Governor Hindmarsh Hotel, Sun 30 Sept.
The crowd at The Gov has been building steadily since the doors opened; right through the impressive sets by The Sunday Reeds and “the Spanish MC5”, Los Chicos. By the time 10.30 rolls around, one might wonder if audience members may have over-invested in their enjoyment of the supports, and if they will struggle to maintain the energy.
No need to worry. As soon as Do The Pop begins, there’s no question that the Radio Birdman performance is the major reason that everyone is here. The straight-ahead, fast and furious setlist includes all of the usual staples, with a couple of surprises – including a cover of The Doors’ Not To Touch The Earth.
Deniz Tek is his usual model of concentration. And, despite the band’s volume, his guitar is still heard clearly as it cuts through everything else. Rob Younger’s vocals are, again, somewhat down in the mix but that seems to be the preferred sound of the band. The rumbling drum intro to Descent Into The Maelstrom sounds great, and Nik Rieth appears to be having a big night out, if the brilliance of his playing is anything to go by. Pip Hoyle’s keys take a stand amid the guitars on occasion; I-94’s organ-driven segue into Dark Surprise being a good example. Jim Dickson (bass) and Dave Kettley (guitar) are, perhaps, there to provide some sonic bedrock, but they are also willing and able to take advantage of any opportunities to express themselves. The whole thing manages to combine some sort of chaos with an aura of precision, in just about equal measure.
There’s not much chat from the stage, it’s just (fabulous) song after song.
Man With The Golden Helmet, with its irresistible singalong sections, seems to take things up a notch, and from there it’s a case of no turning back. The big drum intro to Hand Of Law is stirring – the song also features the borrowed Pipeline riff – while New Race‘s “Yeah Hup!” refrain raises the roof.
Tek begins the encore with “Hey, thanks a lot for coming down here tonight – we’ll play a few more”. And so they do. It’s a brilliant five-song climax to the evening. Journey To The Center Of The Mind, Anglo Girl Desire, Aloha Steve And Danno and a raging What Gives? are all high points of the evening, and the band signs off with You’re Gonna Miss Me.
So, with that, we are all done; heading into the cool night just a little before midnight.
To be honest, a few song selections aside, tonight’s show has been very similar to previous Radio Birdman Gov shows. And there’s a good reason for that; it’s called giving the people what they want.
Another top drawer performance from one of our finest bands.
by David Robinson
Image courtesy of David Robinson