Tag Archives: Airbourne

Joel O’Keeffe & Airbourne Fans

Take two bottles into the shower?  Nah mate, just take the fans!


I took this photo at the Concorde, Brighton, UK, 2014 and can’t help thinking he looks like he’s just getting out of the shower!

Long Live The Fans!

Anna x


Shall I compare thee to…?


Music fans, readers of poetry, viewers of art – do you compare?

Making comparisons in every day life seems natural.  People compare themselves to others all the time: judging their own performance at work or socially; judging their own views against someone else’s; judging their own appearance in comparison with someone else’s; judging their child’s progress at school against that of the neighbour,  the list of comparable situations is endless.

Read about new or up and coming bands and you’ll find they are always compared to other artists in their genre.  Is this fair?

Copy and articles in the media compare bands and music artists to each other.  Captions in magazines introduce groups with the words “For fans of…”, or “Sounds like…”, and liken them to other artists.  This gives the listener an idea, but the suggestion will always be embodied in the listener’s mind.  Why should a band’s sound be twinned to someone else’s in order to be recognised?

There can be no denial that similarities can be identified.  Take Australian rock band Airbourne, notoriously likened to AC/DC .  Lots of the components are there including two brothers, copycat riffs and a lead singer who appears to model himself on a mix of Angus Young’s lead guitarist antics and Bon Scott’s loveable cheek, wit and raspy vocals.  But take away those saleable characteristics, put on to entertain the crowd, and it’s the music that is different.  They do have their own exciting sound, despite it being peppered with something familiar.  Examples of other bands in multiple genres could be dragged up for pages and pages to come, but every one of them is different on some level, it’s just discovering how the sound affects the ear on a personal  level and subsequently how it moves the listener.  Surely that’s what it takes to be a true fan?   I like Airbourne.  I like AC/DC.  I don’t like Airbourne because they have been likened to AC/DC.

Can poets be compared to each other?  Look at the current poetry and spoken word scene, huge and ever growing in popularity.  Many London poets have been witnessed ranting along in monotone modern London  dialect, a little bit street, a little bit middle class, sharing messages about political concern, personal opinion, dilemmas, glitches in our social systems and either make light of them or or target the audience with soapbox fury.  The familiar strain seems to be, who can shout the loudest?  Then again, all their words are valid and their work is listened to and applauded, because they cannot be compared.  Each one has something different to offer and listening hard, or reading close, will open minds and stimulate.  The beauty in each one can be identified as something unique.

Can authors be compared to each other?  Can painters or designers be compared?  Probably, but please try to ignore the comparisons dictated by someone else, it’s lazy.  In writing about bands for the last three or four years, I have been guilty of making a comparison or two myself.  I will do my best not to in future.

There will always be something in a style that stands apart in each group or individual.  That style will catch the eye if we want it to, regardless of any similarities marked alongside anyone else.

Long Live The Fans!

Anna xx

Too Much, Too Young, Too Fast – Airbourne

The night I saw this band play The Borderline in London a few years ago, I knew I would be hooked on them forever.  I think it was because of their energy and charm (and straightforward Aussie sex appeal?) that I wrote my book.  I sincerely hope they stay on the road until the end of time.

Thank you guys for all the inspiration. x

SixtyTwoIntro – Featuring: Four Wheel Drive

(copyright:Four Wheel Drive)

If you were to suggest inviting these boys over for Sunday lunch at granny’s house, l would insist that the Sherry cupboard was bolted from the inside and padlocked on the outside.  The UK’s ball-busting, beer drenched answer to Airbourne, they play runaway rock n’ roll riffs, that send hurricanes steaming through your facial hairs.  For those about to party.  Trifle anyone?

SixtyTwoIntro gives a taste of new bands in no more than 62 words!  Hope you enjoyed this one.

Metal Hammer Golden Gods 2013


The 02Indigo, London, 17th June 2013

For the sake of a little perspective, let’s start at the end.  The podium was removed from the stage where famous footsteps had trodden moments before.  Ready to announce the winners of the final award; the ultimate Golden Gods of 2013, guest presenter, Duff McKagan (bassist Guns n Roses, Velvet Revolver), walked into the spotlight, speech in hand.  He looked for the podium; for a fitting place from which to deliver his presentation.  For an awkward moment, he realised that he must stand, exposed, not just head and torso, but head to toe.  He then began his short speech.  An almost poetic and disdainful ditty about gods and religion, it ended by confirming why all the artists and fans were gathered under one roof for the evening – metal is a religion with its own gods.

