+ THE SPECIMENS
Annandale Hotel, Sydney
Saturday July 2, 2005
WORDS: RICHARD SHARMAN
PIX: STEVEN DANNO
Firstly, I would like to congratulate the Annandale on their fifth birthday. Since reopening, the Annandale has become in my opinion the finest live venue in Sydney. The Rule brothers are to be commended for their support of both established and up and coming Australian bands as well as a decent selection of international acts. Happy Birthday and long may you rule!
To kick proceedings off for the night, the Melbourne quartet, The Specimens got the crowd moving with their kick arse rock show… think loud guitars, pummelling drum and bass lines and lots of big rock moves. These guys have obviously spent a bit of time listening to the likes of The MC5… this is the second time I have had the pleasure of seeing them and look forward to catching them again. Definitely one band to check out!
There was a short break between proceedings which gave the capacity crowd time to take up prime viewing positions and gave me the opportunity to shoot the breeze with a few familiar faces… and the blasts of guitar coming from the stage promised it was going to be loud!
Before too long the old crew of Messrs Tek, Younger, Masuak and Hoyle strode to the stage joined by their newer cohort Jim Dickson and new boy Russell Hopkinson. Without much ado, they launched into one of their new songs “What It's For” and then into a blistering version of “Do The Pop” it was then “Non Stop Girls” and non stop classics interspersed with some new tunes.
Of the new tunes the Masuak penned “Rock Bottom” stood out but it was the classic Birdman tracks “Hand of Law”, “Alone in the End Zone”, “Man with Golden Helmet”, “Hanging On”, “455 SD”, “More Fun”, “What Gives” and an earth shattering version of “Aloha Steve and Danno” to close the set. In the middle there was a scorching version of the Iggy and Stooges Classic “Search and Destroy”.
This was the Radio Birdman I have been waiting to see… I had seen them a couple of times before at bigger venues, those shows were good and memorable but the size of the Annandale and the way the band played – this was the real deal. Special mention must be made of Russell Hopkinson on drums – this was his first show with Birdman and he fitted in as Bill Gibson described “like a finger in a bum”.
Rusty pounded out a powerhouse rhythm track yet there was plenty of space for Jim’s bass lines, Rob’s vocals, Pip’s keyboards and the sizzling fretwork of Tek and Masuak.
After a short break the band re emerged and launched into the mesmerising opening guitar figure that opens “Monday Morning Gunk” then it was head down and pin the ears back for the first encore set which culminated in a glorious rendition of “New Race”.
However, that wasn’t the end the lads came out one more time and started with another newie “Hey Day” before putting the Birdman stamp on the Velvets’ junkie anthem “Waiting for My Man” and then they brought it all home with a searing version of “Breaks My Heart”.
Another night of maximum rock and roll at the Annandale!
5 of your best please Barman!
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