||AIRBOURNE LIVE IT UP IN A SELL OUT GLASGOW SHOW
The Barrowlands, Glasgow, Thursday 24th November
Words: Johnny Main, Pictures: Carlan Braid
Australian rockers Airbourne return to the UK for a full blown ten date tour in support of their 'Breakin' Outta Hell' album (which you can check out right here), with support from US hard rockers Crobot as well as either The Franklys or The Amorettes opening, depending or where you went to see the show.
Tight budgets are everywhere these days, so three bands for £20 isn't something the punters could easily knock back, and the people of Glasgow certainly weren't about to turn down a deal like that as they trooped over to the famous Barrowland Ballroom for a sold out event.
London based Garage rock'n'roll band, The Franklys featuring two members from Sweden, Jennifer Ahlkvist on lead vocals/rhythm guitar and Fanny Broberg on rhythm guitar, as well as bass guitarist Zoe Biggs and new drummer Lexi Clark from closer to home, were the first act on stage for this extravaganza.
The band had started their set shortly after doors opened, so some of their potential audience were still outside trying to get in, however those who did make it in quickly enough, saw The Franklys' triumphant return to Glasgow on a substantially larger stage that they were afforded earlier in the year.
With only a short time to impress, they battered through their five song, twenty five minute set with passion and finesse. New drummer Lexi Clark, a recent addition to the line-up, pounded out the solid beats whilst their slower paced second number certainly packed a punch and saw bass player Zoe Biggs at her most animated.
They closed off the show in fine fashion with some orchestrated feedback kicking the final number off which also saw a somewhat aggressive vocal performance from vocalist Jennifer Ahlkvist who really put her soul into the number. It was a short but well put together set to showcase the very best of the band's career so far, so good on Airbourne for tagging them onto the bill otherwise I might never have found out about them.
Up next were Pennsylvanian heavy rockers Crobot, who have spent the last five years or so touring the world, bringing their show to bigger and bigger audiences thanks to support slots with Clutch, The Sword, Black Label Society and Anthrax. The band have produced a trio of solid albums including 'Something Supernatural' in 2014 and their new release, 'Welcome To Fat City' and it was these two releases which formed the basis for their set.
Having last touched down in the UK this time last year, the Airbourne tour is a timely return to UK stages for them. Afforded a forty minute set, they leaned especially hard on their 'Welcome To Fat City' album, with an impressive seven numbers taken from it. The band were afforded a warm reception from the audience who had swelled in number since The Franklys had finished their set and as they kicked off with 'Legend Of The Spaceborne Killer', they looked settled and relaxed.
Referring to the new album, frontman Brandon Yeagley told the audience: "We've got some new shit for you", to a loud roar of approval before adding "let's get grooving" as they launched into 'Not For Sale' followed by the catchy 'Easy Money', the latter of which saw bass player Jake Figueroa headbanging away in a wee world of his own whilst you could scarcely miss the grin on the face of guitarist Chris Bishop showing how much fun he was having. Other new material included 'Right Between The Eyes' which had the audience punching the air on command of Yeagley before Bishop played a great guitar solo before skilfully swinging around his guitar almost taking out a drum mic in the process.
Jake Figueroa and drummer Paul Figueroa proved what a solid engine room they are for the band during 'Hold On For Dear Life', which is deceptively heavy before 'Play It Cool' which received a huge ovation. Taking a break between numbers, Yeagley told the enraptured crowd: "We see Glasgow on the schedule and we know it's gonna be a good fucking night", with a huge grin on his face as the crowd loudly appreciated the gesture.
The unexpected inclusion of 'La Mano De Lucifer' went down a storm with the audience whilst Bishop engage in some onstage tomfoolery with Yeagley before he played the guitar solo from behind his amp as they both engaged in some onstage tomfoolery. The fun between the pair continued during Nowhere to Hide as Yeagley launched himself onto Bishop's shoulder before he took his a short trip around the stage.
