Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Airbourne/Bleeker Ridge Concert Review!!

It's now time for my review of last night's Airbourne concert at The Canadian Nightclub, so here's what to know from last night! Great turnout, and though I heard attendance was a bit below expectations, it'd be hard to tell with how packed the floor was by the night's end! Crank Sound Distribution was on hand to tackle sound, and while they did a great job, vocals were hard to hear if you were close to the stage, a problem I'm told didn't affect fans further back. The usual layout wasn't too affected by the stage setup, so aside from the crowd, it was easy to maneuver, but how about the bands?

Opening the show straight at 9:00 PM was rising local hard rock quartet The Suicide Kings, who played an abbreviated set of six songs for the gathered fans! I'll admit that I got there slightly late, so I missed their first couple of songs, but they played mostly (if not entirely) originals like "Into The Fray" and "King of the World, with Steven Flint and Mitch Sirie swapping guitar & bass duties for a couple songs (and no, they haven't added a full time bassist yet.) Compared to their set at Bushplane Musical Madness II, the guys seemed more focused and energetic, despite the lack of fans on the floor, though that slowly improved as the night wore on. Maybe the restricted stage movement was an issue, but everyone was on their game musically, with Mike Gaetano's vocals and Ben Boudreau's drumming coming through well, and here's hoping they keep up the momentum with their next shows!

Following them was the first local concert set from metal standouts Garden of Bedlam in 4 months, and they definitely haven't lost a step since April (maybe the Quebec City concert helped keep the gears turning in the interim!) Also a short set of 6 originals (including "Shallow" and "Your Disgrace"), there wasn't any real surprises for song choices, so if you've seen recent Garden of Bedlam concerts, the songs will have been familiar, but the guys sounded as good as ever and played well to the growing number of fans on the floor! Buzz even made the most of the time by climbing the speaker during "New Rain", which created a neat visual! Josh & Evan Belleau were really solid on guitar & bass, Derek Turner's drumming was as varied and fast as ever, and Buzz's singing was stellar as usual! Though it'd be nice to have seen something a little different from past gigs, you can't beat a quality Garden of Bedlam set, and hopefully we'll see them on stage again in the fall!

Co-headlining in their local concert debut was Orillia, Ontario hard rockers Bleeker Ridge, and even if their debut is late following their Buckcherry show exit from last year, they made up for it with an energetic melodic sound that got a lot of positive attention! If they were unknown before the set, they won a lot of new fans on songs like "Last Cigarette" and "Go Home", with constant movement and clear talent throughout, and I like how enthusiastic the guys seemed to be just to be on stage! Very solid modern hard rock material, with guitarists Dan Steinke & Cole Perkins particularly impressing, but from where I was on the floor, singer Taylor Perkins was almost inaudible on heavier stretches. I like their chemistry and cohesiveness, and while I would like to see a bit of an extra edge and risk to their material, Bleeker Ridge impressed fully, and here's hoping we see them in the Sault again at some point!

And of course, the headliners were Australian hard rock standouts Airbourne in their own local debut, and they proved their reputation and success is not just hype with an extremely entertaining set of classic metal originals, and even some brief cover throwbacks during their encore-capper "Runnin' Wild"! The O'Keeffe brothers, David Roads, and Justin Street plowed their way through memorable songs like "Diamond in the Rough" and "Too Much, Too Young, Too Fast", with the on-stage antics like beer showers, an air raid siren, and a beer can-assisted guitar solo only adding to the action! Musically, the AC/DC comparisons are bound to be made, but these guys have more of a youthful recklessness that sets them apart, and fans were too busy rocking out to notice! Joel O'Keeffe in particular kept the fans hanging on every note with blistering vocals and piercing vocals, and the whole band was eager to leave the Soo wanting more! There's a reason why Airbourne have a #1 rock single in Canada, and the local fans definitely want more Airbourne, so hopefully this won't be the only time they run wild through Sault Ste. Marie!

Overall, this was an awesome concert, and kudos to promoter J.D. Pearce for bringing Airbourne here! Great show and a great atmosphere, and he's doing great work bringing major acts to the Soo! I imagine this was the last big Sault Ontario metal show of the summer, but it was quite a bang to end the season with, and we'll of course see The Dayglo Abortions and The Creepshow from J.D. next month, so don't miss those early fall dates if you can help it! Check out my photos from last night at this link or at our Facebook page (which also has a "Tag Yourself!" crowd photo), and for videos, here's The Suicide Kings (sans crowd obstructions this time) playing "Way Out Of Hell", Garden of Bedlam playing "New Rain", Bleeker Ridge playing "Small Town Dead", and Airbourne kicking things off in style with "Ready To Rock"!

That's all for today, but stay tuned tomorrow for more Airbourne concert fallout and other updates! Thanks everyone!

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