RADIO BIRDMAN+ DIRTY SWITCHES
Mean Fiddler, London
September 13. 2003
By VINZ HOLY CURSE
Well what can I say? I stupidly proposed to report on the London show. Pen and paper, camera, I was all set for the London Mean Fiddler gig. Met very briefly with fellow fan (and reviewer) Jelly at the Cambridge, then a few more drinks at the Mean Fiddler and I was ready to go, or so I thought. A bit worried about the sound: it was really crappy for the support band, who were quite good, despite a lack of presence on stage, and who never said who they were...
But as soon as the guys hit the stage, I knew my pen would stay in the pocket, the camera in the bag - because when a band rocks that hard and tight, you don't feel like writing or taking pictures, you just want to DANCE. And that's what I just did - with lots of screaming inbetween the songs. I just couldn't speak the morning after.
So no setlist here, name your favourites, they were there - and smoking. The extra thing with seeing them live is that you understand songs like "Man with Golden Helmet" and "Love Kills" much better. They get a power that's not completely on the records - but you Aussies already knew it, didn't you?
Compared to Nancy, where the guitars stole the show, this gig was Rob's Night - lots of variations, throwing in lines of Chuck Berry's "Let it Rock" and...the Beatles' "She Loves You" somewhere. I was surprised how, in Nancy, he kept close to the records versions. No stage diving either, right, hardly a word here and there inbetween the songs. Just the energy, raw, slick and straight. Everyone at the right place and a sound that became really good after 10 minutes.
Highlights? Hard to say, for the set was all compact and intense, the power never fading. But "Descent", "I-94" and "Aloha Steve and Danno" have always been my favourites.
A great R 'n' R nite, that ended on the second encore with the three covers: "Cold Turkey"/"Waiting for the Man"/"You're Gonna Miss Me". Which could be read as a secret message for a drug-addicted friend or, for Rock'n'roll addicts like us: Cold turkey until we can lay hands on their next album, Waiting for them and missing them until they're back in Europe.
And, err, no, I won't rate a show like this. Deserves more than beer, If I really have to.
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