Best Gigs The Rockbrat’s Seen ? Radio Birdman (1996)

Rob Younger through the Rockbrat lens

Who: Radio Birdman  When: Sands Hotel, Narrabeen, Sydney, January 10, 1996

The Narrabeen Sands Hotel, on Sydney’s northern beaches, was the venue for the first ‘official’ date of the much anticipated Birdman reunion tour – and I could indeed whiff the smell of anticipation, blended with a large dose of excitement as I entered the doors of the old Royal Antler. Needless to say, by the time the band strode onto the stage – which was cloaked in red and black – the joint was packed and jumping. The opening bars of ‘Hand Of Law’ churned the soul and it was evident that Younger, Tek and co. weren’t here to disappoint. A mean workout of ‘Burn My Eye’ was next and few, if any, prisoners were taken. ‘Smith and Wesson Blues’ was delivered with maximum ferocity to an eager and hungry audience. “Where were you when we needed you ?” a band member asks the big crowd, with direct reference to a bygone era. Good question. The stinging guitar intro of ‘Hanging On’ cuts finely through the air – Masuak and Tek are in fine form tonight and their playing is razer sharp. A rollicking version of ‘455 sd’ followed, setting limbs in motion. ‘Descent Into The Maelstrom’ was pure sorcery, impressing the socks off the peninsular surf set to boot. Rob’s handling of ‘Love Kills’ was rare, vintage stuff – to watch him swagger and sweat with the Birdman logo behind him this evening is proof that dreams can sometimes come true. ‘Crying Sun’, ‘Anglo Girl Desire’, ‘What Gives’….when a band can get up and deliver songs of such calibre with such velocity after a near twenty year hiatus, the legend and myths can only loom larger. Birdman ’96 would be the first reformation/comeback in recent history that could honestly be dubbed a success – a significant achievement indeed. The fire and intent pumping through ‘i.94’ was enough to discourage even the most jaded and cynical of doubters – besides, any song that name checks Eskimo Pies and Rolling Rock is apples with me. ‘Murder City Nights’ meant business too, Klondike and Deniz demonstrating that there were no pseudo musicians in this lot. Encore ‘Aloha Steve and Danno’ was more than a moment always worth savouring – the waxheads going truly mental. ‘New Race’, the call to arms for rock n roll soldiers everywhere continued the frenzied mayhem. ‘Breaks My Heart’, ‘You’re Gonna Miss Me’ and ‘T.V Eye’ were the second batch of encores, winding up a truly momentous evening. Younger, Masuak, Tek, Hoyle, Keeley and Gilbert; they came back, they didn’t suck – a rockin’ good time had by all !  (originally published in Vicious Kitten fanzine in 1995)

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