Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Radio Birdman-JUNE 2, 2007, THE BLENDER THEATER, NEW YORK, N.Y. CD-R (burn sent to me by Paul McGarry a long time ago though I'm only seriously getting to listen to it now)

"These reunion things are the bust." Can you (the ever-discerning BLOG TO COMM reader) guess which World-Famous rock critic made the above statement? Was it Mike McGonigal? Chuck Eddy?? Parke Puterbaugh??? No, none of these well-known rockscribes we've been paying attention to all these years in order to decide where we dump our hard-begged moolah have said the above (though choice #1 once scribbled something to the effect that only jazz groups can do the reunion thing OK), and come to think of it, neither did I make that very same remark either in my writings or via the ether (though I am disqualified, for I am NOT a "rock critic" [sheesh!] nor am I famous by any stretch of the imagination). If you do know who made this statement, please write me in care of this blog.

Actually, for a guy who was paying attention when the Velvet Underground briefly reformed in the early-nineties (although they turned their entire oeuvre into a warmed over greatest hits package with a few new turdballs thrown in whilst doing so) and actually dug not only the Stooges' TELLURIC CHAOS live set but THE WEIRDNESS, I'd probably be the LAST person who would even conceive of dumping all over the reunion of past glories even if said regroupings would somehow tarnish our old memories of cashing in pop bottles in order to scam these groups' latest recordings. But sheesh, I gotta admit that looking at recent snaps of the Sonics live had me feeling like I too was just about ready for the rocking chair and Depends...I mean, couldn't these guys've gotten back together twenny years back when they at least looked a lot less ready for the Social Security rolls???

Anyway here's this Radio Birdman reunion disque I got like late last summer or early in the fall from Paul McGarry (who else?), and although I spun the thing was back when I first got it just to tell Paul "I heard it" it wasn't like I was exactly paying attention that closely. Frankly, Radio Birdman were one of those groups that I thought was extremely hotcha way back in the eighties, although by the nineties I wasn't exactly busting down the barn doors in order to play any of their albums 'cept maybe for that great SOLDIERS OF ROCK & ROLL documentary LP. And besides, their "locale" wasn't exactly a zipcode where I'd prefer ro spend any great amount of time, at least if I weren't packing any heat, and sure Radio Birdman were from Sydney and not Melbourne but to this Yankee Doo-Doo it's still too close for comfort!

Anyway this recording was taken from an En Why See appearance last summer at the start of a tour that I understand was such a bust that promoters hadda drag people in off the streets to help fill up the venue a la Von Lmo's infamous Palladium gig. Maybe not, but I guess the group finished up their tour of the states pretty whipped and dejected o'er the lack of response, but then again what can you expect from a general music populace that takes banality at both extremes to heart and has foregone high energy for muzak even schmoozier than the Vicki Carr of their parents' generation!

SQ's surprisingly thin, almost sounding like an audience tape circa the early-nineties when the technowhiz was getting better but glitches were par for the course. However the performance is still pretty high-energy and a lot more vivacious than the recent Rocket From The Tombs' attempts at the same post-Detroit whirl (albeit nowhere as good as what the Stooges could cook up on TELLURIC CHAOS). Rob Younger still sounds as mid-Amerigan garage as he did on those old recordings (and the fact that he now looks like one of those balding fifty-plus longhairs that always sit next to you at the free clinic only makes us follically-impaired ones a lot more at ease!) and the rest of the band seems to be playing it just as hard as they were back in the seventies, almost as if they just picked up where they left off almost as if 1978 segued directly into 2007. Maybe they're not as energetic as they could've been on some of those live '76 tapes true, but it still whips the butt of most Amerigaindie rock 2008 so quit complainin'!

The old material's cooked up just fine enough although I frankly thought that the new stuff wasn't up to par. Too same-y in its sameness I guess. Still the overall performance and jams being kicked out are just as nut-twist as they were back inna day, and not only that but the covers of BOC, the Who and Kinks show that Birdman were most certaily heavy-duty contenders in the hard rock game and if they played their cards right they could even have been as big as...the Imperial Dogs???

If you think that this writeup is a harbinger of things to come then you may just be right! Y'see, in today's mail I happened to get a package from something called Shock Records in (eck!) Melbourne, the garbage scow of the earth, featuring some CDs that I may actually PLAY despite my better judgement. Two of 'em are by the Hitmen, that hotcha aggregate featuring Chris Masuak ex-Birdman (a guy whom I understand is difficult to get along with, and if this is so MORE POWER TO HIM!) while the third is yet another edition of DO THE POP!, a sampler of even more seventies rarities from some of your Australian faveraves crammed into two CDs making for an instant party in your ears, or instant insanity depending on which side of the vomitorium you crawled outta. But the question is...shall I review these items even if they come from the City that also houses the one called You-Know-Who??? (I mean, what if the guy even touched these???? Ooooh the cooties!) As usual, your votes will tell.

(An' let's give a little hand, for the boys in the, give it for Rick Noll for letting me use these Younger snaps he sent my way! A twenty-one straw-shoot salute to you, Rick!)

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