Artists | Issues | CD Reviews | Interviews | Concert Reviews | DVD/Video Reviews | Book Reviews | Who We Are | Staff | Home
 
Concert Reviews

Budgie

Live in Adelaide, Australia, February 2008

Review by Bruce Stringer

It had been a long, long time and the anticipation was somewhat overwhelming but the day finally arrived and Welsh band Budgie hit the stage at The Gov in Adelaide, South Australia. Since forming in 1968 this was Budgie’s first appearance "down under" and – like Yes’ first appearance in Australia in over 30 years – the fans were out in force to support this legendary act. I spoke with longtime fans who seemed slightly quizzical as to expectations. They knew that this would be something else, something great and probably under-appreciated by many, but none had calculated just how staggeringly brilliant this trio would be.

The set opener was "Panzer Division Destroyed," a stop-start thumper that got the crowd fisting the air. The sweaty mass of alcohol drenched T-shirts bobbed up and down as Burke Shelley swaggered about on stage punishing his Fender bass. Peering from under his thick, curly hair his greeting to the audience drew a roar of appreciation and the odd fan toppling onto the floor with an, "I can’t believe these guys are here!" escaping from the obligatory stretched larynx. Soon the guys had introduced a new number from their recent CD "You’re All Living In Cuckooland" – a balls-to-the-wall rocker, if ever there was one! The crowd never missed a beat as they lapped up every strangled guitar note and skin smash as if it were part of the classic Budgie catalogue – maybe it will be a classic in years to come. Craig Goldy played guitar with technical brilliance and, considering he didn’t even play on the new album, his touches were elegantly earsplitting.

The classic double-bass pulses of "Whiskey River" pounded the air (as a certain Maxell advert floated through my mind with some mirth). Possibly the first ever radio single to include a foundation of this type of drummers device, the track sounded as unique and relevant in this set with only slight retro overtones. Budgie have been known as one of rock’s greatest yet mostly unheard bands and have written some of the best riff-based rockers in the last 40 years.

As a Rush fan I always had a soft spot for these guys due to their similarities with earlier records and on tracks like "In For The Kill" one might be mistaken for thinking that this was an early Rush classic. Ballsy, pedal-to-the-metal triplet-rock – something not heard much these days – from the old school! Burke plodded about the stage like a beast seeking some hidden prey. The enthusiasm for this tight number couldn’t be held back as a sea of appreciation flooded the venue.

The next classic, "Hot As A Docker’s Armpit," was a great odd, loose item as the floor pounded bass and drums. The guitar work was cool and crafted leaving Shelly and Williams to stomp their way into ear slashing oblivion. No prisoners were taken on this night. But this was okay as all that surrendered donned the colors and joined the legion of the feathered giant, this 6-tonne Budgie!

A second number from the new CD was forthcoming with the grit and balls one would have expected. The recent titles all sounded familiar in that retro rock vein but this was Budgie so it’s to be expected.

My all-time favorite track, "Melt The Ice Away" (from Impeckable) was up and was a ripsnorter of riff based RNR, meatier than the original studio version of 1978 and great opportunity for Burke Shelley’s vocals to pierce some ears. His vocal capabilities were something else – I can’t even remember the last time I was at a gig with such heavy, loud music and crystal clear microphone mix. These guys had got it right: right song selection, right mix, and right energy.

"Turn To Stone" had the crowd swaying on unsteady legs singing along to every note. Williams’ drums punctured the clean mix with explosive force time and again. The built-up anticipation was fever pitched by the time the instrumental outro occurred as beer soaked tongues yelled out to the triplet theme. Paul’s guitar sounds were more modern and his use of pedal changes was intricate and, by and large, undetected by the audience.

"Nude Disintegrating Parachutist Woman" appeared out of the blue with the yelp of appreciation from front of stage. This was heavier than the original version (although I would have loved to see Tony Bourge’s take in this day and age on stage). Visually, it made more sense to see this type of track live just for sheer energy, and with the uniquely Budgie title one might have been forgiven for looking to the ceiling as Shelley talked the chorus through with his sneakily subtle humor.

When all aces seemed to have been spent, Burke and the boys pulled out the classic "Parents," that crowd-pleaser of some vintage. The throng of fans sang along in a communion of rock bliss. Shelley seemed somewhat surprised that this small town not only knew all the songs but had him elevated as some sort of mini messiah delivering the message…and deservedly so.

