Despite being a regular fixture on Belfast’s rock scene - their last appearance was a little under two years ago - the popularity of Airbourne’s brand of boisterous rock has not diminished but rather became an anticipated event.
With the amps turned up to 11, Airbourne stormed the stage to assault the eardrums, with their crowd hyping track ‘Ready to Rock’. Lead singer Joel O’Keeffe’s energetic presence stirred an already crazed crowd into a sing-along frenzy which did not abate through their renditions of ‘Too Much’ and ‘Boneshaker’. While many bands can successfully rile a crowd, Airbourne proved they are one of the best as the crowd jumped and roared to every track as loud as the wall of Marshall amps gracing the stage.
Crowd interaction is taken very seriously by O'Keeffe and the boys, and it wasn't long before Joel joined them, carried by his roadie to play in amongst the fans. Ever the crowd pleaser, he continued to amuse by dousing the crowd in beer from smashing a tin against his head, a signature move before shredding out an impressive solo.
Greeting the crowd, the older O'Keeffe brother said; “We flew in from Norway at 7pm, and we were in Kelly’s Cellars [a regular haunt, and favourite of the band as revealed in a 2017 interview with eonmusic] at 7.25pm for the best Guinness before a Deliveroo KFC dinner” to a cheering crowd.
After mosh inducing performances of ‘Bottom of the Well’ and ‘Breakin’ Outta Hell’, a mobile bar was brought out in preparation for 'All for Rock n Roll', in tribute to the late Lemmy Kilmister. While it was Guinness that fuelled the beginning of the night, it was the Motörhead main man's favourite tipple that was appropriately downed, as Jack Daniels with Coke provided the perfect injection to energise ‘Stand Up for Rock n Roll’.
Encoring to an air siren and spotlight before ‘Live it Up’ and ‘Raise the Flag’, the Aussie rockers ended the night with ‘Runnin’ Wild’, reminding Belfast exactly what good old rock and roll is.
As always with Airbourne, it was a guaranteed night of singing, fist pumping and general insanity. Not only did Joel show how to excite a crowd, he also provided a one-to-one gig in the pit with a man rocking his wheelchair throughout the night much to the crowd’s cheering. With over 30 dates left of this tour, it may be a while before these Aussies are seen in Belfast again but after the headache and ear ringing wears off, their next appearance is definitely one to look forward to.
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Check out our gallery from the show below. All photos by Warren Blair.