© Adrian Hextall
Photos and Live Gig Review by Adrian Hextall (Photographer/Writer/Contributor) Myglobalmind Webzine
With the crowds that they can attract nowadays, the 600 person capacity Garage in London’s Islington district is a surprise choice when bigger venues like the Forum could have just as easily been filled. What is no surprise however is the speed at which tonight’s gig sold out with all tickets having gone in around 15 minutes of going on sale. As such, the venue fills rapidly and by the time Leicester based threesome Skam take to the stage, they have a sizeable audience to play to.
Given the iconic t-shirt that lead singer Steve Hill is wearing, the set tonight could have easily begun with the infamous words:
“I’m Bill S. Preston, Esquire!, and I’m Ted “Theodore” Logan!.And we’re… WYLD STALLYNS!”
Instead, memories of Bill & Ted aside, they launch into a very solid energetic set that has been worked on during the several hundred gigs played in every major city in the UK. Skam are a clearly a seasoned live band and get a sound response from the crowd from the beginning. Their interests on their Facebook page state, “Rocking out,
Women, Beer” which makes them the obvious choice to support Aussie hell-raisers Airbourne tonight.
Perched in-between Hill and manic bassist Matt Gilmore whose facial expressions during the set have to be seen to be believed!, Ray ‘X-Ray’ Peverill provides a thumping rhythmn on the drums and lays the foundations for a highly energised set. Gillmore complete with a refined and well oiled moustache bounds around the stage leaving Hill to work the crowd and pull off some very tasty guitar licks.
‘The Wire’ and ‘Peacemaker’ coming from the ‘Peacemaker’ album show a very mature band capable of building complex grooves and catchy riffs around memorable songs that stay with you long enough to ensure you check out the studio material the following day.
Having supported The Wildhearts, Laika Dog, Blaze Bailey and more, Skam are easily able to find fans and will see their profile rise rapidly. Definitely a good warm up to the main act tonight.
Steve Hill (guitar),
Matt Gilmore (bass) and
Ray ‘X-Ray’ Peverill (drums),
Make you pay
Soldiers of rock
By the time headliners Airbourne take to the stage, The Garage is heaving, the air conditioning is non existent and the walls have started to sweat as much as the crowd. The perfect environment then for the O’Keeffe boys and their beer soaked, party laden rock ‘n’ roll. They bound on stage and immediately kick into a firm fan favourite with ‘Ready to Rock’ from current album ‘Black Dog Barking’ and then immediately follow it with the classic ‘Too Much, Too Young, Too Fast’ from their excellent full length début.
Less than two songs into the set and the crowd are already pumped, shirts fly and as might be expected a sea of people begin crowd surfing and pogo-ing around the floor. Plastic glasses fly over heads raining beer on people and it rapidly begins to look and feel like a festival crowd gone wild. The great atmosphere is infectious and Joel interacts well with the crowd asking them for recommendations and there is very little requested that does not get played tonight.
Beer, sweat, hair and bodies fly around the room tonight and that’s just from the guys on stage. David Roads and Justin Street bang their heads whilst playing with such fervour it’s amazing they don’t detach from their bodies. Joel, unable to scale the festival rigging in a venue this size, takes off on the shoulders of one of the crew and works his way through the crowd, playing and and singing before pausing for a ‘tinnie’ at the main bar at the back of the venue.
They fly through the remainder of the numbers with Joel performing his well known beer can / smash head routine that sees multiple tins of Stella Artois exploding and being thrown out into the crowd (as if they weren’t wet enough already) and finish the main set with ‘Stand Up For Rock ‘n’ Roll’. The encore commences with Ryan returning to the stage and cranking the handle of an old air raid siren which screams and echoes around the venue. As the band return, they launch into ‘Live It Up’ and literally tear the place apart. Towards the end of the song, Joel, like a latter day Moses, parts the crowd left and right creating a massive space on the floor. As they then wind everything up again for the finale the crowd flies back together crushing all between them (Book of Joel 3:16).
‘Runnin’ Wild’ draws everything to a close a great set from an excellent live band. Comparisons are often drawn between them and AC\DC but it’s obvious to most people that AC\DC can’t go on for many more years and Airbourne are well within their rights to pick up the torch and carry the flame for years to come on the strength of performances like this one.
Girls In Black
Cheap Wine & Cheaper Women
Stand and Deliver
Black Dog Barking
Chewin’ the Fat
Stand Up for Rock ‘N’ Roll
Live It Up
Joel O’Keeffe – vocals/lead guitar
David Roads – guitar
Justin Street – bass
Ryan O’Keeffe – drums