@ Newcastle The Cluny, March 25 2012

Did Van Halen’s classic line-up really need to reform after all?

And, if so, did Diamond Dave and EVH even think to check out the opposition before committing to a new album and tour? 

On this evidence Van Halen for the 21st century already exists in the shape of smart, sassy, sexy Scando pop metal heroes Reckless Love.

The Finn-credible foursome might have been playing to a half-full Cluny on a lazy Sunday evening but frontman Olli Hermann and his buddies were determined to party.

And come the end of a bombastic hour-long set it became clear that this is one band destined for glory.

With velvet pants, a flowing blond mane and scissor-kicks to boot, Reckless Love’s brazen Hermann is a dead ringer for mid-80s Dave Lee Roth.

And alongside him smiling shredder Pepe has a Van Halen-esque trick or two up his sleeve worthy of the great man himself.

As a combination this deadly duo kill just about every tune Reckless Love deem worthy of delivering and the Newcastle faithful loved every minute of a sparkling Tyneside debut.

The 87-era Def Leppard devotees are still to release a third long player and yet Hermann has been fronting the band for 11 years.

More than a decade spent honing their live craft is reaping rich rewards at a time when pop metal excess is back in vogue.

And it’s reassuring to see a band complementing cracking tunes with an attention to serious showmanship.

Opening up with deadpan poses and statuesque delivery proved a masterstroke. Hermann and Pepe barely moved a muscle during the first few minutes of a memorable show but that sharp decision only served to accentuate the energy and enthusiasm that followed.

Feel My Heat, Badass and Beautiful Bomb reminded everyone present of the sheer quality of  2010’s self-titled debut.

But Hot, Dirty Dreams and On The Radio are every bit as good and last November’s brash follow-up Animal Attraction featured prominently on a night of pure escapism.

With big hair and even bigger smiles Reckless Love have always looked the part. These days the crisp delivery of some seriously catchy songs completes the full package.

Throw in Hermann’s shaven torso, Pepe’s cheeky winks and the best looking drummer on the planet (according to his band mate) and it’s a given Reckless Love will continue to attract a growing army of starstruck female fans.

But rockers of both sexes are rapidly warming to the Steel Panther-esque humour and Leppard-tinged melody that makes for such a spine-tingling live experience where these pretty boys are concerned.

Reckless Love look like MTV gods and their sound is hair metal heaven. What’s not to love?

Simon Rushworth