@ Newcastle o2 Academy 2, March 7 2011

Talk to Frank and he would also be telling you that D.R.U.G.S. are the best thing to hit the scene since the glorious buzz of 90s methamphetamine.

And by D.R.U.G.S we mean the near super-group Destroy.Rebuild.Until.God.Shows. Made up of ex-members of Chiodos, Underminded, From First to Last, Story of the Year and Matchbook Romance, they already come complete with adoring fans and a media powerhouse with which to propel them. 

The out of the ashes, phoenix of a debut album launched only a few weeks prior to this Tyneside show but the fans have heard it, adore it and came to pray at the alter of diversity.

And D.R.U.G.S. deliver on the promise – killer riffs, catchy hooks, powerful vocals, slick backing tracks and even slithers of the all too current, dubstep beats thrown into the mix. Luckily it is an album full of killer tracks and this gig could have been a showcase for the band’s greatest hits if only they had a back catalogue behind them.

Craig Owens, showman extraordinaire, has the crowd proving their lyrical obedience as he encourages them to give backing vocals while he delivers the perfect balance of shouting and singing from the opening lines of The Only Thing You Talk About and If You Think This Song Is About You (It Probably Is).

Nick Martin’s complementary growl is most evident on My Swagger Has A First Name and the stage is balanced throughout by the endless energy exuded by Matt Good who plays as though his frets are on fire. Graveyard Dancing familiarly strikes a chord with its Panic At The Disco vibe intro but decidedly takes a turn into heavier and further intoxicating than Brandon Flowers ever achieved.

The distinctive yet somehow subtle use of backing tracks serves only to make the show pack a punch rather than distract from the musicianship on board.  The rhythm section is solid with Adam Russell bounding both onstage and off, ever providing a deep set bass sound; Aaron Stern is gracefully reminiscent of Nine Inch Nails drummer Jerome Dillon as he beats the skins to produce a sound akin to that of a drum machine for Stop Reading And Start Doing Pushups.

This is obviously a warm up for bigger stages but Owens makes it clear he couldn’t be happier than to be playing to an intimate crowd who are as passionate about them being there as he is.  They give the Tyneside audience exactly what they’re braying for, a 40-minute star powered show with the only lasting scream at the end of the show being almost ironic given the back story – “We want D.R.U.G.S.”.

Louisa Kouzapas