Radio Birdman | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Radio Birdman 

These Australian legends took their spot in the Great Brief Spurt hall of fame when early-80s underground-rock geeks pronounced their 1978 debut LP, Radios Appear, a lost punk classic. (Sire dropped the band just months after the release, and they promptly broke up.) The geeks were right: even among the other great cuts on the 2001 Sub Pop collection The Essential Radio Birdman (1974-1978), the Radios Appear tracks jump out. (A posthumous follow-up, Living Eyes, is clearly a lesser album but still sorely underrated.) The influence of the Stooges and the MC5 is all over the Birdman catalog--writer-guitarist Deniz Tek is a Michigan native--and though thousands have worked the same territory since, the stuff still sounds fresh. But the really remarkable thing about Radio Birdman is that they've managed to make a decent comeback record nearly 30 years later. Zeno Beach (Yep Roc)--with original members Tek, vocalist Rob Younger, guitarist Chris Masuak, and keyboardist Pip Hoyle, plus a new rhythm section including drummer Russell Hopkinson of You Am I--is a lively and vivid collection of 70s grease-punk riffery and droll, smart hard-rock songwriting. This show's part of the Double Door's second annual Electric City Rockfest; SSM, Easy Action, and the Lustkillers open; DJ Gregg Kostelich spins between bands. Sat 9/2, 9 PM, Double Door, 1572 N. Milwaukee, 773-489-3160 or 312-559-1212, $20.

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