Airbourne in conert at the Bluebird Theater in Denver, Colorado, February 29th, 2008
with Endeverafter and Stone Rider
|I saw Airbourne at the Bluebird Theater in Denver. I hadn't heard of them but they were recommended by my friend Dale at HardRockin80s.com (HR80s.com). Dale is a top authority on all things metal; he seems to know of every metal band that has ever forged a tune. I'm not kidding, every single one.|
I got there early, expecting the stage hands to still be setting up, but to my surprise the first band, Stone Rider, was already playing. I was pleased to see a good crowd, appropriately but not ridiculously attired. And I had thought Rock was Dead. I wore my favorite skull and crossbones t-shirt. It's also my only skull and crossbones t-shirt. I have to clarify that it's not really a skull and crossbones motif; it's a skull and crossed swords. It's bad ass. I got it at Target. It was on sale.
Stone Rider is apparently the Rolling Stones reincarnated before they are quite dead. Not that they really sounded like the Stones, but the singer sure made me think of Mick Jagger. Not that he performed like him. I think it was really just his hair. He had Mick Jagger's hair. Or maybe it was Keith Richards' hair. It might even have been Ron Wood's. Let's just say he had "British Invasion" hair. He was so thin that I think I could probably have snapped his femur in half with my bare hands, but maybe he's tougher than he looks. The guitar player looks like Duane Allman with dreads. Anyway, they sounded good, didn't overstay their welcome, and generally rocked the house. If you like bluesy-roots modern contemporary indie retro rock, these guys are it.
Next came Endeverafter, the best looking of the bands. I especially liked the lead guitar player in his white outfit. He looked angelic. Pretty good player, too. If I was queer I would have invited him home with me. The bass player had a gypsy troubadour look that I also liked. Ummm they sounded good, too. I kept expecting Tawny Kittaen to appear on stage during their set. I was hoping so, anyway.
I knew that Airbourne was serious about Rock And Roll when I saw their Wall Of Marshalls, and they soon seized the stage to reinforce that claim. Their lead singer just might be Bon Scott reincarnated. He sure looks like him. And sounds like him. And the whole band sounds remarkably like AC/DC. And they are from Australia. Hmmmm. They are a good, tight, energetic band and they did rock very hard. The downside is that I can't think of much more to say about them than that they sound (and look) like AC/DC. If you dig AC/DC, you will dig these guys. I did like the dual Gibson Explorer assault that they accosted us with, but the most memorable thing for me about Airbourne was the singer's repeated reassurance that "Yeahhhhh Denvah, We Gonna Rock N Roll!" I surprised myself the next day by how closely I was able to imitate his expression with my own voice. Maybe I should start a band. I could wear my badass skull and crossed swords shirt from Target.
I was impressed by the tightness of the whole production. All 3 bands started on time, none of them played too long, and the downtime between bands was minimal. I like that. Not only that, but they completely switched out the gear between acts, which is unusual for a multi-band bill. More often the bands will share drums and amps. Good roadies, gotta love 'em.
Being a photographer, I was distressed by the poor stage light quality for the first two acts. They had some lights front of house but didn't seem to be using them. All of the stage lighting was behind the band, leaving their faces relatively obscured most of the time. Bad for photos, hence the relative dearth of them here. So I approached the girl sitting behind the light board.
"Do those front lights work?" I asked, pointing at them. "Yes," she said dully.
"Do you ever use them?" I inquired politely. "Yes," she droned.
"Are you f*&!;$g retarded?" I demanded. No, not really. I am much too polite to speak to anyone that way, so I just scowled at her instead.
Did you ever read that book Brave New World by Aldous Huxley? I think she was what you would call an "epsilon." Huxley died in 1963, but he seems to have foretold the internet and points beyond in the sense that information is becoming so readily available that it seems to matter less and less. More government corruption? Who cares, just have some more soma (Prozac, Valium, etc.). La La La!
Anyway, a more capable fellow took the lightboard helm for Airbourne's set. That other dolt must have wandered in off the street or something.
The show was great and if you like old school Rock And Roll, these bands serve it up with zest and gusto, and a little garnish on top. I stayed till the end which tells you they must have been pretty good, because I won't hesitate to bail on a band(s) that suck(s).
Pros: Tight production, good players, high energy, enthusiastic crowd, old school hard rock, lots of rock posturing, photogenic groups.
Cons: Lots of rock posturing, and I can't recall a single melody or riff from the entire night. Yeahhh Denvah!!
p.s. I like the Bluebird Theater quite a bit. It's a comfortable place with a good vibe, and good sound. And it has a cool marquee. And it used to be a porn theater, although I never would have guessed. It looks much classier than that. The bad news is that if you decide to buy a beer, your wallet will be raped and pillaged. I bought three Newcastles (in plastic cups, yum yum!!) and it set me back $20. Ouch. Twice the cost of the ticket.
For you photographers out there, I took these pix with a Nikon D80 and a Nikon 50 mm 1.8 lens. I also used a Sigma 20 mm 1.8 for the wide angles.