Live Review | Radio Birdman + Hits @ Hi Fi Brisbane

Friday 7 November
A heaving sea of largely 40 somethings has packed out the Hi Fi bar tonight to witness another triumphant chapter in the renaissance of one of Australia’s finest ever bands,  evergreen rock and roll soldiers Radio Birdman.Before this hallowed re visitation though we’re treated to an incendiary set from the ever more impressive HITS, these days without a doubt Brisbane’s finest purveyors of balls to the wall rock and roll. Uniquely charismatic frontman ‘Evil Dick’ Richards is in relatively subdued form tonight, but only by his own gregarious standards. Musically dynamic and visually captivating, the band deliver their own version of guitar driven salvation on the big stage as they  power their way through an invigorating set of 70’s channelling garage rock, featuring plenty of highlights from impressive recent long player Hikikomori, which was produced by none other than Radio Birdman singer Rob Younger. As Richards leaves the stage in a spray of beer, the twin guitar tsunami of Tamara Bell and Stacey Coleman close ranks and jam out the set-end to a crescendo of rock and roll deliverance, a fine way indeed to precede our esteemed headliners…

Arriving to a deafening cheer and to the backdrop of their mythical black on red band symbol, Radio Birdman set about displaying just why their burnt-eye legacy is so highly revered by lovers of true rock and roll. Over the course of their rapturously received set the band power through large swathes of hushed tones 1977 debut long player Radios Appear and equally vital follow up Living Eyes. With three original members still in tow, the band burst out of the blocks with a killer opening salvo of Smith And Wesson Blues, Do The Pop and Anglo Girl Desire.

The controversial non appearance (in rabid fandom circles) of founding guitarist Chris ‘Klondike’ Masuak proves not to be a dampener on the rock and roll spectacle, with the band in blazing form throughout. Agelessly suave lead guitarist Deniz ‘iceman’ Tek nails every memorable guitar run with nonchalant aplomb, and the somewhat more aged yet still electric frontman Rob Younger conducts and contorts with gusto.
Descent Into The Maelstrom is an appropriate cue to depart from the comfortable confines of my upstairs vantage point and head downstairs, a claustrophobic cauldron of sweat, beer and amplifier worship. Plenty of folk are losing it in the tight confines of the mosh pit, flailing, colliding and chanting along, a passionate re-living of youth-hoods missed and miss-spent.During the Doors’ian opus Man With Golden Helmet the bunch of well lubricated middle aged blokes standing next to me scream the songs memorable end refrain ‘he’s the top man in the language department’ with drunken gusto, the song amply spotlighting the underrated musical contribution of debonair keyboard maestro Pip Hoyle.

A couple of new songs (from comeback studio album Zeno Beach and possibly beyond) infiltrate the set, and pleasingly fit in rather seamlessly amongst the seminal classics.

Typically Aloha Steve and Danno got the biggest crowd response, and the encore was simply untouchable, from rare airings (Alien Skies, Dark Surprise) through to the final clout of the unstoppably anthemic New Race, and the frenetic climax of their killer take on the 13th Floor Elevators classic You’re Gonna Miss Me.

For the disciples and true believers out in force tonight, the legacy of this mythically revered unit burns brightly still…

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