Airbourne - O2 Institute Birmingham 21st November 2016
On a stormy and soggy Monday evening, I dragged myself through floods and rain to what I can say was one of the most enjoyable Monday nights I've ever had. I was not prepared for Airbourne.
To kick the night off however, I was greeted by four young women I had met earlier on in my day. Sadly no, I didn't strike it lucky at the bar, it was instead The Franklys. A four piece all female band from the UK, that when asked earlier what to expect responded, 'Hairy Beast'. At the time I laughed, but seeing them burst into action on stage I got it 100%. With hair flying everywhere and fantastic sound, this band was so full of energy. These girls are releasing another single on the 2nd of December and I implore you to give them a listen. Awesome opener.
To follow up was Crobot. I've caught Crobot a few times, walking past at a festival hearing a bassline, catching a glimpse of the movement on stage. But nothing, and I mean nothing, could prepare me for this. As they enter the stage, Hot Sauce by Thomas Dolby plays and I catch myself singing along to the funky song. As does the guitarist, who shoots me a smile and the set kicks off. The energy is incredible. The mixture of the stage presence of the lead singer, who's shooting dance moves, the guitarist who is flicking his guitar around his body and the bassist who, to be honest, looks like someone gave a dog red bull, is mind blowing. And I haven't even mentioned the music. To paraphrase a text I sent during the set. It's like Metal, Blues and Funk made love and Crobot are the bedsheets after. They were added to my playlist before I got back to my car.
Airbourne have chosen their openings wisely and I'm stood thinking that even they can't top this. I don't know why I even thought about doubting it. From the get go as they open with the amptly named 'Ready To Rock' the 4 piece from the land down under show why they are headlining. With Joel O'Keefe, the lead singer, bouncing around the stage getting the audience to cheer, sing along and most importantly, move. The band are musically tight and the songs just flow in and out of the set.
On song three Joel produces a beer can, and as most people who have seen them live can predict, starts to beat it against his head. The can explodes and sends foamy booze flying across the front of the crowd. But it's not the only time it happens tonight. He climbs the shoulders of a teamster and into the crowd they go. Flinging another beer can above his head, he gets up close and personal with the people of Birmingham and they love it.
The set closes with 'Live It Up' and 'Runnin Wild'. These two songs seem to somehow bring the building even more alive than the rest of the night. These people were treated with the openers, but this is what they came for. Australia have giftfed us many bands and singers, but honestly I don't think anyone can top Airbourne.
They've come a long way to rock the UK and you should catch them while you can.
Words and Pictures - Jack Kirby