Collateral @Newcastle Trillians, September 19 2019

Fresh from their standout stint on the star-studded Bon Jovi cruise, this was billed as a sink or swim first show on Tyneside for the natural successors to 80s-era Jon and his hair metal peers.

Collateral are more big hair than Bigg Market and for all their cocksure posturing, the Ramsgate quartet was feeling the pressure: nailing Newcastle has been an ambition for some time and this band of rock and roll brothers simply couldn’t afford to blow their hotly anticipated Toon debut.

Ultimately, the only thing in danger of being blown was guitar hero Todd Winger’s amp – turned up to 11 and smoking. This was a set built on big choruses, big solos and big ambition: founder Angelo Tristan belongs in stadiums, arenas…and kickass Bon Jovi cruises.

But it’s testimony to a multi-talented singer songwriter that Collateral’s honey-tongued hunk of a frontman remains committed to cracking the pubs and clubs of the UK one flamboyant step at a time.

And for all the grandstanding there’s no ego. Tristan might look like the wide-eyed love child of Steven Tyler and David Coverdale but his down to earth manner is genuinely endearing. A warm rendition of ‘happy birthday’ – albeit a few days late – was heartfelt and all the main man deserved.

For as long as Tristan fuses his exceptional talent with expert people management then Collateral appear destined to follow an upward trajectory.

The decision to delay the band’s debut album until February 2020 could present a slight bump in the road and the postponement is hugely frustrating. But Collateral have become victims of their own success – demand for the foursome’s high-octane live shows requiring some serious rescheduling.

For now, the only place to enjoy the complete Collateral catalogue is in the live arena. And that’s no bad thing.

Winger is a whiz on his Jackson axe and the rhythm section of Jack Dimazio and Ben Atkinson look and sound like they’ve been anchoring the Sunset Strip for decades. Tristan is the focus but Collateral’s strength is in the quartet’s collective impact. And what an impact.

Latest single Lullaby isn’t going to send anyone to sleep anytime soon and the enduring Midnight Queen – the monster track that broke the band – still resonates with fans of polished 80s rock.

Where Steel Panther increasingly rely on a lazy pastiche, Collateral are doing it for real. And they’re doing it better. Living on a prayer and living life to the full – Kent’s finest are a class above.

Images By Adam Kennedy