Radio Birdman – (with Los Chicos) -The Gov – Sunday 30 September 2018
Words Geoff Jenke
Radio Birdman have been regular visitors to Adelaide in recent years. This visit is just before they set off on a 22-date tour of Europe, as their new documentary, Decent into the Maelstrom, has been gaining a lot of attention over there.
Radio Birdman always bring great support bands along with them. Last year it was Died Pretty on tour and this time, at The Gov, they bought Spanish band, Los Chico. Described as soul, country, punk gospel, Los Chico were in fact furious frantic and fast. Formed around the year 2000, Los Chicos have released seven albums, the latest, this year’s By Medical Prescription.
Los Chicos exploded onto the stage and were relentless for nearly an hour. I don’t know where they get the energy from with all members running all over the stage and often into the audience. Several times we had the three guitarists and the singer in the crowd with only the drummer left on stage. Singer Rafa Sunen climbed railings and tables in the room while continuing to sing to the audience. Drummer Ral Garcia hit the drums hard and often all set.
Songs came from all albums over their career. With titles like Party Boogie, Party Train, King of the Party one gets the feeling they do like to party and hard. Where most bands members have a few beers on stage, Los Chicos drink wine – straight form the bottle. We also got I Don’t Wanna Learn Anymore, Muddy Muddy and a brutal closing two songs in Beer Ain’t Drinking and Nothing from their latest album. Nineteen songs in just under an hour. It wasn’t only the band who needed a rest at the end, the audience did as well.
Radio Birdman, along with The Saints were one of the first bands in Australia to carry the punk label. Formed in 1974, they took their name from a misheard Stooges lyric in the song “1970”. (The lyric was actually “radio burnin’”). The Birdman only released one album, Radio Appears, in their short 4-year career. They did record a second album, Living Eyes but the tapes were held and it wasn’t released until 1981, long after their break up.
Radio Birdman still have a faithful following with The Gov packed on Sunday night. Have I mentioned furious fast frantic before in the review? Well Radio Birdman were all of these. Opening with Do the Pop, the crowd were pogoing from the start. They followed it up with Smith and Wesson Blues and bought out all their greatest songs during an epic 21 song set.
Rob younger is a man of few words, letting the music do the talking. All we got from him was a few “thank you”’, but no complaints here as all we wanted was the music. The songs sounded as fresh, raw and dangerous today as they did back in 1977. Highlight of the night was an extended Man with the Golden Helmet, with the band coming to the fore with some brilliant almost blues playing, Deniz Tek effortlessly peeling off some great riffs. The pit went crazy with 50-year-old + fans “going off” to the frantic set closer New Race.
They came back and Deniz told us they would “play a few more tunes”. Surprise package of the night was a cover of Amboy Jukes, 1968 classic, Journey to the Centre of the Mind. A very young Ted Nugent features in this band and is worth checking out on Youtube. They would be proud of Radio Birdman’s version, in fact, after The Man with Golden Helmet, this was the best song of the night. Aloha Steve and Danno and the 13th Floor Elevator’s Your Gonna Miss Me closed out a great set.
Radio Birdman may no longer be the most dangerous band in the country, but they sure can still dish up a great serving of pure fast rock and roll.
An awesome night of music.