From the moment fans gained access to the building, this event became a family affair.  The community is bound by the same love for the music it creates and lives by.  There are no barriers between the artists and the fans and no one feels exposed; not even McKagan by the end of it!  Indeed, both fans and artists mingled freely in the auditorium.  I certainly noticed a few musicians by the bar; from the likes of the young band “Hornet”, to “Asking Alexandria” and Justin Street from “Airbourne”.  Everyone was here to celebrate and acknowledge the work of this year’s nominees, from up and coming bands to some truly legendary icons, voted for by the fans, who, in return, were entered into a ballot to win hundreds of free tickets to the prestigious event.

Hot on the heels of Download Festival, it takes a certain amount of stamina to proceed directly to the Metal Hammer Golden Gods, held inside the O2 Indigo, London.  It is essentially, however, a good excuse to keep the party going!  Kick started by Metal Hammer Podcaster and Stand Up comedian, Stephen Hill, the awards ceremony erupted into life with short performances from three quintets before the evening’s bombastic awards host, songwriter and guitarist Devin Townsend, took hold of the reigns.

First up and fresh from Download were LA nu metallers, “Coal Chamber”.  Back on the scene, the industrial/goth styled band owned the stage from “Loco” to “Sway”.  Bassist, Chela Harper, was particularly mesmerizing in a swirl of waist length black waves.

Continuing their 25th Anniversary celebrations by inviting their own special guests to join them on stage, the next quintet to perform was “Paradise Lost”.  Cristina Scabbia, (Lacuna Coil) sang with vocalist, Nick Holmes for “Say Just Words” and guitarist Gus G (Ozzy Osborne, Firewind) joined them in saluting Black Sabbath with a cover of “Into the Void”.  Hailed as an “institution”, Paradise Lost received the evening’s Inspiration award.

Notoriously ready for riotous performances, Five Finger Death Punch exploded into their set next amid flying pint glasses, swaying dreadlocks and plaited beards.  Following “Burn It Down” they dedicated their last song “Lift Me Up” to Rob Halford (Judas Priest) who also features on the same new single.

Then the quintets became a quartet.  Airbourne, back in the saddle again promoting their recently released third album “Black Dog Barking”, stormed the stage with high energy rock and roll.  Indeed, they are the party entertainers and the light relief.  The lyrics for their new single “Live It Up” and finally, “Runnin’ Wild” were clearly defined on the hundreds of lips before them.

The all-important awards were announced at intervals throughout the evening by the demanding and excitable Devin Townsend, who was joined onstage by various special guest presenters including Alexander Milas (Editor, Metal Hammer), Jason Newsted (ex-Metallica) Jill Janus (Huntress).  A few surprises among the winners included veteran stage and screen actor, Brian Blessed, who received the Spirit of Hammer award and looked dazzled by the crowd who chanted his name.  In his booming, Shakespearan tones, he admitted to feeling “reborn” by the experience and beaming broadly, proclaimed “Don’t let the bastards grind you down!”, with a twinkle in his eyes.

Biff Byford (Saxon) accepted the award for Best Event for his role in the Heavy Metal Census campaign to get metal recognised as a religion in itself.

With their new album, “13” at number one in the rock album chart, Black Sabbath received the awards for Best Album and Best UK Band which were presented to guitarist and founding band member, Tony Iommi.

From quintets to quartets and now to trios we can finally get back to the start.  Presenting the award for The Golden Gods of 2013 themselves, Duff McKagan, welcomed the members of Motörhead to the stage with exuberant embraces before leaving them in command of their fans.  Delivering a short, but majestic set that included “I Know How to Die” and “Ace of Spades”, Motörhead confirmed their immeasurable power to stun and inspire their audiences and to continue to be one of the most respected metal bands in the industry’s history.

Thanks to Metal Hammer, The Golden Gods will keep the metal experience alive for generations to come and even if the experience is not deemed wholly “religious” it is certainly one in which to keep faith.

