Airbourne @ 02 Academy, Glasgow Nov22


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Airbourne @ 02 Academy, Glasgow


Airbourne @ 02 Academy, Glasgow

The ever touring Airbourne are back in Glasgow. You can always expect a spectacle but is tonight one too many shows for me?

Before we get to the headliners we have the awesome Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons. I caught this band for the first time last year and tonight this was the main reason I was here. The band impressed me no end that night. To see the legend that is Phil inches from me in a sweaty venue was awesome…and it had one large advantage over tonight, the sound.

I do not know if it was Airbourne’s mass of amps that even flooded onto the floor of the photo pit but man was the sound muddy. I saw ZZ Top in the same venue earlier this year and it wasn’t as muddy(and that is their sound). It put a bit of a damper on things but I slowly moved around the packed hall till I found a slightly sweeter spot(hint, always go to the sound desk when things get a bit hairy).

The band went straight into “Big Mouth” when the audience cheers finally settled down. If you have not heard the EP sort that shit out right away as it is brilliant. With a PC&TBS show you know you will get Motorhead covers and next up is “Rock Out” which was an excellent inclusion. It may not have had everyone singing along as they did to the later numbers but it done what it said on the tin.

Next up was a little teaser from the hotly anticipated album “The Age of Absurdity” in “Freakshow” and I like what I hear. There are some big murmers going around about this album and I for one cannot wait for the release in January.

After “Take Aim” we get to “Born To Raise Hell” which really got the crowd onboard. The old hellraiser himself may not be with us anymore but with bands like this keeping the memory alive he will never die.

The band themselves are just on fire and that was what got me that very first night I saw them, yes, we have the main man as cool as a Welshman can be but his boys and the adopted Neil Starr are the new breed, the new generation of hellraiser and they do Lemmy proud on that stage. Neil is a bundle of energy with a voice that packs one hell of a punch.

For me the show flew by and although we had covers galore it was new song “ Dark Days” that made my night. A heavy assed, yet deeply blues tinged song came at you with a vengeance. I loved the whisky drenched slow, yet heavy sound…this album is shaping up big time.

We roll into set closers “Silver Machine” and “Ace of Spades” and as much as this crowd go crazy, the mobiles come out and everyone is singing I am left yearning for more of their own material. I realise they are support and they want to play a set full of pleasers but this band is so much better than a covers band, they have so much to offer and as the years roll by I hope the covers become less and less and we see the true worth of this band as my bet is they will kick ass.

Now to the headliners and to cover off my opening remarks. I am fully expecting a backlash on this one but please note this is my opinion and I can only call it like I feel it.

Tonight is the fourth time I have seen Airbourne this year so I may just be burned out or overdosed. I am also here the night after watching Alice Cooper play the best set I have seen in 35 years so I would always have to be seriously impressed this night. Another factor in my reaction to Airbourne tonight may also be I was stone cold sober(possibly the only one in the venue apart from staff).

My first taste of Airbourne was back in 2012 at Sonisphere and I will never forget Joel O’Keefe climb the lighting rig pissed as a fart. Now that was some introduction to a band and that made me pay attention. Since then I have seen them many times, be it headliners or at festivals, I even travelled over to Belfast this year to catch them but tonight I am just a bit bored. That band that grabbed me are a bit stale. Yes, you can pile up the Amps higher and higher, get the best light shows, burst as many cans on your head as you want but it is nothing new.

After watching Alice Cooper, a man who has been performing for 40 years and still brings something new to the table every time tells a story that this band need to learn. A show is not just about energy, you need so much more. Now I cannot take anything away from the band, we all know they can play, that is a given but there is no progression. I think most fans would agree latest album “Breakin’ outta Hell” is their weakest.

I won’t prolong this or run through the set as it is pretty much the same one I have told already in previous reviews. I hope for me this was just an off night, just too much Airbourne…maybe they are not like a cowbell and you can get too much but the future will tell who was right and who was wrong and to be fair it may be me as they keep playing bigger venues and everyone else here seemed to have a blast.

Images and words Ritchie Birnie


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