The classic "Zoom Club" had an already overexcited fan base jumping about with climactic abandon. A guy rushed past exclaiming as if gospel, "Oh my god! They’re playing Zoom Club!" before disappearing to the left. Fists were in the air again in some sort of brotherly defiance against the unseen catalyst of today’s complacency in music. Now, this was school of rock and roll 101!

Steve Williams sure could beat those drums, as was evident throughout the night and his stamina never seemed to wane. The crowd was treated to surprise after surprise. "Napoleon Bona Part One & Two" was tight and pumping along with Burke’s bass and Goldy’s guitar weaving and soaring above the crowd – Shelley’s vocals were incredible, probably one of the best vocalists I have ever seen live. The second half of "Napoleon…" had a rapturous applause to follow and the grins between strangers was of an atmosphere of kinship.

The show came to a close but that mass of bodies simply wouldn’t move. There was a mantric chorus of "Budgie… Budgie… Budgie" bursting ears around the round, which soon turned to "Breadfan… Breadfan… Breadfan" and so the crowd got what they wanted. "Breadfan", probably Budgie’s most known song was given fair treatment and the attendant heads were nodding in time with lyrics screamed out atonally to some unseen personal microphone by said heads.

Much of the material was gathered from the Squawk, Never Turn Your Back On A Friend and Bandolier albums and there wouldn’t be a head in the crowd able to complain at that. Even the introduction of new songs seemed well thought out with regards to the sequencing of the set list.

Sadly, I missed my only other opportunity to see Budgie some years back in Nottingham, UK and I had regretted it since. Now I am happy to say that I was there, I experienced one of the all-time greatest rock and roll happenings ever in Australia all thanks to two Welsh rock legends and an American guitarist from the ranks of Dio’s illuminati. I feel ashamed to think that these guys can and do out-rock people half their age thanks to the malnutrition of today’s musical fodder expected to nourish today’s musos.

There should be laws against rock this good – and there probably is. These guys were in full audio riot gear making a barrage of sonic assaults on the unsuspecting mass that had greeted them so innocently with open arms. For some their childhood ended right there and then, for others there was an immediately decided religious conversion thanks to the lure of temptation by the Holy Trinity of Shelley-Williams-Goldy.

But what else would you expect from a Budgie show?

This was unadulterated rock and roll!

The set opener was "Panzer Division Destroyed", a stop-start thumper that got the crowd fisting the air. The sweaty mass of alcohol drenched T-shirts bobbed up and down as Burke Shelley swaggered about on stage punishing his Fender bass. Peering from under his thick, curly hair his greeting to the audience drew a roar of appreciation and the odd fan toppling onto the floor with an, "I can’t believe these guys are here!" escaping from the obligatory stretch larynx.

Soon the guys had introduced a new number from their recent CD "You’re All Living In Cuckooland" – a balls-to-the-wall rocker, if ever there was one! The crowd never missed a beat as they lapped up every strangled guitar note and skin smash as if it were part of the classic Budgie catalogue – maybe it will be a classic in years to come… Craig Goldy played guitar with technical brilliance and, considering he didn’t even play on the new album, his touches were elegantly earsplitting.

The classic double-bass pulses of "Whiskey River" pounded the air (as a certain Maxell advert floated through my mind with some mirth). Possibly the first ever radio single to include a foundation of this type of drummers device, the track sounded as unique and relevant in this set with only slight retro overtones. Budgie have been known as one of rock’s greatest yet mostly unheard bands and have written some of the best riff-based rockers in the last 40 years.

As a Rush fan I always had a soft spot for these guys due to their similarities with earlier records and on tracks like "In For The Kill" one might be mistaken for thinking that this was an early Rush classic. Ballsy, pedal-to-the-metal triplet-rock – something not heard much these days – from the old school! Burke plodded about the stage like a beast seeking some hidden prey. The enthusiasm for this tight number couldn’t be held back as a sea of appreciation flooded the venue.

The next classic, "Hot As A Docker’s Armpit", was a great odd, loose item as the floor pounded bass and drums. The guitar work was cool and crafted leaving Shelly and Williams to stomp their way into ear slashing oblivion. No prisoners were taken on this night. But this was okay as all that surrendered donned the colors and joined the legion of the feathered giant, this 6-tonne Budgie!

