Airbourne – Manchester, O2 Academy – 14 November 2017 Print E-mail
Written by DJ Astrocreep and Claire Simmons   
Friday, 08 December 2017 04:20

Fresh from a headline slot at Hard Rock Hell a few nights earlier, Airbourne embarked straight upon the UK leg of their ‘Breakin' Outta Hell’ world tour to close it in style. Picking Canadian up and comers The Wild and old hand Phil Campbell with his Bastard Sons to support makes perfect sense, given their sound, so it was time to head off on the train again for another night of rock n roll action.


First on were The Wild, on their first UK tour. They give a great performance, mixing a hint of blues with a hard rock style, very reminiscent of the great AC/DC. Your eyes get quite drawn to lead guitar/vocalist Dylan Villain as he drawls a very Brian Johnson-esque voice down the mic, whilst playing along on guitar. It's quite easy to tell why they have been selected for this tour with their sound and through their songs you get a feeling that these guys are making this stage their own.


The Wild 1


The crowd appreciate what is being driven into them by the band and return it in spades - it's a fairly safe bet that these guys will be back soon on a headline tour of their own, having picked up more than a couple of new fans both on this night and the rest of the tour. A great way to start off the show!


Next up, from the new on to the old hands, and on swagger Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons. Phil, best known for his time as the lead guitarist with Motorhead, is still a very enthusiastic performer despite all his years in the business.


Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons 1


From the opening song onwards, his distinct style is obvious as the driving force for the rest, ably backed as he is by the rest of the band. With a couple of Motorhead tributes - they're hardly covers when Phil was instrumental in their writing himself - in 'Born to Raise Hell' and the fitting climax of 'Ace of Spades, the Welsh guitar legend and the rest perform admirably, doing an excellent job of keeping the crowd going, after The Wild had previously warmed them up. Phil announced their next single, a cover of Hawkwind's 'Silver Machine', would be videoed tonight for the official music video for it, getting the crowd bouncing along happily to the well-performed number, whilst the punk/thrash-like raw vocals add a bit more energy to the first track that many people heard the late great Lemmy sing on - a fitting tribute indeed to the great man. With the Ace of Spades finisher, Phil and the guys show that they too seem headed for big things and that there's life in the old dog yet!


Now on to our headliners, Airbourne. Renowned for their live shows and their somewhat erratic or eccentric behaviour, they storm on to the stage and start the show in style with Ready To Rock, from their original EP of the same name. With their sound so obviously influenced by AC/DC and Motörhead in fairly equal measure, they move through their set, with ‘Too Much, Too Young, Too Fast’ featuring quite early on, helping to set the tone. Before much longer, singer Joel decides it's time to embark on an excursion of his name, hops off the stage and on to a security member's shoulders, before directing him off through the crowd - all while continuing to play! The shirtless Joel directs his 'mount' with a point of the guitar and a lean, with the obliging security member bringing him right through the middle of the crowd, before biting open the side of a can of beer - again, while somehow still playing - drinking some and dowsing the delighted surrounding audience members with the rest, before directing the now fairly drenched security back to the stage.



Airbourne 2


A few blasts of CO2 cannons from time to time help to slightly cool down the audience, as the temperatures soar in this nonstop action, with Joel and the rest continuing to delight with their nonstop aural assault, hammering some old-school rock deep within everyone’s brains, before, on the penultimate track of the main set, 'It's All For Rock N Roll', stopping altogether, bringing the rest of the band to the front with him to Lemmy's Bar - a flight case wheeled on by a roadie, with the name on the front in tape - where he pours a quarter of a JD bottle each into four cups, mixes a touch of soft drink and raises a toast to Lemmy - joined by the majority of the audience. This done, they carry on with the track, finish the main set and head off stage to howls for more from the highly entertained crowd.


The drummer heads out first, using a crank operated air raid siren to summon the rest of the band, whereupon Joel is spotted on the top of the stage set, starting to play the next track, before coming down backstage and rejoining the rest who have now taken up their spots out front again. Joel now announced he wants to set a new world record and encourages the crowd to get on each other’s shoulders. Whilst initially hesitant, a few start to do it, followed by more after further cajoling on the mic, so Joel decides to start throwing out some beers in plastic cups. 10 attempts go by, some excurciatingly close, but no one manages to quite catch the beers thrown out to them before finally, with one last try the 11th succeeds, downing the beer to a loud cheer, so the band can continue on a little bit more. During the final track, ‘Runnin' Wild’, the band start to flick out their plecs and the like, one by one moving to a side of the stage, before Joel flings out all his, the band play their final few notes and everyone heads home happy.


Airbourne 10


Another great performance by the band, who seem to manage to cram extra solos in almost every track without quite overdoing it, and having been very ably supported.


PHOTO CREDIT: All photos © Shot By Simmons/Über Rock. You can view our full gallery of photographs HERE.


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