A lengthy queue outside one of Northern Ireland’s busiest venues is always a good sign, Aussie rockers Airbourne are back in town with Irish trio Wolff (2 F’s) in tow to rock The Limelight Belfast to its core.
An early start and 7 pm doors means Wolff is ready to go by around 7:15 or so. We’ve had the pleasure of Wolff’s company before catching them supporting both The Cadillac Three in Belfast and RavenEye in Dublin, every time Wolff (singular and plural) bring their A-game. There’s a gritty, raw and ethereal quality to their musical style that is 100% organic, even more so live. You can feel the blood, sweat and tears that have gone into the creative process that just flows from the stage. For a trio they make a lot of noise, gnarly and visceral it’s a rough bluesy sound with thrashing guitar and monstrous drums and bass that consumes the room. It’s understandable why this artist is attracting attention with his recordings as many a US show has since nabbed a track or two for their soundtracks. If you’re new to Wolff, you can say you were there, if you’re an ongoing purveyor of the finer things in life like me, you can say you got in early as all the cool kids do.
8:35 and the lights drop to the soundtrack of The Terminator, then like lightning bolts from the sky these crazy Aussie motherfuckers hit the stage like a whirlwind and didn’t let up across the night. Grinning like Cheshire cats they ravaged their way across a hefty set packed with groove-laden riffs that had the room bouncing from the off. On the fourth track, it was time for a little showboating and onto the shoulders of a reliable roadie and into the crowd to rapturous-applause from the crowd. Frontman Joel O’Keeffe takes a beer to bash it off his head until it explodes for full effect – the crowd loving every minute of it.
The set itself is a blistering cacophony of pacey riffs that leave you breathless, fused with gritty vocals and a seriously solid backline Airbourne is one tight outfit. A wall of Marshall 4×12’s is a beautiful sight and often a thing of the past but these crazy kids are old school and do it right, as the room reverberates with each and every strike of the six-string you can feel the energy bouncing back off the crowd as the air moves with each power chord.
‘It’s All For Rock ‘N’ Roll’ tribute to the late great Lemmy, a mobile bar is rolled into the stage in honour of the great man with a bottle of JD and cokes being made up by O’Keefe and duly handed out to each band member and then the fans…. a fitting salute to the one the only Lemmy. But the party doesn’t stop there, thrashing their way through a few more numbers before they catch their breath and hit the stage once again for a trio of encores. Amazing nights music, full-on in your face Rock ‘N’ Roll at its finest at the home of Rock ‘N’ Roll in Belfast. Marshall stacks, Gibson guitars, JD & Coke, this evening had it all and more. A band that is approaching two decades in the making, have grafted, done the miles and earned the right to throw down such a balls out performance. If you haven’t yet had the pleasure stick them on your bucket list cos you’re in for a treat. Everyone needs a little Airbourne in their lives.
The lads hit Dublin tomorrow and then off into Europe so plenty of time to catch them again before they hit home shores.