Metalcamp - 2011

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

Airbourne was the headliner of the first day of Metalcamp, and even though their music isn’t 100% compatible with my taste I can’t deny their attraction on a stage.

Hence, out we came to see the spectacle, as had almost all of the visitors of the festival; the crowd was huge, and they were ready to rock n’ roll!
The band, especially main man Joel O’Keeffe, was not about to disappoint the fans as they all came running out on the stage, kicking off with the song Raise The Flag. I say especially J. O’Keeffe because honestly, it is more or less his show. Sure, the other are there and do move about and they do headbang from time to time, but it is the older O’Keeffe brother who steals the attention and really makes the performance what it is, with his wild sprints from side to side, the total use of the depth of the stage as he runs up on the walkway behind the drumkit where his younger brother sits, pounding away at the skins. It is also the older O’Keeffe brother who keeps the contact with the audience as the rest of the band members have a more anonymous approach to the whole thing; here he would, among other things, smash a beercan to pieces against his own forehead before throwing out into the cheering crowd, he’d comment; ”Pretty good!” after emptying a bottle of the limited edition Metalcamp red wine over himself and I do believe he managed to upset the entire security staff with one little sentence as well. This was when he said; ”Let’s see how many we can get up on people’s shoulders!”, and as I know from experience that security staff is seldom allowing this sort of behaviour, they must have been pretty stressed out seeing how almost half of the crowd climbed on top of the rest!
O’Keeffe’s most reckless daredevil stunt, and the most memorable at that, happened a little earlier on in the show however; this was when he himself went for a climb. Walking over to the side of the stage, he would then proceed to climb the metal construction all the way up to the ceiling of the stage, and after getting a tight grip with his legs he would let go with his hands so that he could play the solo of the ongoing song! Not much thought about safety measures there I can tell you…

Still, it was stunts such as these that eventually made me warm up to the show. The songs themselves, with few exceptions, sounded far too similar to each other to gain any individuality, and thus the show as a whole seemed to run pretty much in the same tempo all the way through. It was a good rock tempo to be sure, but the music by itself was simply not enough to keep me interested. Good then that they have this Aussie madman at the front to steal our attention…
The general feeling from the rest of the crowd was certainly positive though; as I mentioned earlier people were happy to play along with the bands little games, and when not occupied with that they would sing loudly or let their hair swing majestically in the wind; yes, there was no doubt the fans got what they came for!
Like it or don’t, the premise for this show was simply a party, and that’s what we got. I was entertained, and even though this will not go down in any history books, it was still good while it lasted.

Setlist (incomplete):

Raise The Flag
Blond, Bad And Beautiful
Born To Kill
No Way But The Hard Way
Too Much, Too Young, Too Fast
Runnin’ Wild

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