@Newcastle O2 Academy II, October 6 2012

The hair metal revival might be dominated by a bunch of hilarious 40-somethings delivering the perfect pastiche on a genre rooted in partying hard and over excess. But if Steel Panther are the ultimate spoof on 80s cheese then Reckless Love are doing it for real. And it shows.

The super slick Finns draw on every year of their decade-long search for the ultimate pop rock blueprint by serving up the best club show on the planet. 

Staying true to hair metal’s key convention of style over substance – the shameless thrust of Poison’s Nothin’ But A Good Time must be embedded in their DNA – Reckless Love clearly spend more time focusing on latex than lyrics. But that’s not to say their best material isn’t brilliant. Because it is.

And the irrepressible Olli Herman was surely born to sing about love, sex, beer and revelry. Looking like the bastard child of David Lee Roth and Brett Michaels his hairless torso and groin-ripping scissor kicks defy nature. With the voice to melt a thousand hair metal hearts his ascent to rock royalty was assured some time ago: this month-long jaunt around the UK simply the march of a poster boy on the cusp of worldwide adulation.

Their love may be reckless but this band’s approach to business is far from it. Realising now is their time – and accepting most of that time should be spent traversing Britain – the decision to undertake a second UK headline tour (including four nights at London’s Barfly) within six months is inspired. Reckless Love have already amassed a fervent fan base demanding more and word of mouth is spreading the message as fast as YouTube clips of the band’s killer back catalogue.

All the favourites were rolled out in Newcastle with Animal Attraction demo Push adding an unexpected twist for those cajoled by Hermann at the Cluny earlier this year. In this setting it was difficult to understand why the sleaziest of anthems didn’t make the final cut on Reckless Love’s latest album. But when you consider tracks like Hot, On The Radio and Born To Break Your Heart it’s clear the competition was intense.

Riff lord Pepe danced up and down his fretboard like a modern-day Eddie Van Halen (the retro T-shirt surely no coincidence) and rhythm king Jalle Verne once again laid claim to be the coolest man in metal. Only drummer Hessu Max appeared unusually subdued – his trademark grin more of an indifferent grimace for large parts of a typically incendiary set.

All over in just over an hour this was another tantalising glimpse of a band quite capable of chasing down the Panther and taking pole position in the pursuit of hair metal supremacy. The race is on!

Simon Rushworth