A seminal band in Australia’s rich musical history, Radio Birdman, returned to Adelaide over the long weekend to showcase their high energy brand of rock ‘n roll.
The Sunday Reeds began the night’s proceedings with a solid set of their unique variety of rock ‘n’ roll/ blues/ swamp punk. Spain’s Los Chicos followed and, quite simply, blew the crowd away in their hour long set.
To songs such as I Hate Silence and We Sound Amazing but We Look Like Shit, front man and vocalist Rafa Suñén high kicked and leg split jumped his way literally onto the tabletops in the crowd ensuring guitarists Gerardo and Antonio Urchaga and bass player Guillermo Casanova made their way to the The Gov’s dancefloor while drummer Ral Garcia remained ruling the stage. Surrounded by a mass of dancing punters, most of who were gleefully trying to get a selfie with the band, Los Chicos definitely brought their music to the people of Adelaide and the people of Adelaide revelled in it.
You would be forgiven for thinking Los Chicos were the evening’s headliners given their exuberant and passionate performance, but then Radio Birdman took to the stage.
Opening their set with Do the Pop from their debut LP Radios Appear (1977), Radio Birdman delivered a loud and frenetic yet well thought out and musically tight performance. Vocalist Rob Younger found the ideal balance of melodic singing intermixed with soul wrenching shrieks throughout the ninety minute set.
Backed by Denniz Tek on guitar, Pip Hoyle on keys, Jim Dickson on bass, Dave Kettley on guitar and Nik Reith on drums, Younger belted through classics including Non Stop Girls, Descent into the Maelstrom, Alone in the Endzone and Hand of Law while the punters crowd surfed in the moshpit. One highlight was the undoubtedly epic Man with Golden Helmet which transported the room into a wonderous aural miasma and highlighted the full extent of the band’s lyrical and musical prowess.
Concluding the main set with the raucous New Race the crowd was left amped and unwilling to accept their departure. Chants of ‘Birdman’, a multitude of whoops and a lot of clapping eventually brought the men back out to belt out a five song encore including Anglo Girl Desire, Aloha Steve & Danno and, to close the stellar evening, You’re Gonna Miss Me.
With minimal inter-song banter and a simple backdrop banner, Radio Birdman highlighted that even after over forty years since they emerged onto the Australian music scene their music speaks for itself. Radio Birdman are still a force to be reckoned with and proved they have the ability to match, if not better, artists half their age on the stage.
Live Review by Anita Kertes