The Corona was host to a triple bill of rock as Australian rockers Airbourne were in town to promote their latest album Black Dog Barking, with support from Canadian bands The Glorious Sons and One Bad Son.
The band came on stage to the theme to the movie Terminator 2 and tore right into Ready to Rock. And ready to rock, they were. Guitarist/singer Joel O’Keefe, already shirtless, was right away the centre of attention. He prowls the stage with manic energy, and never ever stops; he must be a close relative of the Energizer Bunny. When he’s not singing, he’s running all over the stage, rarely stopping in one place for more than a second or two. If he’s not running, he’s playing a frantic guitar solo (he even got on a roadie’s shoulders to go play a solo on the bar!).
The band was tight and packed the power of a crate of TNT. Much like their fellow Australians AC/DC, the secret to their success is the tight rhythm section that pushes forward the music, while building a concrete foundation for the guitar gymnastics and high pitched vocals. I had seen them at the Bell Centre when they opened for Mötley Crüe in 2010, and I liked them back then, but a small venue like the Corona is so much more appropriate for this band. The more intimate setting allows for more connection with the crowd, and the band seems more focused.
They played all their best songs, with anthems like Too Much, Too Young, Too Fast, No Way But the Hard Way, Cheap Wine & Cheaper Women, Stand Up for Rock ‘N’ Roll and Runnin’ Wild simultaneously acting as sermons for the good faith in rock and therapy sessions to forget all the problems of our daily lives. If there’s one thing you need to get out of this review, it’s that Airbourne is a lot of fun in concert, and they deliver one hell of a show. It’s just dumb rock, and there ain’t nothing wrong with that.
If I had to find one fault, it would be in their 65 minute-stretched-to-75-minute-by-extending-the-closer-Runnin’-Wild set. But the band is so intense, and the set is totally devoid of dead time that they probably deliver as much rock as other bands do in 90 minutes. The band’s music and stage presentation owes a lot to AC/DC. Like a lot. But you know what? Who cares. Their show is so much fun, and they pour so much energy into it that you don’t care. You just do what they say, and stand up for rock ‘n roll.
Opening the night was Saskatoon’s One Bad Son. The band played several tracks off their latest album Black Buffalo. It was their first visit to Montreal, and the crowd didn’t seem too familiar with their material, but they warmed up to the band as the short set went on. Some of the highlights were the opener Vinyl Spin Burner, their single Satellite Hotel and their cover of the Talking Head‘s Psycho Killer that ended their set on a high note. A band to watch for. And kudos to bassist Adam Grant for wearing an Expos shirt! He’d mentioned to me during our interview that he was a big baseball fan, and wished for the Expos’ return. I guess he walks the walk!
The Glorious Sons had the middle slot, riding high on the release of their first album The Union. Singer Brett Emmons is clearly the focus point, with a frantic performance that resembles a hyper active Ozzy Osbourne (if that’s even possible). The band’s set ran through the wide range of influences present on the record (I do wish they’d played Hard Times, which is one of the finest pieces of melodic rock in recent years), with the title track being particularily well rendered. Their single Heavy served as an appropriate opener, and White Noise, often heard on Montreal’s CHOM FM, got the best reaction from the crowd. Emmons even picked up on a topic we discussed during our interview and led the crowd into a Gene Simmons sucks chant, and the band proved that rock isn’t dead at all. All three bands are proudly carrying the torch.
Ready to Rock
Too Much, Too Young, Too Fast
Chewin’ the Fat
Diamond in the Rough
No Way But the Hard Way
Girls In Black
Cheap Wine & Cheaper Women
Black Dog Barking
Stand Up for Rock ‘N’ Roll
Live It Up
He's also a regular contributor at the very rad site Montreal Rampage