Gig review: Airbourne at O2 Academy Leeds

Airbourne. Picture: Anthony Longstaff
Airbourne. Picture: Anthony Longstaff
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Since their conception some years ago back in the early 2000s, Airbourne have been a massive breath of fresh air in a genre which actually fits their music very, very well.

Some bands slip into rock or metal or various hybrids but Airbourne are just a straight-up rock ’n’ roll band. The party-hard foursome have toured the world and supported some of the biggest names in the music industry such as Iron Maiden and the Rolling Stones, but they are comparatively little known.

Having watched them a number of times in small venues and large festivals, their show has never ever left me with sense that it could of been better. These guys are just epic. They live the rock ’n’ roll dream.

Lead singer Joel O’Keefe is renowned for his stage antics, like climbing up stage framing, swinging from the tops of major festival stages, things that me and you would probably call near death experiences!

Three major label albums in (Runnin Wild, No Guts No Glory and Blackdog Barking), the band are back on tour again across the UK and Europe with a stop at the O2 Academy Leeds.

Supported by The Treament and metal stalwarts Orange Goblin, the night is due to be one heck of a good night.

The Treatment stir up the crowd well with their brash, boy-ish rock sounds and lead the way for Orange Goblin, whose New Wave of British Heavy Metal sound pounds the necks of many a headbanger on the front row.

Airbourne’s backline consists of some 20 Marshall amps stacked up on each other – with that much amplification you know at some point in the week your hearing will return but for tonight some horns are going to be thrown.

As the ‘Terminator’ theme tune cries out, the band walk onstage and blast straight into Ready to Rock. It’s rarely seen that bands can instantly capture their audience but Airbourne do this fantastically well.

Girls in Black see’s O’Keefe tour the Academy on the shoulders of one their guitar techs, frantically playing his way through a sea of hands and horns.

Chewin the Fat comes on next and inevitably they manage to cover most of the first three rows in beer, again O’Keefe opening most of the beer cans with his head! T

heir set continues with tracks Diamond in the Rough, Cheap Wine & Cheaper Women, new track Black Dog Barking and Stand up for Rock n Roll.

It’s amazing at just how much enthusiasm these guys play with and the energy they put into every song. The encore gets them back out to Live it Up and Runnin Wild to end an absolutely fantastic night.

Gig date: December 2

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