Closing off with 'Welcome To Fat City' the response from the audience showed that Crobot are establishing a firm fan base in Scotland and they genuinely like to visit the city so I'm certainly not alone in looking forward to a headline show from them here sooner rather than later.
It's been over two years since Airbourne last stepped out onto a Glasgow stage (the last time was with Black Stone Cherry and Theory of a Deadman in tow) and tonight they were given a heroes welcome back to the city as the audience were desperate for the band to get on with the show as they chanted for them before the house lights finally went down and a huge cheer went up as the main title from 'Terminator 2' was played out.
In a flurry of lights, Airbourne hit the stage to a roof raising response and the band wasted no time basking in the glory as they got straight down to business with the high octane 'Ready To Rock', and judging by the noise form the audience, that's exactly what they were ready to do as they performed in front of the rabid audience who lapped every cheesy lyric and grinding guitar chord the band had to offer.
Their set list contained twelve tracks showcasing the very best of Airbourne's three albums including the classic 'Too Much, Too Young, Too Fast' (to many, their first experience of the band) early in the set. "It's just like being fucking home! It's great to be back in the Barrowlands", said frontman Joel O'Keeffe before 'Chewin' The Fat' to a huge ovation. 'Rivalry', the first single from the band's new album, went down a storm and saw the audience singing along whilst the older track 'Girls In Black' had the first wave of crowd surfers doing their thing before O'Keeffe took his usual sojourn into the audience.
A trio of new tracks, 'It's All For Rock N' Roll' (which was dedicated to Motörhead mainman Lemmy Kilmister), 'Down n You' and 'Breakin' Outta Hell' were received warmly with the latter including plumes of dry ice during the chorus in a rare exhibition of stage effects for the band. With an Airbourne show, there's usually no fancy pyrotechnics and not much in the way of a stage set – all they really need is a wall of Marshall amplifiers, a back drop, lots of lights and, of course, the band firing on all cylinders from start to finish.
Old favourites 'No Way But The Hard Way' and 'Stand Up For Rock N' Roll' brought the main set to an end, but it didn't take long for the band to return for their encore, which kicked off with O'Keeffe manning the air raid siren before standing precariously atop the speaker stack as they burst into 'Live It Up'. A snatch of 'Scotland The Brave' which was played at breakneck speed preceded show closer 'Runnin' Wild', with a bit of AC/DC's 'Dirty Deeds' and 'Whole Lotta Rosie' thrown in the middle for good measure, and a second trip onto of the speakers for O'Keeffe, despite some pleading from the stage manager not to, heralded the end of another fantastic show for the quartet.
For each show, and I've seen a fair few in the past decade, Airbourne give every song absolutely one hundred percent and they should be applauded for their commitment to putting on a great high energy show. You should never underestimate the power of Airbourne because these guys are the real deal and they're the future of rock music, so expect them to continue standing up for rock'n'roll for a long time to come.
Airbourne Set List:
Ready To Rock
Too Much, Too Young, Too Fast
Chewin' The Fat
Girls In Black
It's All For Rock N' Roll
Down On You
Breakin' Outta Hell
No Way But The Hard Way
Stand Up For Rock N' Roll
Live It Up
Joel O'Keeffe – Lead Vocals/Lead Guitar
David Roads – Rhythm Guitar
Justin Street – Bass Guitar
Ryan O'Keeffe – Drums
Crobot Set List:
Legend Of The Spaceborne Killer
Not For Sale
Skull Of Geronimo
Right Between The Eyes
Hold On For Dear Life
Plague Of The Mammoths
Play It Cool
La Mano De Lucifer
Nowhere To Hide
Welcome To Fat City
Brandon Yeagley – Lead Vocals
Chris Bishop – Vocals/Guitar
Jake Figueroa – Bass Guitar
Paul Figueroa – Drums
The Franklys are:
Jennifer Ahlkvist – Lead Vocals/Rhythm Guitar
Fanny Broberg – Rhythm Guitar
Zoe Biggs – Bass Guitar
Lexi Clark – Drums