Airbourne / Orange Goblin / The Treatment Hot
Written by James Gaden     May 29, 2014    
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Airbourne / Orange Goblin / The Treatment - The Pyramids, Portsmouth (UK) - 28th November, 2013

The Treatment were on this bill courtesy of their friends Airbourne who insisted to their tour manager Mark Stickland that he get them on board for this UK leg in support of their recently released 'Black Dog Barking' album, the third from these energetic and raucous Australians.

With their second album 'Running With The Dogs' now finished and due out shortly, The Treatment have been playing everywhere imaginable to get themselves noticed, including pulling off a coup by opening for Kiss and Mötley Crüe on their 40 plus date US arena summer tour last year. And it's really starting to rub off as there was a healthy, three quarter full auditorium when they kicked off right on time with the rabble rousing 'Drink, Fuck, Fight'. Bedecked in black jeans and leather jackets and short spiked hair, having shorn their locks for a new image this year, they announced new lead guitarist Jake Pattinson, who had joined two weeks prior after being plucked straight out of university, and who was standing in for Ben Brookland who rather sadly had announced his departure on the eve of the tour in order to attend to his sick father.

Their brand of AC/DC, Aerosmith and The Cult inspired sound mixed with the Punk attitude of the Sex Pistols is giving them the tag of bright young Classic Rock hopefuls, and it's pretty much deserved. Consisting of founder Dhani Mansworth (son of More and Airrace guitarist Laurie who's also their manager) alongside crowd instigator bassist Rick 'Swoggle' Newman, and fellow guitarist Tagore Grey with front-man Matt Jones urging the crowd to clap and cheer as they raced through the energetic 'Don't Look Down' and the punchy, hard-driving 'I Bleed Rock 'n' Roll' before announcing a new song from the forthcoming album, entitled 'Emergency'. It's probably set to be a single or video no doubt with its heavy, pounding Classic Rock overtones and melodic sensibility. It's easy to see why Airbourne are so taken with these young Cambridge-based guys as they have plenty of spunky attitude and energy on stage mirroring their Aussie cousins. Indeed, they proudly displayed the Cambridge logo on their Marshall amps sitting atop two crossed Union Jack flags.

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'The Outlaw' followed another "newie" in 'Alley Of The Dogs', a melodic rocker that should see the band gaining ever more mainstream fans and the pounding beats and monster riffs of 'Shake The Mountain' which saw Jones jumping into the pit and singing to the front row to round things off. If hard work, energy and commitment are prerequisites for making it in today's industry then we're all witnessing the dawn of new British superstars!

Orange Goblin have been around for quite some time now, I seem to remember seeing them for the first time support Wolfsbane many moons ago, but I've slept since then so couldn't be certain without spending hours searching for that long forgotten elusive ticket. They tend to be invited onto numerous festivals I've been to and with their sub-Black Sabbath Doom and Stoner sound they're the natural heirs to Tony Iommi, Ozzy Osbourne, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward. In fact, 2014 will be their twentieth year as a band, and with virtually the original line-up – rhythm guitarist Pete O'Malley left in 2004 to pursue a career as an artist, to be replaced by Joe Hoare - that's quite a remarkable achievement.

Ben Ward, the heavily tattooed and bearded front-man, sporting a rather fetching and quite possibly original 'Rainbow Rising' T-shirt, commanded the stage flanked by the equally tattooed and hirsute Thin Lizzy T-shirt wearing bassist Martyn Millard and surprisingly clean shaven by comparison guitarist Hoare. Pounding away on the drum kit was the third tattooed and bearded English Viking look-alike Chris Turner. Between them they produced a wall of heavy, intense, brooding and menacing riffs and bottom end with Ward growling away on the opener 'Scorpionica' from their 2000 album 'The Big Black' swiftly followed by the Motorhead inspired short and sharp "newie" 'The Filthy & The Few' with Punk loving Turner bashing the living crap out of his kit. They still play 'Saruman's Wish' from their debut 'Frequencies From Planet Ten' from way back in 1997 which is as Sabbathy as you can get with its heavy bassy wall of noise, before it's back to another of their latest songs 'Acid Trial', again a Doom-laden Sabbath influenced number but with some simple classic Blues solos and riffing from Hoare.

