Airbourne + Crobot

Tuesday 29th November

Electric Ballroom, Camden

In their early days, Airbourne were a band often taken for an Australian AC/DC tribute act. Now roughly ten years into the game, they have really broken out of that perception, and become known in their own right, with some banging tracks that have made the band a must-see. With the release of their fourth studio album, ‘Breakin’ Outta Hell’, Airbourne have made yet another step into the limelight on their own merit. There was something in the air at the Electric Ballroom on the last night of their UK tour, a real sense that we were about to see something special.



However, before Airbourne and starting off the WRC evening (after a few beers in the local The World's End of course !) were US rockers Crobot, a band I must admit I knew very little about despite AJ telling me how good they were and the WRC interviewing the band ahead of the gig, So I really wasn’t sure what to expect to be honest. These Pennsylvanian rockers seem to thrive in the UK on levels they haven’t quite reached elsewhere. It’s a familiar story with the same happening for the likes of Black Stone Cherry, Alter Bridge and Avenged Sevenfold, us Brits seem to have taken them under our wing and given them a pep talk of “we know what you’re capable of, even if the rest of the world doesn’t”.



They opened their set with the seemingly reliable ‘Legend Of The Spaceborne Killer’ from debut album ‘Something Supernatural’ and immediately lead singer Brendon Yeagley was on form. His signature 70’s “free spirit” style unchanged from previous UK shows I gather and the microphone stand taking a beating. He is certainly one of the shining lights amongst the new breed of frontmen currently treading the boards .His elasticated legs made him seem ten feet tall! From here six of the next ten songs were from the new album ‘Welcome To Fat City’ and it was great to see the band knocking out over half of a new album and the crowd lapping it up. They weren’t as raucous as they would be for Airbourne, but Crobot aren’t a balls out Rock band. Crobot put the funk right up their crowds from what I have heard and that was certainly the case here. ‘Play It Cool’, ‘Easy Money’ and ‘Nowhere To Hide’ all take a spot on the setlist and show how far the band have progressed, sounding fresher and bigger than the debut album tracks. Crobot have all the potential in the world and it almost certainly won’t be long until they’re back. Make sure you’re in the room when they’re next here. I certainly will be!



Finally, we came to the moment everyone had been waiting for, as the lights went down and the Terminator 2 theme comes in, building up nicely to Airbourne hitting the stage like the alcohol fueled tornado that they are. I caught Airbourne at the Ramblin’ Man Fair this summer and witnessed how they performed on a big stage. My initial judgment was that they – especially lead singer Joel O’Keeffe – were nutters! I wondered if they’d tone it down when playing inside, but not a chance. Joel appeared on stage, shirtless of course. It was obvious we were in for a rocking night. They bound on to stage like an excited puppy that’s happy to be home. Similar to Crobot, Airbourne have a big, big following in the UK and immediately guitar-wielding frontman Joel has the whole room clapping along to the bass drum with hair and beer flying. They flew straight into ‘Ready to Rock’, and the crowd lived up to it as they greeted the band with a deafening roar and a heaving mosh pit of course! My mosh pit days are over but AJ took up the challenge on the WRC's behalf like the trooper he is..Good lad!



After two more songs,’Too Much, Too Young, Too Fast’ and ‘Chewing the Fat’, both of which were fantastic and showed the band were firing on all cylinders, and sounding amazing, followed by the first playing live of ‘Hellfire’ for two years, we then got to the first track from their new album with the song ‘Rivalry’, and with the way the crowd were singing along, you would never have guessed it was a new track. Then, after revisiting their first album with ‘Girls in Black’, and Joel deciding to spend some time in the crowd - which as always went down very well – we were treated to new song ‘It’s All For Rock and Roll’. The band explained that without the late Motorhead front-man Lemmy they might not be where they are now, so this one was for him. “Cheers Lem” was answered by an almighty cheer, and there was something about the lines, “all around the world he left his mark, and his ghost still haunts the stage” that makes you think Airbourne certainly aren’t wrong, and that Lemmy would be proud of them. The song itself certainly does sound similar to Motorhead in places again it’s another song that gets the crowd going.



Airbourne continued with a fan favourite in ‘Down On You’ before giving us the outstanding title track of the new album ‘Breakin’ Outta Hell’, followed by ‘Diamond In The Rough’ from the first album again, both of which sounded fantastic, with the band hitting every note and really coming together perfectly on their new tracks, where they didn’t put a foot wrong all night. After an encore which consisted of ‘Livin’ It Up’ and the crowds-favourite game of ‘who wants a beer from Joel?’ the band finished up with what else but ‘Running Wild’, which began with drummer Ryan O'Keefe cranking up a World War II air raid siren and one final reminder that "as long as you’re alive and we’re alive", ROCK AND ROLL WILL NEVER DIE! Thank God for that!



Airbourne proved why they are still a one of the very best live bands around with such energy and stage presence to them and a back catalogue of songs that everyone loves. On top of that the new songs went down really well and the band themselves sound really tight and slick. Joel is a good a front man as ever there was one - he knows what’s expected of him and he delivers every time. Airbourne have a set of fans that just can’t get enough of them. Which is where my only gripe of the evening comes from. The Aussie’s seem to be playing less tracks now after four albums than they did a few years ago after just a couple. 14 tracks were played including the two track encore and the set lasted little over an hour. For a band with the catalogue AIrbourne have, I was expecting a bit more to be honest. Still, what we did get rocked hard and the band were in fine form. This gig could have been longer but it couldn’t have been louder. And for Airbourne that’s the ultimate compliment in my book,



So, they came, they rocked, the drank and they left. Another strong Airbourne tour has torn London a new one and left it wondering just what the hell happened. It’s easy for a band to start to plateau, but there doesn’t seem to be any worries about that happening around here. There are many, many bands who make more cerebral music. Many acts who pepper their trademark tunes with opaque lyrics and meandering solos. And many musicians who would mock Airbourne’s simplistic "AC/DC's riffs meet Def Leppard's choruses" formula. But few come close to matching Melbourne’s finest in terms of energy, attitude and addictive positivity. Most – if not all – of what you see at an Airbourne show has been done before. The riffs have been rearranged and the words might have changed but this is, in essence, a throwback to when Bon Scott and Angus Young injected the X-Factor into DIY rock. And as a result it’s one of the most reassuring live shows you’ll see all year. No way but the highway? I think you’ll find there’s the Airbourne way and it freaking rocks! Long may it continue...



Airbourne Setlist:



1. Main Title from "Terminator 2" (Brad Fiedel song)

2. Ready to Rock

3. Too Much, Too Young, Too Fast

4. Chewin' the Fat

5. Hellfire

6. Rivalry

7. Girls in Black

8. It's All For Rock N' Roll

9. Down on You

10. Breakin' Outta Hell

11. Diamond in the Rough

12. No Way but the Hard Way

13. Stand Up for Rock 'n' Roll



Encore



14. Live It Up

15. Runnin' Wild



Crobot Setlist:



1. The Legend of the Spaceborne Killer

2. Easy Money

3. Skull of Geronimo

4. Right Between the Eyes

5. Chupacabra

6. The Necromancer

7. Plague of the Mammoths

8. Play It Cool

9. Moment of Truth

10. Nowhere to Hide

11. Welcome to Fat City



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