REVIEW: The Vamps, Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle
Pop megastars The Vamps electrified a highly-engaged young audience at theÂ Arena on their second visit to the North East in as many years.
Building on last year's appearance thanks to new material from second album Wake Up, the British boy band entertained the vociferous turnout with a set of hits and guest spots from Conor Maynard and labelmates No Hope Club.
With many tickets priced at just £9.50, The Vamps claimed the tour was a chance to give something back to their fans, and an adoring crowd - some of who had queued outside from midday - were not disappointed.
The slew of guest spots, plus solo moments for Brad and Tristan, meant the band rarely performed as a four-piece, and the sometimes lengthy changeovers disrupted the flow of the performance.
But the audience were kept entertained during the longer breaks by videos detailing the band's formative days and an amusing introduction to their new Steady Records label.
American band The Tide - signed to the label - were the pick of three support acts of varying quality.
The demise of top boy band One Direction last year has elevated The Vamps to new heights, as one of the pretenders to their pop throne.
But - by playing their own instruments and invoking rock tropes like drum solos during their sets - The Vamps have more in common with the likes of Busted and 5 Seconds of Summer than Harry Styles and the gang.
That didn't prevent a stereotypical Irish boy band - Hometown - from opening with a fairly mundane, dated display of teeny-bopper pop, that was well enough received but highlighted only by a cartwheel down the ramp.
Their set was preciously short, and followed swiftly by Conor Maynard, once considered the next big thing but already over the hill by the tender age of 23.
His set of party pop was fun, if over-reliant on the backing tracks, but again it was a short-lived spot as the supports came thick and fast.
The Tide, the first band signed to Steady Records, were last up, and proved far fresher, winning themselves new fans with good looks, a pop-rock style similar to The Vamps and engaging chit-chat courtesy of vocalist Austin Corini.
Debut single Young Love went down a storm, and as a whole they did enough to suggest that they've got the potential to be the next big boy band.
An introduction video played before The Vamps took to the stage, thanking the audience for their support, and reminding them that many tickets were made available for under £10 to allow as many fans as possible a part in the fun.
A 60-second countdown, flashes of pyro and a cacophony of feminine screams then signalled the arrival of The Vamps to the stage.
Rest Your Love and Cheater - both taken from second album Wake Up - opened the set, with frontman and ringleader Brad Simpson quick to engage with VIP fans situated adjacent to the ramp.
Somebody To You and a medley of other people's songs followed before the first interlude, marked by a documentary-style video detailing how The Vamps first met, with fans cheering as old photos of the band appeared on-screen.
Brad then declared his love for stotties before a spot of product placement, involving selfies with the crowd and an instant camera promoted in the lobby earlier.
New single I Found A Girl then featured, with Conor Maynard taking the role of Omi, while No Hope Club would later replace Shawn Mendes on Cecelia.
A visually-impressive spot, with flames lining the back of the stage, was a highlight before another video introduced their new record label.
A fairly throwaway Tristan Evans drum solo on a revolving stage followed, but no matter the quality of the spot, the fans were bound to lap it all up.
So it was no wonder that early singles Last Night and Can We Dance lit up the Arena, before a two-song encore - concluding withalbum title track Wake Up - concluded a lively pop performance.