Raising The Flag For Rock And Roll

If ever a band was made to rock out to and have fun with then Aussie four piece Airbourne are it. Absurdly over the top, you’re never too sure how tongue in cheek they truly are but what isn’t in doubt as they take to a rain drenched stage on Sunday night is their devotion to rock and you just know, regardless as to whether the heavens are offloading a flood or not, an Airbourne set is always going to be entertaining.

Ignoring the fact that Donington now resembles the sights we have come accustomed to expect from Glastonbury, Joel O’Keefe strolls on stage bare chested, intent on making sure everyone knows that the Aussies are here for one thing only and that’s to rock as they blaze into opener ‘Raise The Flag’. With synchronised head banging and rock style gurning part of the course with Airbourne there’s something unashamedly over the top about them which from any other band would seem totally absurd. Luckily for the O’Keefe brothers and Co. its something they can carry off and as ‘Girls In Black’ makes its thunderous entrance, its obvious that Joel in particular would risk life and limb for rock as he scales the stage rigging, guitar slung up his back. Usually his death defying acts are mesmerising enough but when you factor in the biblical type lashing the stage is getting, it almost verges on the idiotic. Indeed the top of the stage doesn’t seem quite high enough for the Aussie man today as he swings his legs back and forth before finally flinging his body across to the furthest and highest piece of rigging, contently playing his guitar when he reaches his final destination. It’s not to last though as suddenly the power is cut, security and health and safety officials bombard the stage and pull the plug on Airbourne, demanding O’Keefe returns to the ground much to the anger of the crowd who respond by hurling bottles at the stage invaders.

With O’Keefe back on the ground Airbourne are permitted to carry on with riotous renditions of ‘No Way But The Hard Way’ and ‘Too Much Too Young’ gaining much appreciation from the audience and O’Keefe carries on his mad man antics by opening a can of beer by smashing it against his head! Mad, brash and with little regard for their own lives, Airbourne are certainly a band in it for the music and the rain soaked masses lap it up, triumphantly flinging their horns in the air, Airbourne bring their eventful set to a climatic finish with the energetic ‘Runnin’ Wild’. Fun, mad but undeniably eventful, Airbourne certainly raised the flag for rock and roll at Download.