Radio Birdman live in 2014: Two perspectives

emmy-manning-wideEmmy Etie photo

The tour is almost over and the verdicts are in following a re-tooling of the line-up with the controversial omission of guitarist Chris Masuak. We present divergent views of the sold-out Australian run of Radio Birdman shows.

Go here to read an appraisal of the Adelaide gig by Robert Brokenmouth and here to read Edwin Garland's read-out on the band's two Melbourne gigs. You can leave comments on both reviews. Photos are by Emmy Etie and Kyleigh Pitcher. 

A Fistful of Desert Blues - Lydia Lunch and Cypress Grove (Rustblade)

fistfulThe cover - taken by Lydia Lunch - shows the ruins of an ancient desert city. Could be Jericho. Whether Jericho is in the Mid-East or the West of the USA makes little difference. We’re dealing with perennial humanity in a perilous place with a mythological backdrop. But, you know, the Israelis and the Palestinians are still killing each other, and as I say, it’s a big thing on a big, operatic stage with no solution and no apparent beginning, never mind end…

… and there are plenty of abandoned towns in Australia… it doesn’t take much, just a bit of intolerance and a bit of ignorance, and idealism for a hopeless, not very sensible cause…

If Footmen Tire You - The Bloody Hollies (Alive Naturalsound)

bloodyholliesjpgIf one of those great, booze-soaked rock and roll weekends like Garage Shock or the Las Vegas Shakedown were still a going concern (correct me if I'm wrong and one of them still is ) the Bloody Hollies would have been one of those bands that came in unheralded, blew everyone away and sold a ton at the merch table. And anyone who picked this album up would have been plenty satisfied 'cos it's 30 minutes of fire-breathin' punk fury.

Touched – The Nice Folk (self released)

touched cover“Touched” LP is this six-piece Wollongong band’s second full studio album release in eight years. Their last long player (“Devil at My Door”) passed by the Bar without dropping in for a beer, so I’m not up-to-speed with everything that’s occurred along the way.

The thing I know is that there’s a marked difference between “Touched” and the early “Guide To Sedation & Isolation” EP, so let’s focus on that.

Measuring the Space Between Us All - The Hadron Colliders (Interstellar Records)

measuring-hadronFlashback: I remember the first time I heard REM. Paul had just bought their first LP and we sat in his little bedroom, listening with something akin to amazement.

Now, I mention REM’s first LP because it was one of those exclamation mark moments, similar to “Measuring the Space” by inner-western Sydney band The Hadron Colliders.

My response to hearing this was immediate and positive, and I’ve now spun “Measuring the Space”…over and over.

Good Lord - Crazy & The Brains (Baldy Longhair Records)

good-lordThis New Jersey four-piece might be one of the oddest bands to grace the reviews section of the I-94 Bar - or most other places. if you know of any others to have a lead xylophone/glockenspeil player as backing vocalist, well you know our address.

OK, Dave Graney uses a fair chunk of vibraphone in some of his music. Mark Sultan made a killer solo record("The Sultanic Verses") with dinky keys and xylophone. Tommy Hall’s jug rhythms made 13th Floor Elevators sound other-worldy. Using a glockenspiel as a melodic advice puts Crazy & The Brains in a different category.

True Believer - Michael Cullen (Speartackle)

true-believerWell, this is a first, I think. This is a four bottle CD, and I really do dislike it. However, I disliked it a lot less after the second listen, and by now (fourth spin) it’s beginning to grow on me.

Michael Cullen’s last CD, 2011’s “Love Transmitter”, I am unfamiliar with, but it seems all who heard it loved it. This fact, plus the quality of “True Believer” (I can see shedloads of you shelling out to hold it in your hands, then scampering out to see the man in the flesh) gives me pause.

“True Believer” takes us through loves lost and almost won, via European streets and Melbourne alleys, dashed hopes and determined belief and - a certain contempt amid the vulnerability.

Rev - Reverend Horton Heat (Victory Records)

revThere’s a lot of ‘50s revival acts and actors out there. And, I suspect for most, it’s just a bit of harmless narcissism. But the Rev…?

Have you ever stood in a jammed-in-crowded room and suddenly felt a large hand grip your balls and give them a playful squeeze? And there’s no-one around who looks like it was them..?

“Rev”, The Rev’s umpteenth LP, is full-tilt, in ya face, grabs your privates, smart, sassy, intelligent rock’n’roll from the old school.

Motors, Women, Booze, Drugs. Booze & Killing - The Sick Livers (self released)

sick-livers-epThere’s a case to be made for not messing with the tried and tested formula of two sharp-edged guitars, a raucous singer and an energetic engine room and Welsh band The Sick Livers knows it only too well.

If you thought South Wales was only good for rugby union, Harry Secombe and massed male choirs, think again. The Sick Livers add glam punk (“glunk”) to the list in emphatic style. “Motors, Women, Drugs, Booze & Killing” doesn’t break any fresh ground in terms of musical style or lyrical content - but don’t let that deter you if you prefer your cocktails served in the gutter without extraneous fruit or little paper umbrellas.

These five gnarly Welshmen won’t win any beauty contests but latch onto three chords like a starving Pembroke Corgi chomping down on a Glamorgan sausage after a five-day fast. They name-check Turbonegro (and especially fair call) and Backyard Babies in their bio and even some bloke called Glen Matlock likes ‘em. No, that doesn’t mean they sound like the Beatles, smart arse.