@ Newcastle o2 Academy, February 23 2010

There are very few bands out there that could even qualify for a claim to be Britain’s best rock band. But after their latest Newcastle show Lostprophets can do just that.

With their o2 academy gig selling out within weeks of the tickets going on sale, the pressure was on to deliver. And following the release of new album The Betrayed, the Welsh rockers seem to have found their sound somewhere in between nu-metal and rock.

Warmed up by a couple of solid performances from We Are The Ocean and Kids in Glass Houses, the crowd was sizzling long before Ian Watkins and co took to the stage.

Kicking off with If It Wasn’t For Hate, the boys set the tone with a stunning start even with one of the newest songs added to their now extensive back-catalogue. Of course over the night new singles It’s Not The End of The World… and Where We Belong were aired but it was the band’s older songs that were met with delirious howls of appreciation.

Last Summer and Last Train Home, in particular, remain evergreen but even Burn Burn and To Hell We Ride went down a treat with the packed academy. The band itself seems to be in full swagger mode. After all the years and criticism levelled their way, they still ooze confidence and appear to be a band fully devoted to their fans and more importantly their music.

Where Lostprophets engage the crowd in an entertaining and natural way, so many other rock bands fall short. It’s an easy line to get the crowd on your side but when Ian Watkins says ‘You are the best fans so far’ it’s hard not to believe him. Even the looks of appreciation from the entire band looked refreshingly sincere.

Not intent on playing just their own songs, a makeshift mix of Prodigy’s Omen and Oxide and Neutrino’s No Good For Me was simply stunning and was greeted by rapturous applause.

It’s hard to pick faults with the performance, an impressive set list of 17 songs spanning all four albums and the talent to know when to stop talking and deliver the killer song, is exactly why the Welsh boyos are right up there with the best in the business.

If anyone had a problem with the set it could surely only be a personal disappointment (Fake Sound of Progress, inexplicably absent!). It became quite clear exactly what the purpose of the latest album is: Prophets seem to be the masters of filler and now all songs seam together effortlessly.

Shinobi vs. Dragon Ninja threatened to blow the roof with excellent work all night coming to the fore from band members Lee Gaze, Mike Lewis, Stuart Richardson, Jamie Oliver and Luke Johnson.

Ending with The Light That Burns seemed a baffling choice at first but its epic ending gifted the stage to Watkins for the lead singer to bring the curtain crashing down. He didn’t disappoint showing off his vocal range before slamming the mic stand to the floor amongst delirium from the fans.

Too early for a greatest hits album but more than enough songs to make one, the real question remains, what next?

Andrew Sp0ors