Airbourne, Orange Goblin & The Treatment – Live at Portsmouth Pyramids

Airbourne on stage at Portsmouth Pyramids, November 2013

Airbourne, Orange Goblin, The Treatment at Portsmouth Pyramids, Thursday 28th November 2013

Words by Olde Nick 666 (Twitter: oldenick666)

Photos by Tess Donohoe

The Naval city of Portsmouth has not had much to cheer about lately. Armed Forces cutbacks and the recently announced closure of the historic shipbuilding industry have hit hard. What better way to lift spirits than a mini-invasion by rock n’ roll rascals from the other side of the world? The Xmas party season started early when Airbourne landed to kick of their UK tour beside the seaside!

The three-band bill also included two homegrown acts who have been raising eyebrows, pint glasses and horned hands. Cambridge’s The Treatment (8) distil the best ingredients of classic American hard rock (think early Guns N’ Roses, Motley Crue, early Aerosmith) and mix it with British influences like Def Leppard and UFO to create a timewarp-ish and timeless sound. The icing on the cake is the natural charm and confidence of young frontman Matt Jones. He and his colleagues are still college-aged but you would think they had been doing this for years. Catchy songs such as “Nothing To Lose But Our Minds” sounded like they could fill much bigger venues and these lads deserve a crack at the big time. With a new album due in the New Year they are ones to watch.

Somewhat older and more grizzled is London mob Orange Goblin (8). Just back from a US trek and dates in Europe they delivered a barnstorming homecoming. If you close your eyes it really could be Black Sabbath fronted by Lemmy. Massive riffs and thunderous drums along with a bit of psychedelia and occasional death metal-style roars from towering vocalist Ben Ward had bodies and pints flying. He was in his element and the band were devastatingly tight after all the touring. Much ale was quaffed, hair flew and horns were thrown to the monstrous grooves of tracks including “Scorpionica”, “Time Travelling Blues” and appropriately with the latest Middle Earth movie about to arrive in cinemas, “Saruman’s Wish”. Evil magic indeed.

After a short break it was time. Australia’s Airbourne (9) have built a fearsome reputation as a live act with shows of their own and at numerous festivals. They have been on the road for almost a year promoting latest album “Black Dog Barking”. The title may or may not refer to depression (Winston Churchill called his depression “black dog”) but there is no sign of being down in the dumps from these guys. The crowd was hit by an extraordinary explosion of energy for almost an hour and a half. Vocalist/guitarist Joel O’ Keeffe was shirtless the whole time and by only the third song was leaping about in the press pit. Then he was carried on the shoulders of a roadie around the hall. The rest of the band stayed on the stage but head-banged almost constantly as they played songs from the new record plus favourites “Too Much, Too Young, Too Fast” and “No Way But The Hard Way”. There were no wanky solos or soppy ballads. Just a blistering bombardment of pure rock n’ roll. By the end, early song and a classic for fans “Runnin’ Wild”, O’ Keeffe had beaten cans against his head until they popped while stood on the amp stacks and done another runaround in the audience. Pretty much everybody was dripping with sweat and beer.

Not too far away there is a memorial to Captain Cook, the voyager credited with discovering Australia. Three centuries later the British landmass is being invaded by a crazed bunch of Aussies more familiar with Captain Morgan. If you get the chance go to an Airbourne show, get the beers in and go totally apeshit. Party on, dude!

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