Radio Birdman

Live shot

Phases & Stages
Photo By John Anderson

Radio Birdman

Emo's, June 24

Rumbling down Dick Dale's "Pipeline" in a deep tonal swell of bass, opener "Hand of Law" assaulted Emo's front room 30 years after its statute of limitations had gone the way of the Tasmanian tiger. Frontman Rob Younger, whose stringy blond sneer menaced right out of a Hammer B-movie hair-raiser, barked, swiveled, and thrust, guitarist Deniz Tek instantly shooting the Aussie quintet's feral curl like the Silver Surfer. "Do the Pop" ramped up its 45 rpm to 78 mph next, Tek's speed-drill solo extricating all cavities in the awestruck sweatbox performance space. "Non-Stop Girls" finally smashed the knob off, speed, volume, adrenal. Never has a Fifties sock hop met mid-Seventies nihilism so long after the fact and still staggered the hardcores, skeptics, and totally uninitiated with such unmitigated resolve. Bar bands from Down Under, punk progenitors to AC/DC, INXS, Nick Cave, never lose that outback shack attack, neither afraid to sweat buckets nor throw a left-right combo. None flew in the mosh pit, which stood mostly paralyzed through a barrage of open-throttle-rods, including "I-94," Blue Öyster Cult cover "Hot Rails to Hell," and opening Zeno Beach reunion salvo "You Just Make It Worse" and gross understatement "We've Come So Far (To Be Here Today)." Following "Alone in the End Zone," sharp stick in the "Burn My Eye '78" finally unleashed Austin's pogo brigade, the agitated front row of stage ravers one heaving mass during "What Gives?" which ended in a hail of plastic cups. "Aloha Steve & Danno" hung 10, the band chanting "Book 'em, Danno – murder one" with SWAT-team precision. Radio Birdman was murderous, no doubt, encore quartet "Breaks My Heart," "Murder City Nights," the Kinks' "Till the End of the Day," and last slap "New Race" inciting frenzied denial that it was ending at the 70-minute mark. The wait: worth every last wrinkle.

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