351374_1_falling-red_400@ Newcastle O2 Academy 2, March 16 2013

Featuring the cream of northern England’s sleaze rock community, Falling Red are rising fast. Fusing a slick image, singalong choruses and in-your-face attitude, the big stage is theirs for the taking.

Fresh from a tour in support of sham hair metal heroes Steel Panther, the Rock Revolution Tour rolled into Tyneside with four men on a mission to prove Falling Red can be the headline act.

They can. But on this evidence one of British rock’s brightest hopes are still treading a fine line between polished metal covers band and bold leaders of a vibrant new scene. 

Pulling together Cumbrians Rozey and Dave Sanders, Newcastle’s very own Jayde Starr and Teessider Dann Marx, Falling Red represent an exciting future with a foot planted firmly in the past.

Part punk, part west coast party rock and part full-on metal, passionate references to the 70s and 80s abound. Bolted on to a uniform the Black Veil Brides would be proud to call their own and it’s a package perfect for 2013.

But for Falling Red to reach the next level a serious appraisal of their songwriting is required. For every Come On Down and If You Ain’t Down With The Rock (two stunning anthems and a pair of reliable live staples) there’s an infuriatingly forgettable tune that simply doesn’t do Rozey and co. justice.

That Falling Red’s killer takes on Love Gun and Rebel Yell represent their finest moments in front of a delirious ‘home’ crowd must be cause for concern. Too much of their own material lacks the consistency to carry an hour-long set and new album Empire Of The Damned will be a defining release in this band’s brief but colourful career.

What Falling Red have in their favour is a connection with the crowd, a natural talent for showmanship and the energy to enthuse the most cynical of doubters.

Bands with a lot less have gone much further and 25 years ago the major labels would have willingly lavished long contracts and hard cash on four kids blessed with brash enthusiasm and brilliant stagecraft.

The harsh reality of 2013’s unforgiving music scene means Falling Red must offer more. More songs with more substance, more often. Only then will the Red army be ready to march on rock’s most famous strongholds and complete their ambitious quest for world domination.

Simon Rushworth