Radio Birdman @ Brudenell Social Club

Posted by vibrations on 07-07-16

Today marks the day that Australian punk pioneers, Radio Birdman, return to Leeds for the first time since 1978 in a huge comeback tour.  It’s a great turnout at the Brudenell Social Club - the perfect place to welcome back the very first Australian punk band in history.

The first band to grace the compact Brudenell stage tonight are York three piece, The Franceens. At first glance, they’re an unlikely looking combination - a young female bassist-vocalist accompanied by two burly men. The Franceens were a great start to the night regardless, their sound mimicking that of The Vines’ and The Buzzcocks with a psychobilly twist. Sporting matching bowling shirts - an image which matches their sound perfectly - each member had individual charm too. The surf drums in the song ‘Trigger’, the lead guitarist’s sense of humour which was bigger than the room itself, and the originality and style of the bassist made a wonderful combination of aesthetically pleasing harmonies, skill, charisma and Presley-esque dance moves.

Californian duo, The Fuckin Godoys were second to support, offering a change of pace following The Franceens. The pair consisted of a skilled guitarist and drummer, whose songs scream rebellion through raspy vocals, huge sound and plenty of attitude. The guitarist made great use of the stage space, and along with drummer’s ceaseless energy, the duo wholly compensated for a lack of bodies on stage, with faultless stage presence. The only downside was the use of head-mics, that unfortunately created a muffled, muddy sound. Needless to say though, everyone in the venue turned sucker for the dad rock duo’s Bryan Adams-style songs and punky instrumentals. Many of the crowd flaunted their merch which is testament to the fact that these guys are real crowd pleasers, who drive plenty of thought and practice into their music.

On to the return of the legends. Red stage lights are aglow as the crowd awaits in a frenzy of whooping. Finally, the anticipation bubble burst as the timeless six-piece bombarded the stage as if it was second nature. It’s a pleasant evolution of the spritely, young lads who were diving around onstage back in the 70’s, contrasting to the godly, ripened musicians onstage before us tonight.

It’s clear that over the years that they’ve influenced many bands on the indie and punk scene. Lead vocalist, Rob Younger, had sass to spare with moves that would put Jagger to shame He is an absolute delight to watch, and makes the rest of the band look like session musicians. Younger is the type of front man who gets better with age, not once did he stop moving around, making great use of the space. The keyboard player looked cool as a cucumber in his pink shirt and shades on stage left, and the drummer certainly made his presence known behind the wall of the other musicians.

If you’ve ever seen a Radio Birdman show, then you’d be right to expect the punky, gritty sound that they delivered tonight. The tightness of the band was better than ever - proving that forty years of experience and friendship certainly pays off! Crazy facial expressions, an unaltered sound and the classic tunes were just a few of the focal points of the gig which transported the audience back to the 70’s, when Radio Birdman last graced Leeds.  ‘Aloha Steve and Danno’ concluded the night, which exploded an insane ruckus into the room. Radio Birdman came back more flawless and effortless as ever seen before, with no hesitations or limits, and mounds of swagger and fun. Radio Birdman are as great as live music gets.

Oliivia Hale