Ward told us rather emphatically that "everyone's gonna get drunk tonight and not go into work tomorrow" before launching into fan favourite 'Cities Of Frost' – cue more head-banging from the masses and OG as the Motorhead/Sabbath number takes us on a dark and heavy journey in this Portsmouth auditorium. The fast paced 'Your World Will Hate This' with its thundering bass and drums picks things up again with its rapid, quick-fire, blink and you'll miss it delivery as Ward jumped into the pit, before the mellower oldie title track from their second album 'Time Travelling Blues' saw Ward urging the crowd to gently clap along in unison at the start before building into the mid-paced stomper it is, showcasing the more creative side of the band with a lovely "wah wah" bluesy solo from Hoare to round it off.

Another old favourite, the AC/DC 'Let There Be Rock' inspired riffing of 'Quincy The Pig Boy' shifting the crowd into a frenzied upper gear that lead neatly into closer 'Red Tide Rising', a song released on Valentine's Day no less. The third song of the night from their last album 'A Eulogy For The Damned' saw me caught in a fierce mosh pit as its heavy galloping Sabbath riffs created an intense atmosphere. This is no frills Heavy Metal as it used to be before the whole music scene fragmented – so enjoy them whilst they're still here.

There was a pronounced anticipation for the headliners Airbourne. Having interviewed Joel O'Keeffe earlier in the evening, he was as ebullient as ever and promised the Portsmouth faithful one hell of an evening. Well, it would take a seismic shift in energy and delivery for Airbourne to disappoint as they are quite possibly one of THE must see bands on the planet at the moment for sheer entertainment value. The natural heirs to AC/DC's crown, they unashamedly embrace the spirit and musical nous of their Aussie brothers to remind everyone of how a great Rock 'n' Roll show can be every night of the week. With Joel's brother Ryan on kick-ass drums, David Roads on rhythm guitar and Justin Street on bass and backing vocals they are one tight knit group of friends and powerful performers on stage. The familiar strains to 'Ready To Rock' were cranked out and the Pompey crowd needed no second invitation – it was straight in and hit them. 'Too Much, Too Young, Too Fast' and 'Girls In Black' fizzed along before Joel, bare chested and adorned with his trusty white Gibson SG, was heading out into the crowd on a roadie's shoulders during 'Back In The Game'. It was amazing that the roadie managed to do a full tour of the crowd at the front as I could barely breathe being nearly squashed against the barriers as it seemed the entire audience wanted to get over said barriers and onto the stage. Joel was back on stage in plenty of time to finish the song before giving us 'Diamond In The Rough' and then the title track of their new album '... Barking', with Joel and Roads constantly swapping sides as they powered out the riffs to a frenzied audience. Joel even had time to engage in a bit of banter about the Aussies currently stuffing us in the Ashes which drew a few boos from the cricket loving aficionados, including me. 'Cheap Wine And Cheaper Women' had Joel aiming his guitar at the fans either side of the stage to induce cheers and then the boys proceeded to blitz us with 'Nothing But The Hard Way' changing the lyrics at one point to "nothing but the Portsmouth way". 'Stand Up For Rock 'n' Roll' had Joel performing on top of the drum kit before jumping off and racing around the stage swapping constantly with Roads like he had done all night.

There was a bit of respite from the manic audience as Airbourne trooped off for a breather, whilst a roadie brought on an air raid siren. After a short period Joel ambled on stage with that manic grin of his and proceeded to wind up the siren until it was blaring and then they kicked into 'Live It Up' which pumped up the crowd again and caused various girls to be pulled from the audience due to nearly passing out from the crush. Joel took his second 'walk' through the crowd which got them even more animated if that was possible and was back on stage to give a fist pumping 'Raise The Flag' an airing with still incredible energy levels. All that was left was to begin the immortal 'Runnin' Wild' with an impromptu 'Paranoid' intro and the obligatory smashing of a couple of cans of lager open on his head so that they fizzed out whilst standing atop the giant Marshall stacks as he is prone to do each show, but at least this time he didn't try and climb up to the spotlights.

More bang for your buck indeed or should that be more energy levels than an electricity sub-station. Either way the crowd was thoroughly entertained, even if a large number of us went home nursing more than a few bruises and crushed wind pipes. Taking photos from outside the sanity of the photo-pit was impossible so I hope those at the back got some good shots.

Airbourne is a band that shows no let-up in the quality of their performance; they are a future festival headliners, of that I have no doubt. When most of the big boys finally call it a day, and that day isn't too far off for some of them, Airbourne will be one of the leading natural successors to embrace that mantle. All hail the new Kings Of Rock!

Carl Buxton

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