A wet Tuesday night in Edinburgh isn’t my idea of a good time. I don’t think it’s anyone’s. However, deep in the bowels of the Liquid Rooms, sweaty, balls-out rock and roll is the order of the night as Airbourne get back out on the road.
Up first is Leogun and having seen them before, it’s a perfect fit, sonically. That being said, with their last encounter I found them a bit lethargic but this time around, it was a totally different case. Bringing a harder edge into the mix with furious playing on a set of blues licks, the three-piece win over the crowd with ease and receive a thunderous applause.
After a few blasts through songs, equal part heavy and bluesy, the band play their final song, “By the Reins”, complete with drawn-out notes and as they start to say their farewells, they discover they have time for one more song.
As the PA fires out one brilliant song after the next, it’s almost an anti-climax when the lights go down and bleeding through the PA, is the main theme of Terminator 2 (otherwise known as the best film ever). As it finishes, four sweaty Australians launch themselves onto the tiny stage with the appropriately rousing “Get Ready to Rock”. What follows Airbourne’s mission statement is one mighty piece of hard-boiled rock after another. Slotting in nicely is the title track and lead single from upcoming album Breakin’ Outta Hell. More complex and darker than previous efforts, if it’s an indicator of what’s to come, my appetite is certainly whetted.
Airbourne aren’t just a band who’ll stand on a stage, play a few chords and hope you’ll have a good time. They ensure it with their energetic performance. As ever, frontman Joel O’Keeffe is bashing cans of cheap lager over his head until they explode, many of them spraying over myself and many others in the front row. Then, during “Girls in Black”, which according to Joel rhymes with the phrase “Girls in black”, he grins, stating “I’m going up there!” Wandering into the crowd and up into the balcony, he proceeds to straddle it as he and the band play an extended jam halfway through the song.
Having only been on the road for a couple of weeks since taking time out to record their new album, there’s no jitters or mistakes. Instead we’re presented with a picture of a band revitalised and excited to be back out on the road for the foreseeable future. The energy present is undeniable and in an intimate setting like this, it’s a perfect warm-up to the main event of playing Glasgow’s Barrowlands in a few months.
Encore time comes around just as it seems the band are hitting their stride and many, many cans of lager have been sacrificed to the altar of Joel’s head and they save the best for last with “Live it Up” and “Running Wild”, the latter interspersed with Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid” and AC/DC’s “Dog Eat Dog” and “What Do You Do For Money, Honey”. As the sweat and beer finishes flying across the room, there’s not one person who hasn’t been entertained or had their money’s worth. Now to do it all again in November!