The Awards:

Best New Band                       Bleed From Within

Best Underground Band         The Algorithm

Dimebag Darrell “Shredder”   Eric Calderone

Breakthrough Artist                 Asking Alexandria

Best Event                              Heavy Metal Census

Best International Band           Stone Sour

Best Live Band                        Gojira

Best UK Band                         Black Sabbath

Best Album                             Black Sabbath

Metal As Fu*k                         Burgerkill

Riff Lord                                  Scott Gorham

Spirit of Hammer                    Brian Blessed

Inspiration                                Paradise Lost

Legend                                    Doro

Icons                                       Alice In Chains

The Golden God                     Motörhead

I wrote this review for Stereoboard.  It can also be found here: http://www.stereoboard.com/content/view/179623/9

Top 3 albums of 2013 so far…

There is nothing like good music for a bit of inspiration and food for the soul.  Like so many writers I get stuck in a rut now and again, pace the kitchen floor, take a walk in the fresh air, pace the kitchen floor again and get to the end of the day with nothing to show for it.  However, music can jolt a concept; a fragmented memory may emerge and together, these present ingredients in a plot or inspire words that can’t be found any other way.  It is food for thought.

Now, we all need our “5 a day” in one way or another but here are my staple top 3 (albums) that I have been inspired by during 2013 so far.  Enjoy.  Indulge.  A little of what you fancy doesn’t hurt!

1. The Virginmarys “King of Conflict”

It is not very often that listening to a new album makes you want to cry, dance and brawl at the same time, but The Virginmarys’ “King of Conflict” does just that.  It is like getting caught in a ruckus that leaves you with a bloody nose, a smile on your face and a rush to the head.

The Macclesfield trio, Ally Dickaty (vocals and guitar), Danny Dolan (drums) and Matt Rose (bass and vocals) have often been compared to Led Zeppelin with a sound that resonates around the late 60s and early 70s.  Mix that up with The Stooges, the Foo Fighters and a smattering of Motorhead meets The Arctic Monkeys and you have one riotous reincarnation of grunge with a bluesy edge.  Lyrically explosive, themes of destructive behaviour, helpless submission and hopeless loves lost, are tightly wound into a helter skelter of toe tapping drums, the grind of raw riffs and gruff northern vocals that sound like Lemmy after gargling mouthwash.

The song that continues to give me goosebumps from this album is “Just A Ride”


I reviewed the complete album for Stereoboard back in February.  The link to the full review is here: http://www.stereoboard.com/content/view/177179/9

2. Tracer “El Pistolero”

Think tequila mouthwash; think dusty boots; think tobacco chewing and think crow’s feet cutting sun squint lines through weathered skin.  This is El Pistolero, the gunslinger, the baddie, the goody, the lover, the fighter, the survivor, the purveyor of death and decay; the vengeance seeker.

El Pistolero is a loosely based concept album following the life of a spaghetti western style gunman.  Far from the Tex Mex cheese and beans you are probably imagining, it is actually an atmospheric serving of grungy groove laden riffs, power drumming and outstanding vocal arrangements alongside thought provoking lyrics.

Tracer are raw.  They are about meaty hooks, ear teasing melodic highs and hair raising attitude.  Yes, there are low lights on here but they are outweighed by the many highlights and this album has got to be one hot soundtrack to any rockers summer.

I wrote these thoughts and more for AltSounds.  Checkout the full review here: http://hangout.altsounds.com/reviews/158961-review-tracer-el-pistolero-album.html

3. Airbourne “Black Dog Barking”


Mixed with engine oil and grit, Airbourne are supposedly the next best thing to AC/DC.  You can shake your disapproving head at their blatant cheek, but despite frequent similarities, they are not really copycats as such.  Airbourne do one thing very well and that is to have you pumping your fist and smiling all the way to the bar.

Although their third album is nothing out of the ordinary, it is, what I expected at least.  It is shiny and raw, with a lightening tempos and a belting climax. Yes, I cannot deny, that if you listen to “Black Dog Barking” until the end, you will feel like you have been standing on top of a mountain facing 100mph winds whilst the roar of a low flying jumbo jet blows your lid off.

