Pick Your Rock and Metal

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Everything in the air as the Spiders and Airbourne tear apart Limelight...in a good way

THERE is nothing new in rock 'n' roll; but there are ways to inject an extra dose of attitude. Airbourne and Black Spiders brought a wagon load of that attitude to Belfast on Monday (October 21st) and a raucous crowd responded with roars of approval.

Black Spiders, like the headliners, are no strangers to these shores. However, they seem to have grown in stature of late with new album This Strange Land adding yet more full-on texture as their triple guitar attack more and more utlisises the differences achievable; while the rhythm section was nailed down tight.

Drummer 'Tiger' Atkinson played like Mr Motivator on speed, haranguing both his kit and the crowd.

The 'in-your-face' thrust of Black Spiders - best witnessed in the "f**k Black Spiders" chanting and Stick it to the Man - can sometimes to be too much, but Belfast embraced this, brought Black Spiders into the bosom of hard rock excess.

Drink is a feature of many a hard rock and heavy metal performance. The rights and wrongs of prominent pushing of booze from promoters, venues and the band on stage can be debated to the nth degree: but when Airbourne are in town the advertising blurb urging us all to "drink responsibly" is mis-translated into a call to drink as much as possible and the only responsibility is not to spill your drink.

The Pied Piper of excess is Joel O'Keefe, Explorer guitar strung around his slim, small body as he rants through party rock 'n' roll; riffs tumbling from his cohorts and a constant motion across the stage that threatens physicists assertion that there is no such a thing as perpetual motion.

Just a few years back Airbourne were exploding in welter of promotion behind Running Wild; now songs like Too Much, Too Young Too Fast and Diamond in the Rough provoke reactions that mean they are confirmed hard rock classics.

And that reaction was as rowdy as it gets: mosh pits, crowd surfing - it could have been a metal gig for all intents and purposes.

This was truly a crowd standing up for rock 'n' roll.

As usual Joel took a wander off stage and pranced across the top of the bar, his scrawny frame a blur before returning to be the mad Australian master of ceremonies.

Ryan O'Keefe, David Rhoads, and Justin Street scanned the crowd and scampered across the stage a wonderful wunderlust infecting them and all in the packed venue - with tracks from latest release Black Dog Barking as welcome as earlier material.

There are, of course, those who criticise Airbourne and their ilk of re-treading pub rock. They miss the point. Every time Airbourne hit the stage they add layer upon layer on their upwards ascent to domination: energy and frenzy mean that the comparisons are trite and unsustainable. The quartet create their own definitions. And, as Joel noted from the stage the crowd were ready to party and drink even if it was a Monday night.

In terms of a Monday night in the pit, sweaty, a long way down the path to drunk, and roaring along to anthems - Airbourne are the perfect soundtrack to excess - excess with a smile on its face.

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