Saturday, July 7, 2007

Weekend video: Radio Birdman

Yeah, I've been slacking; get used to it. I'm going out of town again this week, so I'll post a couple more Airplane cuts at the end of the week, then get back to a regular schedule the following Monday. Meanwhile, have a video.

Been slowly making my way through Clinton Heylin's Babylon's Burning for the past month or so (full review on the Key whenever I finish; lots to cover here). One of the things that separates it from previous punk history tomes (and I've read my share) is Heylin's coverage of Australia's modest mid-70s proto-punk scene, basically the work of a few dozen misfits who managed to get their hands on copies of Fun House and Kick Out the Jams.

Radio Birdman were the biggest instigators in Sydney and "New Race" was their big, um, hit. Try to overlook the disconcertingly fascist overtones and just focus on the lunatic in the white tux. The singer's dance moves are a treat in their own right as well.

According to the notes from whoever posted it on YouTube the performance is from April 1977, but I've seen the same footage posted elsewhere (and with added closing credits, as though it were edited as the conclusion of a longer program) with a date of December the same year. According to Heylin they played a triumphant gig at the Paddington at the end of that year, so I'm inclined to believe the latter, but who knows?

All in all a pretty tasty little MC5 knockoff. Lost classic? You decide.

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