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Friday 13 December 2013

The View From The Back Of The Room: Airbourne

Airbourne, Orange Goblin & The Treatment, O2 Academy Bristol

So once more across the bridge to Bristol and into the Academy for night of rawk! Into the arena (Michael Schenker) and up to the balcony (Romeo and the Juliets?) we waited for the first act after filling up on rock juice from the bar.

The Treatment

First up were Cambridge rock upstarts The Treatment. I've been following their progress for a while and tonight was the slickest I've ever seen them. They not only have the songs but the look and the attitude. The look was leather biker jackets, tight jeans and Union Jack motifs that made them look visually like a mix of The Clash, The Sex Pistols and Guns N Roses. The band were on top form crashing out with the rip snorting Drink, Fuck, Fight, from their last album which started things off nicely meaning that drummer Dhani Mansworth could crash and smash, bassist Swoggle (who looks like he should be in Game Of Thrones) ran around the stage like Steve Harris on steroids! The twin-guitar of Ben Brookland and Tagore Grey meant that the songs had classic hard rock delivery to them and Matt Jones' vocals fit the music but can grate somewhat. The band took a risk and ploughed through a set of new tracks from their unreleased album but they were all strong full of chunky rock riffs and solo's meaning that their new album should be something a bit special as live they are now better than I've ever seen them they have worked hard on their delivery and most importantly their song-writing. With their sizzling opening ending with the sing along Shake The Mountain. 8/10

Orange Goblin

The band that have probably taken the award for hardest touring band several times over made their way to the stage as Ozzy blared from the speakers. Led on to the stage by Jon Hoare the one man riff machine began to blast out the riff for Scorpionica he was joined by the face smashing rhythm section from the suitably bearded Martyn Millard (Bass) and Chris Turner (drums) before finally the giant (continuing with The Game Of Thrones theme) himself Ben Ward marched out and began to roar, straight then into The Filthy And The Few which garnered the fans into a frenzy. Between every song Ben did the Ozzy two fists in the air hailing his hero and decked out in an old school Sabbath t-shirt. Goblin then slowed things down this the trippy Saruman's Wish. Before coming back to bludgeon us again with Acid Trial and the evergreen Some You Win, Some You Lose. This was a short sharp shock of a set in which Goblin came, saw and conquered and as the final duo of Quincy The Pig Boy and Red Tide Rising rang out the crowd had been welcomed to the house of Goblin. Still one of the best live bands out there, no bullshit, no sermons just straight up British heavy metal. 9/10


Airbourne hail from Australia, they play hard rock rooted in the blues and they have two brothers in the band. Yes the scene is familiar (as too is the sound) and the joke has worn stale but still it's when you see Airbourne live that it reinforces that they do sound an awful lot like AC/DC. With the Terminator 2 intro finishing the band came rushing onto the stage and dove headlong into Ready To Rock from the new album before Too Much, Too Young, Too Fast and Girls In Black brought the classics. The band are always full of energy and frontman Joel O'Keefe is like a psycho with his wild eyed stare and shirtless antics. However it's this unhinged madness that I wish to focus on as I've seen Airbourne a few times now and this crops up every time. Yes they have some good rock n roll songs that are perfect for a party atmosphere however Joel's insistence for having beer throwing competitions (which lasted about 5 minutes), doing solo around the crowd and then doing his obligatory climbing shtick meant that nearly 30 minutes of the set was taken up by guitar soloing and tomfoolery than actually playing the songs. Now maybe this is me being a cynic but the odd piece of theatre is great but when you are playing what is essentially bar room boogie, the long instrumental passages become more of a chore than a treat. Still I enjoyed Diamond In The RoughBlonde Bad And Beautiful and Stand Up For Rock N Roll. As they closed the main set leading to the Thunderstruck moment of Live It Up to start the encore. This moved into Raise The Flag which went on far too long with all the running about by O’Keefe and the final song was Runnin’ Wild which ended the set on a high. Like I said musically they are just what you want from a live band however they need to think about pacing a bit more. 8/10   

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