@ Newcastle o2 Academy, November 21 2010

After bringing us Tom Jones, Shirley Bassey and Stereophonics Wales has nothing to prove music wise but the latest big thing to emerge from the valleys is making one hell of a noise.

Pop-rockers Kids In Glass Houses announced their arrival as a headline act to an indulgent O2 Academy crowd that was more than ready to gorge on a breathtaking set.

Constantly trapped in the shadow of fellow countrymen and rockers, KIGH stepped into the light with a near perfect gig, from their own performance to the choice of support band. Screamo band You And What Army injected some urgency into an overwhelmingly young audience who seemed confused yet appreciative by the wall of noise protruding from the stage. But on the whole the motley crew of a band was afforded a great reception.

Second support act Boys Like Girls were awarded a hero’s welcome and sparked a frenzy of activity from the fantastic crowd. Such was the ferocity of the set it looked unlikely that many of the audience would have any energy left for the main attraction.

BLG belted out hits 5 Minutes to Midnight, Love Drunk and Two Is Better Than One amongst many others to bring the Academy to bursting point.

A daring backwards stage dive from lead singer Martin Johnson is the easiest way to sum up just how impressive the boys from Massachusetts were – few headliners would dare risk a stunt that, on the wrong crowd and day, could end horribly. But it was the right day and a brilliant payoff that was thoroughly deserved.

With a support act threatening to overshadow the boyos, KIGH had to bring their  A game and with a fancy light show and Sunshine to kick the set into life they never looked back. Chart hit Undercover Lover and Lilli Rose quickened the pace but slower moments were never far away and lead singer Aled Phillips delivered an engaging performance.

Even though newest album Dirt gave the band an army of followers, old school fans weren’t left disappointed with several tracks from debut album Smart Casual also aired. Matters At All brought a close to an evening that couldn’t have left anyone in the building disappointed.

It seems like a ludicrous statement but Kids In Glass Houses come across as a nu-age Lostprophets, with a delicate twist. Whereas Ian Watkins and co. master the rock anthems, KIGH convey a sweeter side. In the blink of an eye the set could turn into a tender moment and back again.

This is what sets the latest Welsh offering away from the rest of the rock pack and they would do well to remember it too.

Andy Spoors