[Music ~ AUS]
Governor Hindmarsh Hotel, Sat 26 Oct.
It’s a decent-sized crowd, without being oxygen-depriving, at The Gov this evening. It’s clear that those in the know are here. Radio Birdman are in town, along with some special guests. The Stems have just demonstrated that there is little justice in rock ‘n’ roll by delivering an absolutely brilliant set. They should be a household name.
Speaking of such things…
The six Radio Birdmen ascend the stage and launch into We’ve Come So Far (To Be Here Today). The audience knows; there’s no such thing as filler at a Birdman gig. Smith & Wesson Blues is followed by Do The Pop. Rob Younger is throwing his arms around, as is his schtick, Deniz Tek is a 24-carat monument to rock awesomeness, and Jim Dickson has cleverly come disguised as your old Year 11 Social Studies teacher. Brilliant. Don’t let that fool you; Dickson’s magnificent playing is one of the reasons why Radio Birdman are one of the best live bands going. Along with Nik Reith’s drums, he helps provide the musical canvas for the combined guitars of Tek and Dave Kettley along with Pip Hoyle’s keyboards to work upon. And, on top of all that, Younger’s voice tells the world what’s going on. Thankfully, tonight his vocals are given a prominent position in the mix.
Crying Sun subsides into much applause and cheering before the very busy drum intro to Descent Into The Maelstrom whoops things up again. Younger doesn’t say much between songs; probably a good job because almost all of it is inaudible to most audience members.
The Man With The Golden Helmet is welcomed; Hoyle places the keys in the spotlight here and there, as the whole room reacquaints itself with the simple vocal lines. “Thank you guys for coming down here,” says Tek. “It’s really good to see ya.” The performances of Alone In The Endzone and Zeno Beach continue to prove that the 2006 reunion album remains a worthy addition to the Radio Birdman canon.
The second half of the set is as consistently good as the first as the band, bathed consistently in red light, moves into another gear. If that’s possible. It looks pretty warm up there. There’s some great keys and guitar work in Dark Surprise. A blockbusting version of Hand Of Law gets everyone going, and Aloha Steve And Danno followed by New Race finishes the show with a mild frenzy. But, hang on…
The encore comprises a great set of four covers. The Stooges, Blue Öyster Cult, 13th Floor Elevators and, finally, after Tek has stuttered out “And. Now. It’s. Time. To…” the crowd is treated to MC5’s Kick Out The Jams. The boys are having fun.
It’s just before midnight when the music stops and what has been a great show comes to a shuddering end. Radio Birdman has, once again, left its Adelaide audience wanting for nothing. Except to see them again.
Image courtesy of David Robinson