Discovering Radio Birdman just that bit too late in the early 80s was both a blessing and a huge disappointment to me. Blessed that Australia’s pre-eminent ‘punk’ band actually existed, disappointed that somehow they had been largely ignored and weren’t even able to be recognised as an underground or alternative band in the same way as Midnight Oil, the champions of the Aussie alternative at the time before going on to commercial recognition. I remember a sense of dread that the Oils, who I saw as on their own untouchable plane were being usurped in my personal hierarchy of bands that actually meant something on a level that went beyond music.
The age of reunion tours saw Birdman hitting the stage again in the 90s and sporadically in the 00s and 10s, and I’ve still not managed to witness them live. Now more well-known than in their heyday, a new generation (dare I say a New Race?) of recruits to the Birdman sound and ethos have access to more music and video than ever before. Of particular interest to me is a live show filmed at Adelaide’s Marryatville Hotel in 1977 which I had video-taped from TV and was promptly taped over with the movie Dune by my mate. Needless to say he’s not my mate now and I’ve never watched Dune. Sting can get fucked too.
I just love the pole in the middle of the stage and the nerdy guy clapping along up the front. Rob’s two microphones taped together and failed stage dive/crowd surf are Punk as Fuck™.
The new doco Descent Into The Maelstrom features footage from that show and rare interviews, as the band forges ahead into a fifth decade of their musical blitzkrieg mission. It’ll be a must-see for long-time fans and a comprehensive history lesson/initiation for the other 99%. Yeah Hup!