Opening the night, Black Spiders stormed onto the stage with a ferocity that was impossible to ignore. The hard-hitting rock outfit from Sheffield took the stage with an infectious enthusiasm that immediately captivated the crowd. From the very first chord, they wasted no time in unleashing a sonic assault that reverberated through the venue. The lead singer’s commanding presence was a sight to behold, as he effortlessly engaged the audience, encouraging everyone to put their middle fingers in the air and join in the rock ‘n’ roll revelry.
With thunderous drum beats, scorching guitar riffs, and raw, unapologetic vocals, Black Spiders proved themselves more than worthy of the support act slot. As I watched their performance, I couldn’t help but appreciate the raw talent and dedication that goes into perfecting such a dynamic stage presence. The UK rock band were relentless in their pursuit of delivering a memorable set. As someone who appreciates the unfiltered power of music, Black Spiders delivered in every way possible. Their commanding stage presence and heavy riffs had the crowd headbanging in unison. It was evident that the band poured their hearts and souls into their performance, and their passion was contagious.
However, when Airbourne stepped onto the stage, the atmosphere at Manchester Academy reached a whole new level of intensity. The crowd erupted into cheers and applause as the band launched into their opening song, “Ready to Rock.” From that moment on, it was a non-stop rollercoaster of pure rock ‘n’ roll.
Frontman Joel O’Keeffe was an absolute powerhouse, his infectious energy spread like wildfire, commanding the stage with boundless energy and charisma. From the first note of “Ready to Rock” to the adrenaline-fueled encore of “Runnin’ Wild,” the band kept the energy levels at an all-time high.
As a seasoned concert-goer, I’m accustomed to being in the middle of the crowd, amongst all the chaos at gigs, but this Airbourne show in Manchester offered a whole new perspective. Being able to watch the show from in front of the barrier and then positioning myself slightly towards the back, it was incredible to see the entire sea of fans moving in unison. The passion and energy was incredible. For photographers, it was nothing short of a dream come true. Capturing the essence of Airbourne’s live performance was a challenging yet rewarding task. The band members themselves were a whirlwind of motion, constantly engaging with the crowd and feeding off the energy of their fans. Capturing their passionate performances was a thrilling challenge for any photographer seeking to immortalise the essence of a true rock ‘n’ roll show.
As the night progressed, Airbourne treated us to a whirlwind of their greatest hits, including “Breakin’ Outta Hell,” “Too Much, Too Young, Too Fast,” and “Live It Up.” Each song seemed to fuel the fire within the crowd, turning the venue into a mass of headbanging, fist-pumping fans. The sense of unity and shared passion for the music was both overwhelming and heartwarming.
The highlight of the show for me came when O’Keeffe, like a true rockstar, ventured into the heart of the crowd. Climbing onto a roadie’s shoulders, guitar in hand, the Australian musician shredded his way through the sea of fans, connecting intimately with his audience and igniting an unparalleled sense of camaraderie. This spontaneous act of connection between the lead singer and the audience exemplified the essence of Airbourne’s music—a celebration of unity and the undying passion for rock music. As Joel sang from the shoulders of the roadie, he brought the whole crowd together, erasing the boundaries between performer and fan, creating a shared experience that everyone present would cherish. O’Keeffe’s daring feat created an unforgettable connection with the audience, making them feel like they were not just spectators but an integral part of the performance. The band’s interactions with the crowd were heartfelt and genuine, making the experience feel intimate despite the large venue.
In conclusion, Airbourne and Black Spiders delivered an unforgettable night of mayhem. When the final chord was struck, and the last echo of applause filled the air, Airbourne had conquered Manchester on a stormy night, leaving the crowd exhilarated and drenched in sweat. As the audience dispersed into the rain, hearts were left pounding, and the echoes of Airbourne’s thunderous performance would linger long after the storm had passed. \m/
Words and Photos by Ellie Dawson