Airbourne: Manchester – live review
7th December 2013
Airbourne have been on the road for a long time in support of Black Dog Barking. Bringing with them one of England’s finest metal bands in Orange Goblin and young upstarts The Treatment the band were ready for one more lap before Christmas.
After leaving Grand Central on Manchester’s busy Oxford Road, two touts were outside the doors frantically trying to buy spare tickets for the concert. The show had been sold out for a good few weeks, and anticipation was extremely high. It was pleasing to hear that touts had few tickets, meaning that the crowd would be full of honest fans ready to get their rocks off on a Saturday night.
Cambridge quintet The Treatment kicked things off with a good set of songs that point to a good future for the band. Plenty of enthusiasm in working the crowd was prevalent throughout the set, and the guitarists flanking the stage were also confrontational in their want to get the crowd involved. A headline tour is book for the band next year, and they are worth a look. With their sound mixing elements of UFO, early Aerosmith and Guns’n’Roses, the band have got a good concoction to throw at you.
Metal stalwarts, Orange Goblin followed The Treatment. Orange Goblin have had a relentless year touring with the likes of the mighty Clutch, and now Airbourne. Back in February when they played the now defunct NQ Live in Manchester they were incredible. Their slot on this tour was no different. Opening with the mighty Scorpionica, the towering Ben Ward (sporting a superb Rainbow Rising shirt) played the crowd perfectly. A cherry picked set which included 1997’s classic Saraman’s Wish, newer tracks Filthy And The Few and Acid Trial and The Big Black’s Quincy The Pigboy were all received with a rapturous reception from the crowd. The pace, delivery, enthusiasm and straight up rock’n’roll were the perfect foil for the main act. For a band that have been around for so long, they seem hungrier than ever to put on the best rock show around. They return to Manchester next March for a headline slot at FOAD Fest. Miss them (and the whole event) at your peril.
With the stage set perfectly and adorned with the glorious sight of a plethora of Marshall amps, Airbourne went about their business in clinical fashion. As far as honest bands go, Airbourne are one of the best. The band’s 80+ minute set was a homage to the sound of AC/DC. While relying heavily on the sound of their fellow Aussies, the band are unique in their energy. A mere three songs into the set, and Joel O’Keefe took a lap around the Ritz aloft a security guard’s shoulders to take the gig to the crowd during Girls In Black.
The set list for the show took in the high points from the bands three album strong discography. Diamond In The Rough has it’s full lewd meaning explained to the crowd and No Way But The Hard Way recalls the rock n roll spirit of their forefathers more than most. The chorus is emphatically delivered back to the band on command. Main set closer, Stand Up For Rock n Roll is another call to arms that the Manchester crowd were more than happy to be involved in. A three song encore followed. The air raid siren opening of Live It Up in the Ritz was piercing, but the sight of O’Keefe stood on top of his Marshall stacks cutting a silhouette in white light was a clichéd sight to behold. The track was followed by the triumphant double header of Raise The Flag and Runnin’ Wild complete with another lap of the Ritz via the balcony, and the smashing of cans of Red Stripe on O’Keefe’s head until they burst, and bathe the crowd in beer!
This was no frills rock and roll delivered with an intensity and energy that puts pretty much every other band to shame. Couple this with Orange Goblin’s pummelling riffs and The Treatment’s youthful vigour, the whole night is a massive success. Rock n roll is alive and well. I will drink to that!