The Triffid is an amazing venue to see live music. Even yours truly (who is vertically impaired) could see the stage from anywhere in the venue, and the sound fills the room.
That being said, once we entered the room, the first band, Los Chicos, were about to play and it was about 25% full. That was soon to change. I love going to a gig and getting pleasantly surprised by a band you were not expecting. This was Los Chicos. Hailing from Spain, the punk, bouncing, full throttle power-pop was an infectious groove, and if you didn’t move then you must have been dead or unconscious.
Lead singer Rafa Sunen looks like Walker Texas Ranger but taller, the twin brothers Gerardo and Antonio guitar go off on guitar, the bass player is all over the fretboard, and the drummer is like the Energiser Bunny on amphetamines. It was foot-to-the-floor rock and roll, with shades South Australia’s subliminal rockers Seminal Rats. The crowd loved them, and they loved the crowd back. This was their fifth visit to Australia, and will not miss them on their sixth.
Up next were Brisvegas rockers Hits. These guys are always provide the goods. The room was full after Los Chicos dragged them in and it was rocking. Hits have a great sound and the laconic vocals of Richard ‘Evil Dick’ Hunt are perfectly juxtaposed to the vocal back ups from Tamara and Stacey, the all-girl ripping guitar engine room of Hits. Solid, sweaty, hard and rocking, these guys know how to rock a room, and they certainly did. The whole crowded ratcheted up a few more levels, and it was getting to next level of loud and sweaty.
Then it was time for what most had come from hundreds miles around to see. As a young lad in the early 1980s, like all of my mates I worshiped Radio Birdman, and was hit with sadness after they descended into the maelstrom then crashed and burned. That all changed when they reformed in 1996. It was like a miracle had taken place. Move on 22 years, and the line up is different, but the hard rocking music they produce is the same.
The crowd was amped and the band ripped in, opening with ‘Do the Pop’. Deniz Tek was ripping out the riffs, and Rob Younger was doing his zombie dance, as the favourites of all and many were played. It was played at full pace with volume at 11, and the crowd were singing along to most of the set list. One special treat was when they covered The Doors’ ‘Not to Touch the Earth’ – an amazing version. I have never heard anyone play this live and it was great to hear it in all its splendour (and I am sure Rob Younger was channeling the Lizard King himself.)
Highlights were ‘Angelo Girl Desire’, ‘i94’, ‘Smith and Wesson Blues’, and the of course the 13th Floor Elevators song ‘You’re Gonna Miss Me’, which they wrapped up the encore with. Yes we are going to miss Radio Birdman, but I don’t think my ears will, as the lyric goes “My ears screaming, said you gotta go” . I did and I was glad. Top gig, top venue, and a very satisfying night.