Dirt, grit and grime… All Aussie rockers Airbourne’s tour for ‘NO GUTS, NO GLORY’ had Melbourne in a state. Upon entering the Palace Theatre punters were greeted by a stage covered with a thick misty fog and rays of red and blue lights indicating that trouble was about to commence on stage. Muscular gatherings of devoted fans sported mullets, beer bellies, tattoos and tattered attire a revealing that the devotees of Australia’s 80s pub rock scene hadn’t gone away.
With one hand used for fist pumping, whilst the other occupied with a pot of beer the band Rock City Riff Raff urged the audience to get rowdy. The performance stimulated the crowd especially a cluster of women calling out “Take your shirt off”, getting rather bothered and hot. Strong elements of blues based classic rock and12-bar blues delighted the crowd with its familiarity and heaved many bodies direct to the stage’s barriers. The vocalist Ryan Kemp sang in a proclamatory style reaching out to the crowd as if casting a devious spell. Bassist Brad Frost brought the energy, parading himself forth on stage thrusting and violently head banging. The band’s strapping presence towered the crowd, particularly during song ‘Out On The Tiles.
Males dominating the night and tough women who seemly could pack a punch continued to flood in to the warmth of the venue from the cold night. The trio The Casanovas in next to no time set foot on theatre’s stage and provided a more thumping sound; penetrating the ears and a boom which hit heavy on the chest.
Although only a three piece, the band’s dynamics sky rocketed with high volts of electric power. The band built-up the adrenalin playing ‘Shake It’ and ‘Keep It Hot’ and stirred the audience to get heads banging and women’s hips shaking up a storm, but it was new single ‘The Most Hated Man In Melbourne’ which had fans old and new with their fists pumping. During the performance calls for “Airbourne” increased as the audience anticipation grew. The band acknowledged their calls and screamed back at the audience “Airbourne” which only equated to the audience’s enthusiasm rising.
The venue was now heaving with fans drinking heavily and being merry. After what was a more than expected wait Airbourne was summoned as the crowd wildly chanted “Airbourne”. The mist of fog gathered heavy on stage and Airbourne stood like creatures of an ungodly nature. “How you fucking doing tonight Melbourne” lead vocalist Joel O’Keef’se rasping voice shouted, instigating a night of intoxication and pure rock and roll energy.
Beginning the set with the song ‘Raise The Flags’ hoisted the audience up the flagpole and the thunder of the guitars threw bodies into action, creating a mosh of heavy weight men and this reviewer was no exception, throwing herself in the midst of the battling pit. The band provided an amazing performance, showcasing synchronised head banging and Joel O’Keefe banging his head against a can of VB to share amongst the audience, spraying it in to their delighted faces. The band members grimacing faces and eyes that glared as if they are possessed invited the audience into the raw, real atmosphere of Airbourne. Songs ‘No Way But The Hard Way’ and older tune ‘Running Wild’ offered nothing but a good time.
To further entertain the crowed front man Joel sprinted to every corner of the venue surprising the audience with his sudden close presence, even playing off the balcony carried by the arms of fans. Drinking a fine bottle of Jacobs Creek and toasting the audience, he slid the bottle up the fret of his guitar and as it screeched though the amps. Ultimately the band finish with ‘Born to Kill’, with the sheer volume leaving fans’ ears pinned back and the feeling that they’d just watched a master class in performance.
– Rachel McLaren