The Boardwalk, Orangevale, CA
February, 23, 2008
Roadrunner / Razor and Tie Records

Every once in a while a young band will surface that has everything in place – the look, the songs and the showmanship that leaves the crowd astonished. On this night there were two, Airbourne and Endeverafter, both basking under the bright stage lights in all their glory while promoting their debut albums Running Wild and Kiss or Kill respectively. Lately the press has been very kind to Sacramento-based Endeverafter as they ride the publicity surrounding their uncensored video for the breakout single “Baby, Baby, Baby.” Led by guitarist / vocalist Michael Grant and including guitarist Kristan Mallory, bassist Tommi Andrews and drummer Eric Humbert the group have been pounding the pavement in every effort to spread the word. Having just returned from an extended tour with ‘80s hair bands Poison and Cinderella, Endeverafter are packaged with Australia’s Airbourne and Atlanta’s Stonerider in an all-out assault on the club markets to convert the natives and rally the troops.

“It’s the hottest rock tour going on today,” says Endeverafter’s Michael Grant in their crowed dressing room before their 9:30pm time slot. “It was a management thing to begin with but really it just makes sense to have us touring together. There are not many bands operating in the genre that we’re operating in. Music today is a lot of Emo band, sad bastards who want to cut their wrist and cry about their girlfriends.” Singer/guitarist Joel O’Keekke of Airbourne cuts in, “Rock and roll’s a good time and that’s all we’re here to do – bring the good times. Everyone’s cranking up the Marshalls and rockin’ again - like a bottle of Jack, it’s swingin’ back around.” Both bands have been on the road for nearly two years with Airbourne relocating from Australia to New Jersey in the endless pursuit of conquering America. All that work has polished both bands with a radiant sheen and within the hour, after a prolonged soundcheck, Endeverafter fully ignited their hometown crowd into a complete rock ‘n roll frenzy.

Watching Endeverafter conjured up the memory of watching Def Leppard open for Billy Squire in Chicago (1980) and literally blowing him off the stage. They were not only well rehearsed but had all the right moves casting shadows of former rock icons. Guitarist Kristan Mallory and bassist Tommi Andrews carry off the look with long curly hair and sonic chops while Grant’s unique baritone, natural good looks and feverish approach to the guitar are bewildering. Chunks of Iron Maiden, Van Halen and Mötley Crüe fill the air as the band storm through their YouTube classics “I Wanna Be Your Man,” “Poison” and “Baby, Baby, Baby.” Several short skirts made their way to the front of the stage and demanded “Tip Of My Tongue” which had Grant and Mallory in twin guitar harmony laying waste to the seething masses. After their set, drummer Eric Humbert stated, “The reason I left Fall Out Boy and joined Endeverafter was because of Michael. He’s like a human jukebox that can play and sing anything…and he’s a babe magnet, which does us all good.”

Airbourne hit the stage at 11:30 pm and had their own brand of sex, drug and rock ‘n roll as they strutted out in pure Aussie fashion. Heads banging in unison singer/guitarist Joel O’Keekke, brother/drummer Ryan O’ Keeffe (drums), bassist Justin Street and guitarist David Roads kept their feet firmly planted in front of a mountain of Marshalls as they treated the faithful to rousing renditions of “Stand Up For Rock ‘n’ Roll,” “Fat City” and “BlackJack.” They have their AC/DC bit down pat – probably better than anyone else save the original. Their tone, their sound, their drive is full octane and 100% proof. Though not entirely original they do pump out several extremely catchy and very addictive songs including “Heartbreaker,” and “Runnin’ Wild” with it’s jackhammer riff and declaration, ”The open road is all I need.” By the same code “Too Much, Too Young, Too Fast” and “Diamond In The Rough” boast of the band’s commitment to a good time while O’Keekke’s crazy, psycho eyes lay hold of the true meaning in “What’s Eating You.”

Unfortunately third band, Stonerider was unable to participate this go around due to a van break down along I-80 outside of Salt Lake City. However their debut disc Three Legs of Trouble is certainly worth picking up especially for the blistering track “Rush Hour, Baby.”

Websites: Airbourne, Endeverafter, Stonerider

Special thanks to TCE's own Jeff Helfand (videographer and contributor).