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DIED PRETTY & RADIO BIRDMAN @ Capitol gets 8.5/10

Radio Birdman & Died Pretty @ Capitol
w/ The Volcanics
Saturday, June 17, 2017


It was one of the most highly anticipated double bills of 2017. Warming up the early Saturday night crowd for the Died Pretty/Radio Birdman assault was our very own Volcanics.

Frontman Johnny Phatouris commands the current incarnation of The Volcanics with the respect and formulation that it deserves.  The twin guitar attack and lock-tight rhythm section lays its rigid foundations for some of that good old rock n roll. Highly charged in its Detroit leanings, some new music off their upcoming album sounded slick indeed – washing well with the amassed purists who turned up to watch their 7.30 to 8.00pm set. The Volcanics put in a fine performance. They displayed excellent musicianship, occasionally flirting with the dangerous energy of their collective opulence. See you at the album launch.

The applause was indicative of the anticipation as Radio Birdman assembled onstage for Blitzkrieg 2017. Opening chords of live favourite, You’re Gonna Miss Me preceded Do The Pop and Crying Sun, giving everyone a reason to bop away on their vantage point. A charge of recent works, from 2006 album Zeno Beach, included We’ve Come So Far (To Be Here Today) and You Just Make It Worse – sounding both complimentary and vital within the arsenal of tonight’s set. As we were delivered citations, a Spotify-like list of top tracks from Radio’s Appear and Living Eyes, the band showed that their appeal as a hot ticket live act isn’t without its merit.

Vocalist Rob Younger got to channeling his voracious frontman persona, directing hits like Descent Into The Maelstrom, Man With The Golden Helmet and I94 with certain shrieks, wails and postured stares at the audience. Guitarist Deniz Tek led the twin guitar attack from his firmly planted spot on the stage, busily exorcising his will through Murder City Nights, Anglo Girl Desire and crowd deal-breaker Aloha Steve and Danno.  Having taken every opportunity within the last 20 years to see Radio Birdman play live, I can affirm that I have yet to be anything but impressed by the experience. Factors that would play against a lesser band are no match for Radio Birdman. History has proved it isn’t a coincidence.

A raizing rendition of Stooges classic, TV Eye, signaled the end of tonight’s set, after which Radio Birdman took their bows and gave thanks. Can’t remember having that much fun before 10PM on a Saturday night in a long time.

Running out of time before the 11pm kick-out, it was up to Died Pretty to close out the evening’s address. As a gushing lover of music, I think it is an immense pleasure to discover, or click, with something you have long known about – but had never found the focus to. Tonight could have been the night for me. Long have I heard the tortured and pure strains of Died Pretty front man Ronald S. Peno. A rough beauty in stature and sound, Peno’s delivery – accompanied by their certain sound – was as thoughtful as its message. Not without ageless swagger, the tunes held up our high feelings from the energetic Radio Birdman set – their thoughtful layers of sound brooding just beneath the point break.

A set enjoyed by the long-time fans, and new players alike.


Photo by Black Nicholson

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