Radio Birdman/Died Pretty/Kim Salmon
The Gov Sunday 25 June 2017
Review by Geoff Jenke
Tonight The Gov captured a couple of the best Australian artists of the 70’s and 80’s on one bill. Radio Birdman burst on the scene in 1974 with an energy and attitude previously unseen in this land. By the time of their demise in 1978 they had overturned the way the music scene operated, allowing for independent bands and labels to flourish. Died Pretty formed in 1983 and released a series of lauded indie albums and in 1991 the Australian classic, Doughboy Hollow was released. Singer Ron Peno maintains it was “a special album for us. I think it was criminal that it was ignored”. On the back of two great singles, D.C. and Sweetheart the album did make the top 20.
Kim Salmon has been associated with classic Australian bands, The Scientists, Beasts of Bourbon and The Surrealists. He has even released an album “With the guys from Mudhoney” as well as several magnificent solo albums. Kim opened proceedings with a solo set. Just he, a guitar and what looked like a Sony walkman strung around his neck. It was noise, cool Beast of Bourbon song, guitar solo and then more noise. Interesting!
Kim Salmon 6/10
The tour dictates the bands alternate headline each night and today it was Died Pretty’s turn to start proceedings. They seemed to be out to make it hard for Radio Birdman to top them. Starting with some searing guitar work from Brett Myers on Just Skin and great vocal performance from Ron Peno, the band hit the stage flying. Stops ‘N’ Starts followed and from there it was just one great song after another. Songs from Doughboy Hollow album dominated the night and it was great to hear the wonderful Sweetheart, DC and Doused live again. A wild driving Winterland finished the set with Brett Myers again showing what a great guitarist he is.
If we thought the main set was great, the encore set new standards with the songs Stop Myself and Radio. However it was the final song, Desperate Hours that was the stand out track of the night. Rarely ever played live since it’s 1985 recording, tonight it was hauntingly beautiful while at times sounding like a Doors live performance. Ron Peno struts about the stage, his whole body in gyrating in sync with the music at all times.
A totally magnificent performance from one of Australia’s most underrated bands.
Died Pretty 9/10
For awhile in the 1970’s Radio Birdman was the most dangerous band in Australia. During their brief existence they only released one album, Radios Appear. In the past 40 years they have released two more studio albums as well as a series of live albums. For the past 3 years they have been a regular touring outfit.
Despite being ten years older than the opening act, Died Pretty, they were not going to lie down to them. They hit the stage all guns blazing and the mostly middle age crowd started moshing immediately. A sight to behold. They opened with a ferocious cover of the 13th Floor Elevators You’re Gonna Miss Me sliding effortlessly into their classic Do The Pop. From there on they covered all their “big” songs I-94, Alone in the Endzone and Man in the Golden Helmet and many more. Furious? They did 22 songs in just over an hour while Died Pretty did 16 over ninety minutes.
The set ended with New Race and the floor erupted with everyone calling out the “Yeah- Hups’, arms raised as required. Rob Younger, while not getting any younger, still has an amazing voice and Deniz Tek still the coolest guy ever on guitar, shredding out chords of noise all night.
The encore took the night to whole new level with a cover of the Stooges No Fun, a blistering Aloha Steve and Danny before bringing the place down with TV Eye.
Died Pretty 8/10
Both bands were superb. Both bands have a rightful place in the history of Australian rock and are still vital and relevant today as they were 30 and 45 years ago when we and they were young.
An almost sold out Gov crowd enjoyed an awesome night.