Review by Richard Henry for MPM
Off to the city again, on a Tuesday night, sure what else would you be doing otherwise, the Aussies have come to town, ably support by Irish lads Vendetta love, love to see the words Sold Out at a lot of these gigs in Belfast it’s been a great year for bands and with venues packed out, long may it continue!!!
Ode – Kicking off, straight into a nice boogie riff, plenty of movement on stage from both guitarists, and I might add as a side note that’s one of the best snare sounds, I have heard in a while live, back to the song, good use of dynamics, breaking from the straight beat into tom shuffles, now that slow riff that comes in peppered with the bass part made me think, and not for the first time, these guys are probably best described as early Alice in Chains crossed with a bit of glam/rock n roll!
On & On – Starting off with a drum groove before the bass kicks in with it, start of Would by AIC? Again, I defiantly get massive Seattle vibes from this one as well, lower vocal with just a driving slab of a riff behind it, good use of dynamics again with just the bass for part of the second verse before the guitars slam in, nice solo comes in, bit of feedback issues from the monitors, another great track!
What’s in the Blood – Oh I love the start of that, much slower tempo and a really nice riff with a lovely solo/melody played over it, and if this was on a Paradise Lost album it wouldn’t be out of place, has a real Icon album vibe from the start of it, again its heavy, then it breaks into arpeggiated chords over the verse, before it picks up for the chorus, really great vocal delivery on this one, another nice solo although the soundman could do with boosting it a bit, then a great slab of a riff after it and then tempo picks up, great track and again not what I was expecting, a lot heavier a band than you would maybe think from the name!
Hush Hush – Clean guitar to start this one off, some nice bass fills in there that are easy to miss right under the vocal, and again great vocal, really warm in the lower register, then we launch into another strong riff, this one has all the Seattle vibes, tormented vocals lovely drumming and a riff that just continues to drive through it all, another great solo coming in over that lumbering riff, another great track, at the min these guys are 4 songs in and four bangers!
Blackened Hands – You know when you just hear a lovely clean punchy bass sound, that is what kicks this one off, great tone, Layne Staley might as well be up there with that vocal, honestly, its haunting live, again its great use of dynamics going from that bassline verse into that chorus with all the angst in the vocals, again these guys can play, great solo again and the musicianship is on point with all the band!
Chains n All – Another slab of a riff straight off the bat on this one, this song is a real smack in the teeth right from the off, really smooth transition into the chorus which again has that sort of Paradise Lost little guitar figure in there that just lifts the chorus up, great solo again which has been the case for every song, but that riff, that’s a piledriver, and I love that almost half time feel breakdown riff with that hits under the solo just before the end of the song, great track!
Mindfuck – The guys are shooting a video for this one we were told, now unfortunately I can’t find any footage or anything on YouTube for this one, so go subscribe the bands YouTube page and give it watch when they get it released!
Witches & Thieves – Now I have to say, c’mon Belfast waken up, it was hard work for the guys at times getting a reaction from the crowd, this is the first track they did a video for, real GNR vibes from the start of that then into an almost punkish riff, great vocal just full of grit but can really carry the song especially when they get into the chorus, another nice solo coming in, this song is probably what I expected from the guys, but they delivered so much more, if you get a chance to see them, go do it, you won’t be disappointed!
Now I don’t know if it’s the band or the soundman, but before Airbourne came on, we had Quo, Maiden, Metallica, Motorhead, DC, that’s how you get a crowd ready for your main act!!
Ready to Rock – We start off with a few lasers and the Terminator theme starts to play, and then bang, like a slap to the chops the boys are onstage, and the answer is yes, we are Ready to Rock from the “Black Dog Barking” Album, straight into up-tempo boogie town, bit of Robert Johnston history in the lyrics, I have to admit a bit like Vendetta Love, the crowd where pretty quiet tonight when it came to the singalongs, but that energy coming off the stage is infectious and loads of people around we were boogying in their own spot, and it’s nice to hear a loud band as well, so many guys aren’t using live amps onstage and going direct, there is just a real balls to having amps blasting at you from the stage, bit of a singalong in the middle of the song after the solo
Too Much, Too Young, Too Fast – All I have to say is if Malcolm wrote that riff you wouldn’t be surprised, it’s an absolute classic, we are off to the “Runnin Wild” album for this one, Justin just holding it down on this one, him and guitarist Brett are just constantly switching sides and I found myself at times watching those guys to see what they were doing rather than watching Joel which is great, there is always something to watch nothing worse than a static band, speaking of Joel that mad eyed lunatic, he is like a tornado of energy, when he’s not singing he’s peeling off solos, headbanging, again it’s just so much energy coming off the stage, sorry back to the song, what a chorus, it will have you singing away to it, probably will be in your head tomorrow, it’s just a driving classic rock track, the gang vocals in the chorus really slap home the words, and a great solo from Joel, peeling off lick after lick!
Back in the Game – That’s a dirty riff at the start of this one from the “Black Dog Barking” album, an absolute headbanger of a track, and again with the riff the bass and drums are so important to a song like this, holding it all down while the riff comes in and out, it’s just so solid live, the chorus to this is just massive, it’s a real slinky groove as well, little solo before verse two and another thing is Joel will make sure to cover both sides of the stage when playing a solo so everyone gets to see, I think things like this get overlooked at times, really nice open string pull off Angus style lick in that solo, that chorus though!!!!
