CLUB CAPITAL, PERTH
August 18, 2006
By STEVE ANDERSON
The crowd at Club Capital seemed well-primed when we arrived at about 10.45pm, 15 minutes before Radio Birdman were scheduled to play. The supports must have done a good job, but unfortunately we didn’t get to see them as we were saving our ears for the main event.
While the crowd was a good size, they hung back from the front of the stage while the roadies and technicians did their thing. Then it got closer to launch time, and everyone moved in.
The club’s stage appeared to offer little room to move around out the front. Pip popped up from somewhere out the back in front of his 'boards, I pointed and started cheering before Deniz, Jim and Chris strode on. Russell had settled onto his drum stool and they were off.
They started with traditional opener Burn My Eye (78 version) before firing up what I recall as my dream play list for a Radio Birdman gig. Problem is, I can’t remember exactly what it was, or the order that it came in, but to the best of my recollection it included:
Burn my Eye
Hand of Law
Aloha Steve and Danno
Descent into the Maelstrom
Die like April
Non Stop Girls
Anglo Girl Desire
Brotherhood of Al-Wazah
You Just Make It Worse
Search and Destroy (this was in the first encore – can’t remember the other two songs they played)
New Race (this was the only song in the second encore – “…otherwise we’ll never get out of here” - Deniz)
Deniz had a few kind words to say. He thanked everyone for coming and said it was a privilege to be playing in Perth. He also mentioned something about playing new material versus old material, but everyone near me started screaming so I didn’t hear most of it.
Rob kindly gave someone in the crowd one of his beers (at their request), adding “Keep it cold!” Now there is a man who has a line for very occasion.
Music and band dynamics
If there was one thing that sticks in my mind in terms of the way they played it was the absolute tightness of the band – the rhythm section was rock solid, the guitars working around and in between, going off and coming back, but always sharp. There didn’t even seem to be much overt communication interaction – they must have already developed (or rekindled) some kind of group telepathy.
Rob flirted with, cajoled and generally stunned the crowd - his voice seems to be so much more emotive now. Pip filled out the sound while occasionally taking off on those cosmic solos that have become as much a Birdman trademark as Deniz’s guitar.
Highlights – musical and otherwise
Chris kneeling down and laying his guitar across his lap during (I think) "Die Like April". He looked like a samurai, meditating with a drawn sword over his knees. He was a picture of mastered attack during the whole show.
Deniz moving close to the crowd during "Die Like April" and playing about a foot away from us, his guitar howling mournfully.
Watching Russell take so many chances but always making it back home in time - amazing drums.
A blistering version of "I-94" – don’t think I’ve heard that one live yet.
"Al-Wazah" giving Pip, Jim and Russell a brief opportunity to play as a three piece – which the crowd loved.
The current shows prove that Radio Birdman put on one of the best performances you will see in rock and roll, sub-pop or whatever you want to call it.
I walked out of the club in a bit of a daze, my ears already beginning to whine and wondering when I’d see them again.
Deniz tried to change guitars about 5 or 6 songs in. When he did, the fresh instrument didn’t seem to be giving anything back as he tried to get some sound out of it. It was handed back to a roadie and the Epiphone made its return.
While the gap in playing was a bit off-putting, Deniz must have successfully channeled any frustration because his playing became even more ferocious and animated. Deniz also had a few issues with his effects pedals, which had him twiddling the controls while he was on stage. Didn’t stop him playing, though.
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