At the O2 Academy, Newcastle (UK) 7th March 2018

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With the Beast From The East well on its way and the snow fast becoming yesterday`s news, it`s a relief to get back to normal after last weekend`s gigs were decimated by the unusually freak weather and tonight, Newcastle was ready to Rock.

Bad Touch must be one of the hardest working bands around at the moment.  Not only have they toured extensively on their own but have hitched a ride with the likes of Tyketto, King King and The Kentucky Headhunters gaining quite a reputation as a potent live band along the way.

Within seconds of opener Take Me Away, it`s easy to see why their star is in its ascendance.  With a hard-hitting Bluesy groove with the powerful, Soulful voice of Stevie Westwood, Bad Touch have an American Southern Rock vibe in a very British body, drawing on the best of both worlds.

Outlaw and 99% show a real grasp of song writing with a dash of genuine class while Westwood has the voice and charisma to take Bad Touch to the next level and beyond.

Rod Stewart once sang, “Some guys have all the luck”.  As one-time World Superbike Champion, married to the lovely Katie Melua and a now a Rockstar to boot, that song could have been written especially for James Toseland.

That would actually be something of a disservice to Toseland who fronts his own band with two albums out and a third on its way.  His commercial edged Hard Rock is strong on melody and big on hooks with Renegade and Hearts and Bones standing out.  He`s worked hard, paid his dues and Toseland is here on merit not luck.

It`s been almost 25 years since Skid Row last stood on a stage in Newcastle. Seismic changes since then have seen The Mayfair flattened and replaced with a corporate cinema/food court complex while Skid Row have lost their iconic lead singer, Sebastian Bach.

With former Dragonforce singer ZP Heart, the third singer to fill Bach`s rather large boots since his departure over 20 years ago, Skid Row made a long-awaited return to Newcastle with original guitarists Scotti Hill and Dave Sabo along with bassist Rachel Bolan all present and correct.

The in your face firestorm of Slave To The Grind was the perfect opener with Skid Row at their most raw and aggressive while Piece of Me had a wonderfully dark and menacing edge.

At one end of the spectrum 18 and Life and I Remember You were bona fide lighter waving Power ballads par excellence while the clanking cowbell of Monkey Business and the rip-roaring gang vocals of Youth Gone Wild were Skid Row at their anthemic best.  Loud, proud and arrogant.  American Metal at its best.

Review and Photos By Mick Burgess

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