Girls in Black – Back to the “Runnin Wild” album, kicking the tempo up again after two more mid-tempo songs, just a driving slab of rock, and again see when the gang vocals come in one the chorus it just sounds massive and give so much weight to the chorus, now at this point in the set Joel decided he wanted a tour of the building I suppose, and the next thing you know he is up on the shoulders of one of the techs and he’s away off a wander round the crowd while playing a solo, there was one issue, how to open a beer with one hand, well its simple really, hold down the chords with one hand and crack the can off you head with the other, I got a delicate sip of Harp from it when it exploded so that was nice, then he’s off back to the stage again to finish up the song!
Burnout the Nitro – First song we get off the new album “Boneshaker” and surprisingly the only one from the new album in the set, another up-tempo song, this was another one where the vocals where sometimes getting a bit lost in the pa over the instruments, only happened a few times, the guitar sound was sublime by the way for all you fellow guitarists reading this, nice solo on this, Joel really behind the strings on that beautiful Explorer, I think you sometimes forget most of these song are 4 mins and they fly in, getting a bit of crowd interaction at the end of this one and again Belfast needed to sing up a bit!
Bottom of the Well – Back to the debut album “No Guts No Glory”, I love the start of this one with the cleanish finger picked guitar part with a solo over the top, also toned down, then just that four on the floor bass drum, to get everyone clapping along, great vocal on that and then boom, it just hits in and starts to drive, it all picks up into that massive singalong chorus, I love the little guitar solo parts Joel squeezes in between the vocal before taking his proper solo, and the way he plays the notes from the chorus at the end of the solo before it breaks down again to how the song started is just an awesome touch and great building of a solo!
Breaking Outta Hell – First track of the album with the same name, straight eighth note riff just driving along with the bass drum under it is how we kick off this one with Joel playing a counter point over the top before everyone kicks into that riff and the tempo is up again, these guys just do not back down with the energy, rhythm player Brett is just an animal, pumping away over there, headbanging the whole time running round the stage, him and Justin are a whirlwind on each side of the stage, another great singalong chorus with the two guys then adding to it after the main vocal before they all join in, into another blistering solo from Joel, it’s just banger after banger here!
All for Rock ‘N’ Roll –Lemmy’s Bar made an appearance, a bottle of Jack, three cans of Coke and four containers, now I am no mixologist but 90% Jack and 10% coke I am pretty sure are indeed Lemmy’s measurements of choice, some of these made their way around the crowd for some brave souls to enjoy!! From the same album as the last track, the thing you don’t notice at the time, the tempo goes more mid-tempo, but the energy never changes so you don’t notice till after, how well the guys have actually paced the set, drummer Ryan back there as much as you can’t see him is just metronomic back there, solid as a rock, another huge chorus that will stick with you for days, lots of singing on this one from everyone around me, again great playing from Joel and another Angus style solo comes flying out all while headbanging moving around the stage and hitting all his vocal marks!
Stand Up for Rock ‘N’ Roll – First track from the “Runnin Wild” album, now for some reason the start of this one always reminded me of the end of Genghis Khan from Maidens Killers album, just the start of it and the buildup before it kicks up DC fast boogie land, Joel stuck to the mic giving crazy eyes to the crowd and smiling away looking like he is having an absolute ball up there, again some really nice parts in that solo, especially just before coming back into the chorus, it’s just balls to the wall this song!
Live it Up – After going off for a min, there is an air raid siren onstage that drummer Ryan winds up and then, we hit the last two songs of tonight, back again to the “Black Dog Barking” album, I mean that’s just a real Angus Young style intro with the fingerpicked chord stabs over a droning E note, it’s so iconic and let’s face it, these guys have taken that mantel AC/DC have put down and are running with it full steam ahead, full on banger of a track once it hits in, it’s just classic rock n roll, that part where it’s a chord with just that bass drum playing before it hits the chorus is just class, then a massive singalong of a chorus, key change in the middle of the song, easy to miss, then into another paint stripper of a solo, and back out into a breakdown before we get slammed into that huge chorus again!
Runnin Wild – From the album of the same name, this is our last track for tonight, palm muted riff with a second guitar part playing chords around it and then bang, just a driving bass line hammering this one home, cry me a river of tears Joel is singing, we are, it’s the last song, another massive singalong chorus pounded home with all the guys singing it together, I love the solo hitting the chord stabs as well in between licks, last chance to make some noise Belfast before we hit the middle section where the dynamics come down and then boom into that huge chorus again!
I feel like I have been hit by a truck, it was just nonstop energy from the stage from Airbourne, you know what they sound like on record but live it’s just nonstop from they are on till they are off, massive fun to watch but come on Belfast, that was quiet tonight I thought it was just me until I spoke to a mate after the show and she said the same, but apart from that everyone had a great night and I loved them, they are off to do a few more dates and record a new album, I hope they are back over these parts soon!!
In the words of Joel, if we are here, and you are here, Rock ‘N’ Roll will never die!!
Photography by MPM