second – another pair of timeless tunes culled from that massive major label debut. It’s not that Love/Hate never produced anything good after 1990 but that was their time and back then their music was vital.

It’s 10 years since the band released its last studio disc but with the original line-up firing on all cylinders fresh material is a must. Love them or hate them, this group know how to party. And tonight was a total blast.

With Almighty frontman Ricky Warwick as the warm-up act it was never going to be anything less and the metal master turned highly tuned troubadour is cutting quite a dash as the solo performer. Semi-acoustic he may have been but this was an electric set oozing passion – opening up with Wild & Wonderful was an astute move and after that the crowd was his for the taking.

Ending a rollicking set with rabble rouser The Arms Of Belfast City was another brilliant move but, like his hero George Best, Warwick rarely makes any wrong moves these days. Adding the hard work and tour toil to his magnificent new album should reap rock’s greatest rewards and, at the very least, earn him some higher profile live slots in 2010.

Closer in spirit to Love/Hate were the excitable openers New Generation Superstars and here is a band quite capable of joining a quality homegrown rock roster already boasting the likes of Heaven’s Basement, Stone Gods, Fables Last Stand and Dear Superstar. Their punkish take on sleaze rock, allied to a fantastic retro look, should have promoters salivating across the UK. Look out for more on these no-nonsense newbies on rushonrock very soon…