Reckless Love 2013@ Newcastle O2 Academy 2, October 2 2013

The calls for Olli Hermann to strip to his waist were loud, early, sustained and inevitable. Few frontmen can claim to be as clean shaven and ripped as Reckless Love’s charismatic singer but his choice of clothing, rather than the decision to remove it, was of far greater significance to Newcastle’s hair metal devotees. 

Striding onto stage with a studded leather jacket boasting the odd retro patch was Hermann’s first good decision. Matching a pink string vest with his made-to-measure cowboy boots was another stroke of sartorial genius. But kicking off the encore in a vintage Def Leppard On Through The Night tee was the game clincher in this band’s quest for credibility.

Reckless Love – a former Guns N Roses covers band – are hardly renowned for their originality but they do know their stuff. When it comes to late 80s MTV-friendly pop rock few bands have done so much to replicate the sound and look of a legendary scene. Sporting a Kiss Destroyer shirt, guitar hero Pepe reinforced the opinion that this band cannot be questioned when it comes to doing their homework.

Perhaps the sparkly Finns should have spent a little more time on their soundcheck. Pepe’s trademark guitar sound was drowned by a messy mix early doors and new single So Happy I Could Die, Bad Lovin’ and party anthem On The Radio suffered as a result.

Thankfully Beautiful Bomb blew away any lingering frustration and the set proper started in style. Of the new tunes on offer – and there were plenty – Runaway Love best captured Reckless Love’s devotion to Leppard, Crue, Kiss and Bon Jovi. Twenty-five years ago MTV would be drooling over this delicious ballad drowned in soft rock cheese.

Three albums in and with a brand new backdrop to support the stupendous Spirit, Hermann and his buddies are really beginning to look and sound like the real deal.

A (slightly) serious alternative to spoof hair metallers Steel Panther and capable of crafting singalong classics for fun it’s high time they graduated from clubs and took the UK’s theatres by storm. The underground is far too restrictive where this flamboyant foursome is concerned: Reckless Love were born to break your heart and the big time. Their graduation from wannabes to the real deal has already been too long coming.

Simon Rushworth