@ Newcastle O2 Academy, February 4 2011

Having already hit the UK with the almighty KISS and the hugely hyped, classic rockers Airbourne it seemed about time for Taking Dawn to explode onto the scene in their own right as a headline act.

Those who followed are those sticking to their guns in the firm belief that, despite poor sound at the aforementioned shows, these guys would be the hottest thing to hit Tyneside this year. They were not disappointed.

The crowd and the band took a little time to warm those chords, guitar licks and all-round rock attitude with Save Me and Like A Revolution but as they do the mixed audience of under-age kids and old school hair metallers inspire the band to flex those rock muscles and tear into the best.

Infectious and proud, they have the crowd putting their air guitars into action to Endlessly and Never Enough whilst shredding wonders Chris Babbitt and Mikey Cross are the real deal on the stage.

Perhaps this wasn’t the cleanest gig in terms of guitar tuning and general poor sound but charismatic frontman Chris Babbit dealt with it how only a professional should – with crowd banter, immature jokes and swinging from the rafters until the moment that the show must go on.

Taking Dawn successfully fuse three decades of music into something current yet classical with the full pelt, rifftastic and hookworthy Time To Burn which has the younger members of the crowd crazily instigating mosh pits.

An invite for Paul Stanley to take the stage sees bassist Andrew Cushing give a second rate impression resulting in “You wanted the best you got stuck with fucking Taking Dawn” as a retort before breaking into a storming rendition of Kiss’s Black Diamond.

So Loud had the crowd electric with an invite for stage surfers and pulls an epic punch of catchy and powerful, break-out-the-stops rock. Ending on Fleetwood Mac cover Break The Chain showcases these guys in all their finery – they may look like a smaller, younger imitation of 80s hair metal greats but they only work big style. Big vocals, big riffs, BIG show: lock up your sons and daughters, they take no prisoners.

Louisa Kouzapas