@ Newcastle O2 Academy, April 27 2012

Hot on the heels of their new album release, Welsh rockers Lostprophets came in to Newcastle all guns blazing and looking to do some damage on their Weapons tour.

Two years since their last visit to the North East, Ian Watkins and co. boasted a new look of steely determination, blasting through the hits without ever breaking their stride. 

In an odd combination, dubstep/rock act Modestep delivered the supporting noise with their brand of drum and bass-infused heavy rock. It wouldn’t have sounded out of place in a nightclub and the recent fascination with acts of this ilk at ‘rock’ concerts and festivals (Prodigy and Chase and Status at Download, anyone?) can be completely justified if every crowd responds like Newcastle.

Sending toe tingling bass through the floor of the academy seemed to energise a heavily masculine audience into a wild frenzy. Warm up act? More like an industrial microwave turned all the way up to instant heat.

By the time the boyos arrived, the atmosphere was electric and Lostprophets couldn’t have been disappointed with the response. Kicking off with Bring Em Down, from their latest offering, the band fired a shot across the bows before unleashing the familiar back catalogue.

In what must be a first for Lostprophets, the lads walked on stage in matching military-esque jackets only to one by one reveal a simple white t-shirt design with black bullseye. A hardened rock reviewer would cry ‘merchandise plug’, but it appeared more of signal of unity by the band, upon realising the t-shirt was unavailable to buy.

That small observation leads to something bigger though. Lostprophets could be accused of being the Ian Watkins show in previous tours. The lead man is charismatic and cocksure enough to steal the lime light but not this time. A corner has been not so much turned, but averted, and it should be the band that makes headlines on this tour.

Everyone knows their place and by the time Shinobi Vs Dragon Ninja kicked in it was evident this is a band at the top of their game. The setlist isn’t loaded with new songs, more like a light dusting to whet the appetite, and even then only tunes that can integrate seamlessly within a now impressive back catalogue.

The biggest pop came for the anthemic Rooftops and it would be easy to argue that any song from the Liberation Transmission album went down with extra fervour. Last Summer, Burn Burn and Last Train Home now feel like old friends that everyone knows and can never forget. Even End Of The World and Where We Belong sound more like classics than newer efforts.

It must be becoming a welcome headache for the lads as they work tirelessly to get the setlist just right. And on the most part they have: Fake Sound Of Progress would have capped off a memorable evening but another effort from Start Something proved to be the finale.

Playing out to the atmospheric Sway was a brave choice especially after other songs had created mass singalongs, stage dives and mosh pits. But it was a choice that seemed to say thank-you to those loyal fans who have been around for more than a decade.

If Lostprophets keep churning out new albums with two or three top anthems on, they could easily play three to four hour sets soon. And if performances are anything to go by, they would be more than happy to do so.

To take their rightful place in rock history, however, the band need to do something they haven’t done for a long time and that is an extended tour. The likes of AC/DC and co. seem to tour forever because of their well established store of hits.

Lostprophets have the hits for a different generation of rock fans and now may well be the time to try and emulate the rock gods of old and walk in their well travelled footsteps.

Andy Spoors