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  AIRBOURNE RAISE THE FLAG AND STAND UP FOR ROCK'N'ROLL AT THE ROUNDHOUSE
Airbourne/Phil Campbell And The Bastard Sons/The Wild: Roundhouse, London


dave bonney
Words: Dave Bonney, Pictures: Robert Sutton
26th November 2017

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The Wild are a hotly tipped Canadian outfit who are signed to SPV/Steamhammer and whose new album, 'Wild At Heart', has had heavy rotation on the death deck at Bonney Towers over the last few weeks.

Tonight was their very first London show and after a rousing performance that captivated an unusually full for this time of day Roundhouse, these good time party boys with comic book monikers such as Dylan Villain, The Kid, Boozus and Reece Lightning, were overwhelmed and delighted to be informed that they now shared the honour of making their capital debut at The Roundhouse with none other than Motörhead.

Wild times are indeed ahead as here are a band who have it all, in large amounts, and it's guaranteed that a party will break out whenever they are around.

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Phil Campbell And The Bastard Sons popped up as a late addition on the tiny Jägermeister stage at Bloodstock way back in 2013 when they were billed as Phil Campbell's All Starr Band, but they have since, to Mrs Campbell's dismay, been rebranded as The Bastard Sons.

The only member who isn't a Campbell is vocalist Neil Starr, who has come a long way since that early gig. He was slightly introverted that day, which is never a good thing for a vocalist/frontman, and was maybe even a bit Starr [sic] struck.

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Fast forward four years and what we have now is a confident, brash, full of himself leader. As Phil and his offspring do their thing, Starr takes the spotlight and drives this 'muscle car' band straight through the barriers. With a debut album, 'The Age Of Absurdity', due out in January, we are treated to a handful of original songs and an iron fistful of covers.

'Big Mouth', from the band's debut EP, kicks off proceedings with Starr spitting the vitriol, "You've got a big mouth, so fuckin' shut it up - now" and "I'd love to fuck you up", this guy has come out of his shell and he's not shy in letting everyone know about it.

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'Rock Out', with its immortal lyric and classic Lemmy poetry, "rock out with your cock out", is the first of three Motörhead covers tonight, the others being 'Born To Raise Hell' and set closer 'Ace Of Spades'. A quick sprint through 'R.A.M.O.N.E.S.' and the rather slower paced 'Silver Machine', and no one is complaining.

'Freakshow' and 'Dark Days' are two songs played tonight that we can expect on the new album, with the set being completed by 'Take Aim' and 'No Turning Back' from the EP. I guess there will always be the Motörhead covers as that's Phil's heritage, but as the band grow to bigger things, which they undoubtedly will, then the set will no doubt fill out with more originals. The crowd loved them, and why wouldn't they?

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It's been three years since my last sighting of Airbourne when they supported Black Stone Cherry, and with not a lot in common with the Kentucky Magic Mountain men except a record label, while it wasn't exactly a mis-match made in Hell, it did seem that the Aussie sluggers' high energy, strictly no ballads raucous rock'n'roll was probably a bit too much to take for the Southern tinged rockers faithful.

Tonight however, it's a different story, with every man and Sheila in the building here to see this rock'n'roll roadshow that has gathered pace at an extraordinary rate since that night in Birmingham.

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As the 'Terminator 2' theme intro fades, the band rush out on stage, with Joel O'Keefe, Justin Street and new boy Harri Harrison headbanging as if their life depends on it to opener 'Ready To Rock' and within the first minute it's already game over as O'Keefe has the crowd eating out of his hands.

Looking like the bastard son of Angus Young, he's like a whirlwind as he sprints from stage left to stage right and back to his altar at centre stage. This rock'n'roll preacher was preaching to the converted, something he knew only too well, leading the band straight into 'I'm Going To Hell For This', and he probably will be. "'Cos I'm in it for the fun" - so are we Joel, so are we.

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'Too Much, Too Young, Too Fast' keeps much the same tempo, as does 'Down On You', which blew me away and went down really well!

After naming virtually every country they'd been to on this eighteen month trek around the globe promoting their latest album, 'Breakin' Outta Hell', O'Keefe reminded us, as if we had forgotten, that we were in London tonight, before launching into 'Rivalry' from said album.

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The introduction to the next song pretty much sums this band up, with O'Keefe telling the crowd:

"Tonight is a night of no bullshit rock'n'roll, no fuckin' ballads here, no fuckin' acoustic guitars here. We're gonna play some old shit for ya, let's go back to where it all began," which was 'Girls In Black' from the debut album 'Runnin' Wild' and was dedicated to all the... girls in black.

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'Bottom Of The Well' was for all the people who had been through a hard time, which would have been most of the audience trying to gain entry through security into the building.

'Breakin' Outta Hell' led into the band's tribute to Mr Kilmister, and 'It's All For Rock 'N' Roll' saw O'Keefe pouring his bandmates a 'Lemmy' (which for those of you who have been on Planet Zog for the last two years, is a Jack Daniels & Coke) before handing the rest of the bottle to the front row and toasting the great man himself. 'Stand Up For Rock 'N' Roll' ended the main set, with more Carlsberg being thrown in the air than being guzzled.

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An air raid siren wound up by drummer Ryan O'Keefe at the front of the stage signalled the return of the band and they ripped straight into 'Live It Up'. During the mid-section lull, O'Keefe challenges the crowd to see if they can break the record for getting people on shoulders. He didn't say what the record was but a fair few tried.

He didn't say whether they broke the record either, choosing instead to start throwing pints of Carlsberg into the air, after asking if anyone was thirsty. After he finished throwing them out, they must have still been thirsty, as I doubt there was much lager left in any that were caught. Waste of good beer if you ask me; they must have had a decent rider.

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'Raise The Flag' saw all two thousand fans answering the call to do just that for rock'n'roll.

The evening ended with the foot stomping 'Runnin' Wild' and O'Keefe riding the shoulders of a roadie through the crowd. Sure it's been done many times before, most famously by Angus, years ago when it was still possible for him to get through the crowd alive, and less famously by Justin Hawkins, though I don't remember either of them battering a can of Carlsberg repeatedly on their head until they bled and until the can burst, squirting yet more lager over the by now sodden audience, bringing a new meaning to the term headbanging.

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There's nothing too complicated about an Airbourne gig; it's all about having a good time, the rock'n'roll, the women and the beer. If Carlsberg did rock'n'roll gigs, they would probably do them like this.

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