Live review: Lostprophets, O2 Academy, Newcastle

LOSTPROPHETS... not ready to relinquish their crown as kings of rock just yet.
LOSTPROPHETS... not ready to relinquish their crown as kings of rock just yet.

FOR a while, it’s seemed that Lostprophets, the one-time kings of British rock, were in danger of losing their crown.

Their 2010 album The Betrayed failed to ignite the world in the same way its predecessor, 2006’s Liberation Transmission, had done.

And it appeared that the days when they were able to headline major festivals, like Download in 2007, were long gone.

Four albums in a near-10-year career, and having influenced a whole generation of bands, like Kids In Glass Houses and The Blackout, it felt like Lostprophets had peaked.

However, new album Weapons crashed into the charts at No3 last month, and critics have hailed it as return to form for the Welsh sextet. It’s true Weapons does sound like a return to the Lostprophets of old, crackling with an ‘us vs the world’ energy that makes it one of the year’s stand-out rock albums.

The new songs aired here, like opener Bring’ Em Down, pack the same gutsy riff-tastic punch as old anthems We Still Kill The Old Way – played tonight with such anger and ferocity you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d accidentally walked into a Slayer concert.

Another new song, If You Bring A Gun, We’ll Bring An Arsenal, has another of those gang-chant melodies that made It’s Not The End Of The World and A Town Called Hypocrisy so special.

Rooftops and Last Train Home still crackled with that old energy, the huge sing-a-long choruses of Last Summer and Burn Burn raised the roof like they’ve also done, while sombre moments like Lee Gaze’s guitar solo on 4AM Forever have the academy illuminated with more lighters than Dot Cotton goes through in a year.

Singer Ian Watkins could have tried not to look thoroughly cheesed off for the majority of the set, but the power and charisma he radiates through Better Off Dead shows he’s not lost that arrogant charm that made him one of the noughties most iconic frontmen.

Fair enough, they maybe not be doing arena tours any more, and headline slots at Leeds festival seem out of the questions, but the Welsh boys are in the midst of a quite brilliant return to form.

It’s a pleasure to have you back, gents.