Radio Birdman “Live in Texas” – LP Review

Review: Lana Harris

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  Radio Birdman are Australian old school punk rock, around since the times of The Saints and inevitably compared to them. Their punk elements blend with a healthy dash of the pub rock feel that often comes from Australian acts. Radio Birdman are the group you can chuck it on at a party and no-one will text you at four in the morning asking ‘who was that playing when I downed the tenth shot of tequila?’ because its one line chorus has been stuck in their head ever since. Instead, partygoers will subtly begin to sway and bop their head (way before it could be attributed to intoxication) or be heard humming one of the hooky riffs as they exit the bathroom.

Live in Texas is exactly as the name suggests. Sixteen tracks captured at two gigs in the mega state by a radio station who wanted to broadcast the tracks as part of their Radio Sessions. This desire of the station was fortuitous for Radio Birdman, because it results in the dirty grunginess of a live show smeared across a pristine recording surface that has been cleaned of almost all extraneous live sounds. The result is all of the energy and little of the noise of watching crowds. A few claps and cheers sporadically appear but that’s it: no chirping banter from Radio Birdman or between tracks fumbling. Live recordings are nothing new for Radio Birdman: before Live in Texas, the band saw six live recordings released – half of these bootlegs with their resultant poorer quality sounds. Live in Texas provides the opposite experience.

Some tracks are better than others. A cover of The Who’s ‘Circles’ particularly stood out, as did the anthemic ‘More Fun’. But favourites will come down to personal preference rather than the result of changing production values/ sound quality, because these aspects are tight across the recording. Three of the tracks are previously unrecorded covers, and the remaining tracks are drawn from across the bands turbulent career.

Like pub food, Radio Birdman is solid, familiar and filling. You know what you’ll get (nothing too way out) and that’s part of the satisfaction gained. Live in Texas, with its structured sampling of Radio Birdman’s work across the evolution of incarnations, is as much a compilation record as a live album, particularly with its cleaned up sound. With its live energy, crisp production and ‘best of’ qualities, Live in Texas is a reminiscent walk through a piece of Australian rock history that’s easy to leave on repeat.

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More articles by Lana Harris:
* Montpelier ‘Last Boat’ Single Review
* Weezer “Hurley” – LP Review
* Soilwork “The Panic Broadcast” – LP Review
* Danza Contemporanea De Cuba @ The Playhouse (Brisbane Festival), 15th September 2010 – Live Review
* Polarity @ The Judith Wright Centre, Brisbane 13th September 2010 – Live Review
* Betrayal @ The Cremorne Theatre, Brisbane 10th September 2010 – Live Review
* Crow “Arcane” – LP Review
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