A second number from the new CD was forthcoming with the grit and balls one would have expected. The recent titles all sounded familiar in that retro rock vein but this was Budgie so it’s to be expected.

My all-time favorite track, "Melt The Ice Away" (from Impeckable) was up and was a ripsnorter of riff based RNR, meatier than the original studio version of 1978 and great opportunity for Burke Shelley’s vocals to pierce some ears. His vocal capabilities were something else – I can’t even remember the last time I was at a gig with such heavy, loud music and crystal clear microphone mix. These guys had got it right: right song selection, right mix, and right energy.

"Turn To Stone" had the crowd swaying on unsteady legs singing along to every note. Williams’ drums punctured the clean mix with explosive force time and again. The built-up anticipation was fever pitched by the time the instrumental outro occurred as beer soaked tongues yelled out to the triplet theme. Paul’s guitar sounds were more modern and his use of pedal changes was intricate and, by and large, undetected by the audience.

"Nude Disintegrating Parachutist Woman" appeared out of the blue with the yelp of appreciation from front of stage. This was heavier than the original version (although I would have loved to see Tony Bourge’s take in this day and age on stage). Visually, it made more sense to see this type of track live just for sheer energy, and with the uniquely Budgie title one might have been forgiven for looking to the ceiling as Shelley talked the chorus through with his sneakily subtle humor.

When all aces seemed to have been spent, Burke and the boys pulled out the classic "Parents", that crowd-pleaser of some vintage. The throng of fans sang along in a communion of rock bliss. Shelley seemed somewhat surprised that this small town not only knew all the songs but had him elevated as some sort of mini messiah delivering the message…and deservedly so.

The classic "Zoom Club" had an already overexcited fan base jumping about with climactic abandon. A guy rushed past exclaiming as if gospel, "Oh my god! They’re playing Zoom Club!" before disappearing to the left. Fists were in the air again in some sort of brotherly defiance against the unseen catalyst of today’s complacency in music. Now, this was school of rock and roll 101!

Steve Williams sure could beat those drums, as was evident throughout the night and his stamina never seemed to wane. The crowd was treated to surprise after surprise. "Napoleon Bona Part One & Two" was tight and pumping along with Burke’s bass and Goldy’s guitar weaving and soaring above the crowd – Shelley’s vocals were incredible, probably one of the best vocalists I have ever seen live. The second half of "Napoleon…" had a rapturous applause to follow and the grins between strangers was of an atmosphere of kinship.

The show came to a close but that mass of bodies simply wouldn’t move. There was a mantric chorus of "Budgie… Budgie… Budgie" bursting ears around the round, which soon turned to "Breadfan… Breadfan… Breadfan" and so the crowd got what they wanted. "Breadfan", probably Budgie’s most known song was given fair treatment and the attendant heads were nodding in time with lyrics screamed out atonally to some unseen personal microphone by said heads.

Much of the material was gathered from the "Squawk", "Never Turn Your Back On A Friend" and "Bandolier" albums and there wouldn’t be a head in the crowd able to complain at that. Even the introduction of new songs seemed well thought out with regards to the sequencing of the set list.

Sadly, I missed my only other opportunity to see Budgie some years back in Nottingham, UK and I had regretted it since. Now I am happy to say that I was there, I experienced one of the all-time greatest rock and roll happenings ever in Australia all thanks to two Welsh rock legends and an American guitarist from the ranks of Dio’s illuminati. I feel ashamed to think that these guys can and do out-rock people half their age thanks to the malnutrition of today’s musical fodder expected to nourish today’s musos.

There should be laws against rock this good – and there probably is. These guys were in full audio riot gear making a barrage of sonic assaults on the unsuspecting mass that had greeted them so innocently with open arms. For some their childhood ended right there and then, for others there was an immediately decided religious conversion thanks to the lure of temptation by the Holy Trinity of Shelley-Williams-Goldy.

But what else would you expect from a Budgie show?

This was unadulterated rock and roll!

       
This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2008  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.
 
More CD Reviews
Metal/Prog Metal
Non-Prog
Progressive Rock

Ultimate Indie Bundle Banner

Ultimate Indie Bundle Banner
 
Google

   Creative Commons License
   This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.

    © 2019 Music Street Journal                                                                           Site design and programming by Studio Fyra, Inc./Beetcafe.com