Dirt Box Disco show they're just as four-midable despite losing their frontman
It was with a heavy heart that I heard a couple of months ago that Weab.I.Am, the frontman of Dirt Box Disco, had left the band.
I happened upon them at Rebellion punk festival in Blackpool in 2012, and really warmed to the big guy in the oversized onesie and sad-faced clown make-up.
I've seen them maybe a dozen times since, and I thought the band wouldn't be the same without Weab, his onstage presence and cheeky banter.
I was right. If anything they're even better.
Their gig at a respectably-full O2 Academy 2 in Newcastle on Friday night was the first time most of the crowd will have seen the band without him, but it didn't matter a jot.
They sang, they drank, and they bopped until they were ready to drop - in other words, it was just like any other Dirt Box Disco show.
The rest of the band remains the same: ***** Volcano and Danny Fingerz on guitars, Maff Fazzo on drums, and Deadbeatz Chris on bass.
Mr Volcano (I really can't write his full name in a family-friendly publication) is the main songwriter and now lead vocalist, as well as leading his own offshoot band, The Eruptions.
The bands feature some of the same members, but remain quite different, and if anything DBD are tighter than ever without Weab's clowning around.
Formed in the Midlands about nine years ago, they have six studio albums to their name, and a huge array of singalong anthems about everyday life and its frustrations.
They smashed straight into a crowd favourite with Otherside Of The Street, and followed that with a salvo of others - Tragic Roundabout, Standing In A Queue, Mr Girlfriend's Best Friend's Sister and My Life Is **** are all classics.
Sign up to our daily newsletter
My favourite song of the night was Joyce's Voices, about an elderly clairvoyant who "talks to people no-one else can see", which makes you laugh out loud and sing along at the same time.
Having partially reinvented themselves after losing their frontman, I'd go a step further and ditch the pound shop fancy dress costumes.
The band are so good they don't need the gimmick any more, as they're all good musicians, and they look like they're having as much fun as their audience.
Look up Dirt Box Disco on the music streaming service of your choice if you don't believe me, or, even better, go to see them live - they're enormous fun.
A word of mention, too, for local band LoGoZ, who were the openers tonight. Anyone who's seen them play will know they trade in a catchy brand of Green Day-like pop-punk.
They've acquired a fourth member since the last time I saw them, singer's Peesh's teenage son Kieran on bass, and although it was only his third gig, he gives them another dimension on songs like Anti-Social Media and Mexicola.
If live music is to survive and thrive it's kids like him, who spend years practising in their bedroom before stepping out onto a stage, who are its future. Please give them your support.
* Dirt Box Disco will be back in the region on Saturday, July 6, when they play at the Kubix Festival in Sunderland.
They'll be back again on Saturday, September 28, for the one-day North East Calling mini-festival at Northumbria University.