Beck's Verandah Bar, Perth
Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Words and Pictures by STUART LIJEQVIST

Back in December, I read that Radio Birdman was at last coming to Perth after a few years hiatus.  Over that time, I have made a couple of trips over to see them in Melbourne and also to see Deniz Tek play in DKT-MC5.

Everytime Radio Birdman plays, I plan a large crew to come with me whether they know who the band is or not.  This time, I managed to rustle up 10 people to come along; I bought all their tickets on the 'Net for them and got paid on the night. 

The past two weeks have possibly been one of the best rockin’ times I’ve ever had, as I went to the Big Day Out and was blown away by the Stooges.

A-week-and-a-half later, I find myself on the Beck’s Verandah of the Perth Concert Hall waiting for Radio Birdman to come on stage and blow everyone away. I walked in wondering how many of the Perth rock fraternity would turn out for this midweek gig.  To my amazement there were perhaps 800 (maybe more) people there - was a very solid turn out and more than I thought.  The only beer available was Beck’s. Funny, that. But I didn’t care.

Radio Birdman fans really have been spoilt over the last few years and I hope this never turns into complacency.  The news of the new record due  in June is just great news.  

So without further ado Birdman take the stage.  I love their nonchalant appearance onstage; it’s like: “Yeah....we’re only Radio Birdman”. 

They tear straight into five Radio Birdman classics; “Burned My Eye”, “Smith and Wesson Blues”, “Do the Pop”, “Alone in the Endzone” and “Non Stop Girls”.  Non Stop Rock, basically. I notice that they were really ripping into these tunes with a sense of urgency as if they were merely getting a couple of the old favorites out of the way, creating some space to present these rumored new songs.  You could tell they were keen to showcase their new material.

So it was almost a predictable proclamation by Deniz that the next few would be new songs. These were “Found Dead”, “Connected” and “Al Waza”, a run broken by one of my favorites, “Breaks My Heart”. “Heyday” was next, then “Remorseless” and “Hungry Cannibals”, followed by “I-94”, “Anglo Girl Desire” and “What Gives”, before finishing with “Aloha Steve and Danno”.

What a way to finish the set.  The crowd was pumped, patiently awaiting the band’s little set break and readying for the first encore.

The new songs, as with anything new, took a couple of choruses for familiarization, but were definitely awesome. There was one song introduced by Deniz as being penned by Pip.  This started out relatively mellow, built into a Pip keyboard solo (similar to “Man With Golden Helmet”). This led into a ethereal and transcendental direction, and then after the solo the final chorus was joined intensely by Deniz and Chris with their renowned twin- guitar attack. That ended the song in a blistering high-energy blaze, with Rob in the background wailing iaway.

One thing I like about Radio Birdman is their work ethic, They always do at least two encores, after walking off the first time to refresh. Deniz is back first and takes the mic to advise the crowd that it’s “back to work”.  They then rip into the next few songs. They walk off and then come back for their second encore, much to everyone’s satisfaction. 

I was definitely expecting a cover or two from the band, possibly a Velvet Underground song or something,  but when they cranked into the Stooges’ “Search and Destroy”, it was like being hit  over the head with a rolling pin, its just what you want to hear from them, knowing of their penchant for the Stooges and hearing their own raucous interpretation of the song.  By this time I was going nuts (probably looked like a dickhead), dancing 1977-style in between snapping off the 150 shots I took for the night. I think they finished the night with “New Race”.

The band seemed to be enjoying themselves, Deniz was quite jovial and smiling along with his usual duties. Rob Younger seemed relaxed and in the zone, making use of the mic stand.  He was pretty loose, sauntering up front on the stage,  Just hanging off the mike stand to the point of relative collapse and then erratically snapping into convulsions or wrenching lyrical expressions that just hit the primal instincts of fight or flight in everyone in the audience (or had I just had one too many beers?)

 Pip Hoyle was wearing a curious black army jacket, (circa American Civil War) with ‘Hoyle’ emblazoned on a patch on the right pocket along with other military paraphernalia.  He was very concentrated, weaving melodies over the top of and sometimes being slightly drowned out by the twin-guitar attack although shining through in the bridges and certain break downs.
Russell Hopkins on drums was a powerhouse and was excellent. I consider Jim Dickson a fully-fledged Birdman now and reckon he is awesome.

Chris was rock solid in his jersey cowskin vest, taking the lead on a number of the tunes. 

The band made themselves very accessible after the gig, at a signing in the foyer of the Concert Hall, laboriously talking with fans and penning autographs.  They were very approachable and very happy to make contact with the fans.

Overall, this was another amazing appearance by the Radios, and great turn-out from the Perth crowd.  It was a very nice taster before we see them again to promote the new record in July.
Yeah yeah Hup!!!!