The Kerrang! Tour makes a pit stop in the North East as part of its annual jaunt around the UK showcasing some of the best up and coming artists.

Tonight’s date in Newcastle is one of the smallest venues on this run and, along with the rest of the tour, it has long since been sold out. The anticipation is high with fans having queued outside of the venue from mid-afternoon to secure a spot in the front. A diverse array of international talent is on display from classic rock artists to hardcore punk and everything in between.

Biters, hailing from Atlanta, Georgia, open the show. Straight away, it is easy to see why Planet Rock have nominated them as one of their best new bands in this year’s The Rocks awards. They deliver a short but sweet set of tracks from their debut album, Electric Blood. Frontman Tuk Smith stated, “No time for Netflix and chill, only rock and roll.”

Their set includes a trio of catchy numbers in the shape of “Restless Hearts,” “The Kids Ain’t Alright,” and their latest single, “1975,” for which the band recently released a Tarantino-esque grindhouse themed video.

Biters look the part, and Smith engages the audience throughout. To get the party started, Tuk invites a couple of lucky fans onstage to chug a beer with the band. Just as it feels as though we are getting into the swing of things, their set is cut short, much to the disapproval both audience and band. Biters are on a mission to deliver real rock and roll to the masses, and they have a bright future ahead of them.

Energetic British five-peace ROAM wowed audiences last year on the Vans Warped Tour. Tonight they gave a crowd-pleasing set highlighting their debut album Backbone, released at the start of this year. ROAM seemed to win over the young crowd, and many of their fans are here tonight.

Vocalist Alex Costello is a real jack-in-the-box, constantly leaping all over the stage. He takes the opportunity to get up close and personal with the fans in the pit by climbing onto the security fence.

They close out their set with “Deadweight” and “Head Rush” as the audience loose their cool and crowd surfing follows.

Frank Carter returns to his hardcore punk roots with his latest outfit, The Rattlesnakes. The band deliver a fierce set centring around their debut album, Blossom. Crowd participation is the name of the game; Carter instigates the largest circle pit ever seen in Newcastle. As he orchestrates the audience, pandemonium ensues as Carter crowd surfs to the back of the venue to sing from atop the bar. The band members pour their hearts and souls into tracks like “Juggernaut” and the anti-love song, “I Hate You.” The performance is an impassioned display from Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes.

Last year, Canadian pop-punk outfit Sum 41 launched a PledgeMusic campaign in support of their sixth studio album, the band’s first in five years. Alternative Press has listed the record as one of their most anticipated albums of 2016.

Some personnel changes see new drummer, Frank Zummo, behind the sticks following the departure of founding drummer, Steve Jocz, who left the band in 2013. Lead guitarist Dave Baksh also makes a welcome return to the lineup following a nine-year absence.

With a career spanning over twenty years, Sum 41 are the most established act on the bill tonight. The lights dim and chants of “Sum 41, Sum 41” reverberate around the room. As the band take the stage, they launch into a triple whammy of “Over My Head (Better Off Dead),” “Motivation,” and “The Hell Song.”

Sum 41 take us through a career-spanning set touching on all five studio albums pleasing the old school fans to whom frontman, Deryck Whibley, dedicates “Summer” from their 2001 debut album All Killer, No Filler.

Mid-set Sum 41 delve into some deep cuts from their later releases, like “Sick of Everyone” and “Screaming Bloody Murder.” There is also room for a superb cover of Queen’s, “We Will Rock You.”

The band close their main set with fan favourites in the shape of “Still Waiting” and “In Too Deep,” the crowd hanging on every word. Not wanting to disappoint anyone, the band returns to finish the night in style with their take on Rancid’s “Ruby Soho” and the classic, “Fat Lip.”

It has been a long time coming, but Sum 41 are back. We look forward to their new album, which drops later this year.

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Sum 41
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Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes
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About The Author

Adam Kennedy is an experienced music photographer based in northeast England. He has been shooting concerts for several years, predominantly with the band Vintage Trouble. In 2013, he was one of their tour photographers, covering the UK and Ireland tour including the headline shows and as opening act for The Who. As an accomplished concert photographer, Adam's work has been featured in print such as, Classic Rock Blues Magazine, Guitarist Magazine, Blues in Britain magazine, broadcast on the MDA Telethon on ABC Television in the US, used in billboard advertising for Renaissance Hotels in the US, and featured online via music blogs such as Uber Rock and Guitar Planet. He is also the official photographer at Newcastle Rock and Blues Club.

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