Wow what a gig… Which also happened to double as an old mates reunion. The room was crowded, filled with anticipation, sweat and love… And plenty of movement…
The night started with Spanish rockers Los Chicos. These guys get you moving, have an amazing energy, and really put the “perform” in the word performance.
The Stems were up next. I remember the first time I saw them back in 1984 or 1985. Maybe at Surfers Surf Club? At the Cooly Pub they played well and most fans were giving great feedback, enjoying songs that they cranked out. I was hoping to hear ‘She’s a Monster’ and ‘Tears Me in Two Ways’, but you don’t always get what you want, or so Mick Jagger says. They were good but I felt the crowd was gripped by pre-Birdman anticipation.
The saying is that anticipation is a bitch. This one certainly wasn’t, it was more like a bubbling volcano ready to explode. Mates and Matettes were fully loaded and ready to go. Radio Birdman did not warm into it, they hit the ground like a 100 metre track sprinter, straight off the blocks at top speed, opening with the under two-minute-long classic ‘Burn My Eye’. They kept firing, and firing again, only to slow with ‘Man with Golden Helmet’ to let the punters catch their breath. That was after they played six full speed Radio Birdman classics with few, if any, gaps between songs. They were ON and the crowd was in a frenzy. “They blew the roof off man”, “That was sick”, “How was that?” were the raves from some seriously stoked fans. The band is sounding the best it has for at least 10 years.
But the topper was the encore. In all my years of seeing the band, I have never heard them play ‘Monday Morning Gunk’ – and as the rhythmic picking started, I thought I was hearing things. Wow, and didn’t they rip in. They then finished with one of the best cover versions of the MC5’s ‘Kick out the Jams’ I have ever heard! Man, it was that good. The froth on facebook and videos flooding my feed tonight is a testament to that – Yeah Hup!
Images (C) Peter Wheeler Photography