Gun RESIZE@ Newcastle o2 Academy II, November 12 2009

Whatever happened to writing great rock songs with blinding riffs, singalong ‘smile on yer face’ choruses and the odd screaming guitar solo for good measure? The answer: Gun have got the monopoly.

With former Little Angel Toby Jepson lending a helping hand the band which brought us anthemic tracks like Better Days, Steal Your Fire and Shame On You are back. And this time Gun are fully loaded.

Their considerable arsenal will be boosted by a new mini album (it started off as an EP but seems to have taken on a life of its own) later this month and on the evidence of the three new tracks showcased here it’s business as usual for the Gizzi bros. and their new best mate.

We’ll be furiously reciting the words to Popkiller, Seraphina and Let Your Hair Down before the band hits the stage at Hard Rock Hell simply because all three are the kind of quality rock fans of Gun and Little Angels will lap up. Rarely does new material make such an instant impression but then Better Days was – and still is – one of the best debut songs of all time – even catching the attention of a certain Mr Jepson back in the day (or days…). Gun could always make a bang – in 2009 they still can.

Of course it’s a matter of fact that the Glaswegians will always be known to a wider audience for their chart-busting cover of Cameo’s Word Up and the refashioned fourpiece duly delivered the disco rock classic to bring a nerve tingling Newcastle show to a suitably pumped up conclusion. It also happens to be true that the Gizzi boys and former singer Mark Rankin penned so many more better tunes of their own and in a way it’s disappointing they’re famed for a commercially viable cover – albeit a belting one at that.

Money (Everybody Loves Her) still reeks of raw emotion 20 years after its emergence and this was the song which confirmed Jepson will prove to be the perfect successor to Rankin. Always able to deliver a vocal performance with power and panache, Scarborough’s finest excelled singing one of Gun’s greatest works to date.

After that it was plain sailing for the ‘new boy’ as he dovetailed effortlessly with Giuliano and Dante to pull of one of the live shows of the year. The Police mash-up that is Inside Out 2009 worked wonderfully and Welcome To The Real World was a real treat. Even Crazy You – a criminal low point in this great band’s otherwise flawless career – was afforded a powerful makeover on the Academy stage.

Jepson’s pledge that the band would be back on Tyneside in 2010, and vying for a headline spot in the main room, was greeted with unbridled joy by a near-capacity crowd visibly keen to support Gun’s second shot at rock stardom. The only problem facing the Gizzis is the inevitable clamour from Angels fans to see their favourite band’s frontman back where, in their view, he truly belongs. Jepson insists Gun is where he belongs for ‘the next few years’ and that’s good enough for us. Roll on Prestatyn.