I reviewed this album for AltSounds back in May.  The full review is here: http://hangout.altsounds.com/reviews/158962-review-airbourne-black-dog-barking-album.html

Got post-gig munchies? A flash flood of fondue is just the ticket!

For some bands it’s not all just about the music; it is also a matter of taste.

Hot chilli sauce has been a favourite feature of merchandise stalls, from The Sword’s “Tears of Fire Hot Sauce” and Heaven’s Basement’s own “Fire Fire” sauce, to Offspring’s Dexter Holland who created his very own “Gringo Bandito” sauce for supermarket shelves.

Then we have beer. Iron Maiden’s “Trooper Beer” was launched this week.  Then there’s top beer connoisseurs/marketers/creators, Signature Brew, who have been responsible for launching brands for a number of artists like Professor Green with “Remedy” beer and, the choice in question today, Enter Shikari’s “Sssnakepit Beer”.

Sssnakepit Beer

Sssnakepit Beer

Yes, I succumbed to gimmickry, like any other fan, in order to get the chance to get more than just a “taste” of the band I admire, and bought a few bottles of the stuff.  It tastes good.  Thankfully it lacks the sweat and blood of a hard working bunch of lads but, like them, however, it is pleasant and lively, having the refreshing zing of citrus and bitter hops.

So, here comes the plan.  I am a Keith Floydian sucker for splashing in a bit of this and that into my cooking and Sssnakepit Beer was just the ingredient I had been waiting for.  No!!  I hear you shout!  Don’t waste it!

As I said, it is citrusey.  There is definite pineapple in there and if cheese and pineapple is a retro marriage made into spikey hedgehogs, then cheese and Sssnakepit Beer was going to be an elopement; a love affair; a divine relationship, made into ……………… fondue.

It’s easy – sooo easy!  It’s basically a posh sauce swept up by chunks of bread and, if you can be bothered, roughly chopped salad stuff like cucumber, tomatoes, peppers, even raw cauliflower and mushrooms (button is best; sadly Shiitake are probably too exotic for this.  Enter Shiitake?  Yeah?  Anyway..)  You don’t need a fondue pot with all those fancy skewers and flame burners.  This can be made and eaten straight from a saucepan.

So, if you are compos mentis and capable, (ha ha) this would be a satisfying post gig munchie before bed!  Just be careful not to burn the bottom of the pan and stir all the time (and be prepared for some weird and cheesy dreams until the next morning!)

Here goes:

Sssnakepit Beer Fondue serves 2 people (Double the ingredients for 4 people)

What you need:

One medium saucepan.  Wooden spoon.  Measuring jug.

Selection of salad stuff or thick bread or both

250g (half pound) grated cheddar cheese

¼ pint Sssnakepit Beer (yes – there’s still some left to drink!)

Large knob of butter

Heaped teaspoon of corn flour

Pinch of pepper

What to do with it all:

First, if you are feeling healthy chop a load of crunchy fresh stuff from the salad drawer, thus:


or if it’s stodge you’re craving, roughly cube up some chunky bread.

Next make the fondue:

Grate and weigh the cheese

1. Grate and weigh the cheese

Then take one bottle of Sssnakepit Beer.  Open it, carefully.  Pour ¼ pint into a measuring jug.

2. Then take one bottle of Sssnakepit Beer. Open it, carefully. Pour ¼ pint into a measuring jug.

Melt butter in the saucepan over a medium heat and add the grated cheese and the Sssnakepit Beer, reserving a small amount of it in the jug.

3. Melt butter in the saucepan over a medium heat and add the grated cheese and the Sssnakepit Beer, reserving a small amount of it in the jug.

4. Next, put one heaped teaspoon of corn flour into the jug with the beer and a pinch of black pepper and stir until creamy.

4. Next, put one heaped teaspoon of corn flour into the jug with the beer and a pinch of black pepper and stir until creamy.

5. Turn up the heat under the saucepan and stir the cheese, beer and butter mix until the cheese has melted.

5. Turn up the heat under the saucepan and stir the cheese, beer and butter mix until the cheese has melted.

6. Add the corn flour mix from the jug to the saucepan and continue to stir until the sauce thickens, turning down the heat if it begins to bubble too vigorously.

