image@ Newcastle O2 Academy 2, February 19 2013

The LostAlone gig was a perfect example of how one person can nearly ruin a gig – and how one person can save it.

The drunk, lone heckler in the crowd got so abusive that lead singer Steven Battelle had to ask the bouncers to remove him from the audience.

Recognising the change for the worse in the atmosphere, Batelle immediately sought to rectify the situation: he came down into the middle of the floor with his guitar and sat down – with the crowd sat around him- to play Orchestra of Breathing

All it lacked was a live flame and a clear night sky and it could have been a real camp fire sin-along – the LostAlone frontman even threw in a lesson in harmony as he got three sections of the crowd to sing along in different keys.

But LostAlone aren’t really about the ‘singalong, let’s all sit in a circle and hold hands’ kind of music. They play music that makes your face melt and your legs move, and nobody embodies this more than Batelle, who looks like he is going to spin himself off his feet at times.

Nothing is safe from him as he goes whirling across the stage, crashing into bassist Alan Williamson and nearly wiping out the amps during opening song Vesuvius.

In between launching himself around, Batelle takes on the role of the choirmaster and conductor at the same time, throwing his arms up and begging, wishing and imploring the sparse crowd to sing with him.

Batelle is an instantly likeable character, always talking, always engaging with the crowd. He makes them laugh and he makes them like him. At one point he is talking so much that he says, with a glint of good humour in his eyes, ‘Right, so do you want to just have a Q+A with me?’.

LostAlone might have attracted a small crowd, but it feels like the band is comfortable with this. A smaller crowd means that the band can give everyone there their full attention – something that is right at the top of their agenda.

Finishing with Love Will Eat You Alive, fans of their most recent work might have been disappointed when Batelle announced that he wasn’t going to play an encore. There seemed to be a gaping The Downside of Heaven is the Upside of Hell sized hole in the set, and it seemed a shame that they didn’t play one of the strongest and most recognisable songs from I’m A UFO In This City.

Finishing the gig, all of the band came forward to grasp hands and thank the crowd for coming out to see them – and invited every single one of them to hang around for a chat after the gig. It’s a testament to their popularity and personality that nearly everybody did just that.

Russell Hughes