tourMAIN_608x376@ Newcastle O2 Academy, February 12 2013

Writing music way beyond their years and acutely aware of what it means to entertain, Fearless Vampire Killers have got it cracked.

It may be the case that the scruffy steam punks cum fantasy metal pioneers were booked to open the Kerrang! tour in 2013.

But of all the four bands on an eclectic bill rolled out across the UK this month FVK’s is the future that surely looks the brightest. 

With their Victorian clobber and boyband looks they offer a visual treat perfect for the impressionable teen market.

However it’s not just the daughters in the audience who warm to Laurence Beveridge and his buddies – their dads can spot something of their classic rock heroes in FVK’s pomp, passion and songwriting prowess.

And it’s that universal appeal – coupled with FVK’s well-publicised multi-media approach – that means this band has the potential to outlast its peers and evolve into something pretty special.

Tonight Alive are polar opposites – battling genre prejudices and severely limited in terms of artistic reach. Identikit female-fronted pop punk acts exist the world over so why should these Aussie upstarts reach the next level?

The answer lies in the band’s natural charm and ear for a rock n roll tune. Singer Jenna McDougall blew away the Academy cobwebs like a blonde-haired Joan Jett and it was immediately clear just how much this showcase meant to the fiercely ambitious frontwoman.

Mixing raw emotion with the odd mellow moment, Tonight Alive tricked the masses into believing this was just another throwaway pop punk party. Only after McDougall had led her charges from the stage did it dawn upon a capacity crowd that maybe that wasn’t the full story, after all.

Chiodos bring the noise – and a redundant Roland keyboard – to the Kerrang! tour and with Craig Owens back at the helm a cacophony of hardcore hell shook those present to their bones.

The Michigan troupe might have gone through some tough times in recent years but this was the sound of a band back to its best and refuelled with fresh focus and fire.

Rifling through a slew of familiar classics – eight years after the aptly-titled All’s Well That End’s Well announced Chiodos as a powerhouse with potential – sheer volume was the winner.

But for all their ferocity – newbie Thomas Erak leading the charge with a vicious axe attack – there was a sense of failure as the final notes rang out. Chiodos looked like the perfect pick on paper but even amps turned up to 11 couldn’t mask the frailties of a band still learning to bond again.

Just how strong the bond between members of the Black Veil Brides really is, remains to be seen.

Immediately after a typically feisty performance from Andy Biersack, the colourful singer could be found stalking the darkened corridors of a fast-emptying Academy complaining about the state of his dressing room and some mystery disturbance. Band mates drifted apart leaving the Brides’ support acts to jam the night away oblivious to the unrest next door.

On stage a sense of togetherness did prevail. As a unit the Brides come together with unnerving efficiency and sheer professionalism was the order of the day as the headline act diligently earned its corn.

In front of an adoring crowd and with the status of top guns behind them, Biersack and co. could do no wrong with all the hits and more generating wave upon wave of adolescent screams. There is still something unique about the relationship between slick teen idols and their hopelessly devoted fans but it’s a relationship rarely built to last.

Now is the time for the Brides to evolve and re-emerge – if they can. But it’s a big if. New album Wretched And Divine was more of the same following the breakthrough success of 2011’s Set The World On Fire and even impressionable school girls can only take so much.

Kiss took off the make-up. Guns N Roses opted for a break up. Black Veil Brides need to wake up. Fast.

Simon Rushworth