6. Add the corn flour mix from the jug to the saucepan and continue to stir until the sauce thickens, turning down the heat if it begins to bubble too vigorously.

That’s it!  Then skewer some bread or a salady item (with a fork is fine if you don’t have skewers) and scoop up your sauce with it and eat.  Perfect!

7. That’s it! Then skewer some bread or a salady item (with a fork is fine if you don’t have skewers) and scoop up your sauce with it and eat. Perfect!

Maybe rock and roll cookware suppliers Megachef could produce A Flash Flood of Fondue or Enter Shiitake apron? C’mon!  You know you want to!!

Whatever next?   Airbourne “Black Dog Barking” dog biscuits”?  I’ll telephone Pedigree Chum in the morning.

©Anna Ghislena

What is your “holy grail” of all British rock venues? Remembering The Astoria.

This month, Cambridge rockers, The Treatment ,  joined Status Quo on their reunion tour.  On Friday this week, 15th March 2013, they tweeted “Tonight we rock the Hammersmith Apollo.  Possibly the holy grail of all British rock venues.”

The Treatment

The Treatment

Ah! Hammersmith Apollo; still affectionately known as the Hammy O (due to previously being the Hammersmith Odeon).   This excited statement on Twitter not only made me think of all the amazing bands that I had seen  there myself, (and also made me wish I had got my butt into gear and got myself a ticket), but also brought to mind another of my favourite venues that is sadly no longer with us and sorely missed.   The Astoria on Charing Cross Road in London; a victim of Transport for London’s Crossrail project, nothing could be done to save its life.  This January 2013, saw the fourth anniversary of its closure when, on the 14th January 2009, The Demolition Ball was to be the last concert it staged.


Yes, it was a dive; yes you had to keep moving or risk your feet becoming attached to the floor; yes the bar was expensive; yes the security were heavy handed and bloody minded (crowd surfing was NOT tolerated!); yes, narrow staircases and 2000 fans were a bit of a squeeze and an alarming fire drill prospect!  But, what history and what a vibe!  Intimate enough to be up close to the band yet still command the pulling power to entice major acts like The Rolling Stones, Madonna, Deep Purple, Dio, Radiohead, McFly, The Libertines and The Darkness, the venue had become iconic in its own right since it’s days as the Crosse & Blackwell pickle factory warehouse.  Converted into a cinema in 1927, it then became a musical theatre in 1976 before the music and club scene made it an established part of the live music circuit from the 1980’s.

In mourning it’s passing I have often found myself recalling the hazy memories of all the great gigs that I experienced there on my journey from young teenager to irresponsible adult.   I think I learned how to “mosh” there and punched a bloke’s lights out without realising what I had done (I am only a seven and a half stone slip of a girl!)  I have drunk so much beer and danced so manically that I have dehydrated myself to a crisp in my endeavours to party hard at The Astoria.  We have formed pits and human pyriamids at The Astoria.  We have done things in the loos of The Astoria that maybe we really shouldn’t have!

All grown up, my last gig at The Astoria was on November 29th 2008, just two months before the ceiling was to literally come crashing down.  Aussie rockers Airbourne were playing with Stone Gods.  It was a highly charged, sweaty party night that closed with a rendition of AC/DC’s “Whole Lotta Rosie” when Airbourne were joined onstage by Dan Hawkins (Stone Gods/The Darkness).  That kind of summed up the fact that I didn’t want it to end.  It was probably one of the best gigs I had been to for a long time and I remembered feeling slightly strange when I left that night, knowing that I would never step inside that building again.

This link to the Airbourne UK Fansite displays some of the photos from that night with Dan Hawkins too.


So four years on from the demise of a truly iconic landmark, let me raise a glass to The Astoria, cider, or Carling, or whatever, and say Thankyou for the memories and the glory days! astoria-london goodbye

If you can bear to watch it here is the link to the time lapse vid of The Astoria’s demolition filmed by TfL’s webcams.

What was your last gig at The Astoria?  Let me know.

I can also remember some other venues that might fall into the “holy grail” mix.  There’s The Marquee and Klub Foot at The Clarendon Hotel Ballroom for a start.  But, for me, nothing beat The Astoria.

Maybe you’d like to let me know what your iconic British rock venue is and we can go down memory lane all over again?