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If you like your rock’n’roll loud, hairy and drenched in sweat and beer (and let’s face it, who doesn’t?) then Airbourne are probably the band for you.
Four Aussie lads from Warrnambool, led by mad-eyed lead singer and guitarist Joel O’Keeffe with his brother Ryan on drums, Justin Street on bass and a new member since their last Edinburgh gig, Harri “The Riff Doctor” Harrison on rhythm guitar, this appears to be the third time they’ve visited Scotland on the seemingly never-ending Breakin’ Outta Hell Tour and the second at the Liquid Room, both sold out.
Harrison’s predecessor, David Roads, decided to swap hard rock for hard graft and go to work on the family farm in Victoria.
Airbourne’s songs are riff-laden, anthemic and cover all the great themes of lad’s rock – girls, booze, standing up in the face of adversity, some other girls and even more booze.
The raucous singalong crowd loved it and there is no questioning the technical proficiency and showmanship of the band, from the old guitarist-in-the-crowd malarkey to Joel O’Keeffe’s party trick of opening a beer can by smashing it against his skull (numerous times). The overall experience of an Airbourne gig, though, is that it’s just a brilliant night out.
They even threw in a short blast of Scotland The Brave as part of the encore.
Given their style and geographical origins, it is inevitable comparisons will be made with the doyens of Aussie rock’n’roll – AC/DC – but, frankly, who cares? If you’re going to take your inspiration from another band, you might as well make it arguably the greatest-ever exponents of blues/rock.
Airbourne went on from Edinburgh to Download and probably deserve to be bigger than they are but, if they were, you wouldn’t get to see them at great small venues like the Liquid Room.
Words: Graham Lindsay