Plantation Hotel, Coffs Harbour
Friday 10 February, 2006

Words & Pictures: RICHARD SHARMAN of
Blackshadow Photography

After a six-hour drive up the notorious Pacific Highway it was a relief to make it to Coffs Harbour and locate the Plantation Hotel, the venue at which Radio Birdman was kicking off their first 2006 tour. I guess it makes sense for Deniz to get things under way in his home town of three years. A good crowd had gathered; a mix of people who had seen Birdman “back in the day” and younger patrons keen to check out a rock n roll legend.

The support band were some local lads, The Stiffies – they got things under way with a fine set of garage/swamp rock but the crowd held back though, waiting for the main event.

About 9.30, Radio Birdman took to the stage and the crowd surged against the stage barriers as the band opened up with a rip-snorting version of “Burned My Eye” quickly followed by “Smith and Wesson Blues”. After this little warm-up Deniz thanked his home town for coming out in force.

Birdman then kicked into overdrive with “Do the Pop” – Rob Younger was like a man possessed, staring down the crowd, dancing like a demon and singing like a banshee. The twin guitar assault of Messrs Tek and Masuak was scorching; Pip Hoyle’s melodic keyboards adding a nice counterpoint to the sonic guitar assault and the pulverising rhythms that Russell Hopkinson and Jim Dickson were laying down.

By this time the sweat was flowing freely from the band and punters alike as the band tore up “Non-stop Girls” before introducing the audience to some new songs which sounded pretty damned fine to these ears – they stack up well against the classic tracks and offer something fresh without compromising on the Birdman sound and delivery. Radio Birdman circa 2006 is definitely a working rock n roll beast, not just relying on their past glory to keep things going.

The played through seven new songs before dipping into their back catalogue again with “More Fun”, “Anglo Girl Desire”, “What Gives” and then brought things to a new high with “Aloha Steve and Danno”. The energy levels pushed through the red zone; the crowd was going apeshit as Deniz Tek ripped it up and ended up spent on the stage floor.

The band left the stage for a short break and hit us with a couple more new songs; “Come So Far” and “Locked Up” before Deniz opened up with the intro riff to “New Race”, and once again it was into maximum rock 'n' roll territory that few bands can ever reach.

The band again left the stage with the crowd yelling for more before the
rock 'n' roll soldiers came out for one last sonic assault. The opening riff to The Stooges classic “Search and Destroy” sent the crowd into frenzy before they closed out with “Hand of Law”.

Rarely have I known an hour-and-three-quarters to fly so fast – Radio Birdman is a band like few others and anyone with a taste for maximum rock and roll should definitely get along to see them either on this tour or when their new album comes out later this year.

The complete setlist for the show was:

Burned My Eye
Smith and Wesson Blues
Do the Pop
Alone in the Endzone
Non-stop Girls
Make it Worse
Al Waza
Found Dead
More Fun
Anglo Girl Desire
Aloha Steve and Danno

Come So Far
Locked Up
New Race

Search and Destroy
Hand of Law