descent into the maelstrom - The I-94 Bar
1. Definitely at the top of the heap that was 2017, Jonathan Sequeira risked life, limb, and genuine sanity to bring us “Descent Into The Maelstrom”, a fiercely objective, no holds barred documentary about the shit storm that was Radio Birdman.
How he managed to convince that particular sack of snakes to agree to anything in the first place is a testimony to his considerable appreciation of the band’s legend, his heroic patience, and his nutsack-clenching resolve. A minor miracle, more so because it certainly wasn’t the puff piece that some characters clearly expected in their “imagining” of the bands tumultuous and antagonistic history!
Vindication for some, the trashing of decades of carefully cultivated bullshit for others, replete with many a “Holy crap!” moment.
A rollicking good story about a special band, time, and place in history!
I liked it!
Top 10 not in any order:
1) White Stripes –Vault #33 Icky Thump X
Third Man Records Vault only release, 10 year anniversary edition. Includes a wacko coloured vinyl re-press of the double album plus two bonus albums containing all the non-album b-sides and the full demos housed in a way out box. The demos are furious ! Only released for a few months via Third Man Records.
2) Shy Impostors CD (maxi EP/mini album CD)
Unleashed by those God-loving folks at Citadel Records. Seven demos recorded 1980 and now finally after a loving re-mix by Jason Blackwell sound truly fab. The songs, vocals and rough as guts musicianship by these proto legends are gold. Melodic and dirty.
3) Buffalo Revisited gig at Brewtality Festival in Melbourne
Is it truly an honour for me after being a Buffalo fan since 1974 to be playing with their mighty vocalist Dave Tice with some fellow Buffalo maniacs (Troy and Marcus). And to be playing those great songs (a mind melt to learn btw). We hit our cosmic groove at the Brewtality Festival in Melbourne; more to come for sure.
This year was returning to my childhood and gromit years - teenage times as well as inner-city music, alternative and garage rock, beer-soaked pubs and the alternative. Namely the Beatles, Midnight Oil and Patti Smith.
Patti Smith and Paul McCartney get the guernsey for the best gigs of the year. And for the same reasons. Both artists are incredible live and these final tours were a massive thank you to the fans…
1 Macca at Suncorp Brisbane
Sir Paul delivered on all fronts. With the most thoughtful visual show and a hit every minute over those three hours and ten minutes, it ranged from pure, four-on-the-floor garage rock with guitars sonically attacking to more mellow stuff.
From “I Want To Be Your Lover” which would have made the Stones sound like a get-together at a nursing home to “Helter Skelter”, to the bombastic, “Live And Let Die” which inflamed the stadium, the cheesy “Mull of Kintyre” with a 25-piece pipe band, to the solo acoustic moments with “Blackbird”, this was gold. Macca’s voice, his insights, wit and humility, and his guitar playing were magnificent; 42 songs played. I won’t forget it a hurry.
1 Patti Smith at the State Theatre and spoken word at Sydney Opera House
Another pair of gigs where Patti gave 300 percent. Patti engaged us with insights, stories and, as with Macca, showed a great deal of humility. The band, led by Lenny Kaye, at times still had the intensity of 1975 CBGBs Patti, yet with overtones of a grandmother and an earth mother.
The Celebrity Roadie informs The Barman that he can't go out in public like that. As usual, he's ignored. Kyleigh Pitcher photo.
This is a Top Ten of two parts. First, live gigs, and second, albums. You know. Second part, different from the first.The rule of not reviewing my own gigs goes right out the door from the get-go. Got an issue with that? See you in the carpark...
Chris Masuak and the Sydney City Wave Riders:
This was a sensational run of shows- a mini-tour in and around Sydney because that’s all that time allowed - by Klondike and his crack band of Tony Bambach (bass) and Stuart Wilson (drums). Great players, top blokes. Armed with a killer setlist drawing on most of Chris’s back catalogue, the guys fired from the get go. Many of the versions surpassed the originals with Maz playing two guitar parts, as few people can. The shows blew away much of the skullduggery and malakarey involved with certain ghosts from the recent past.
HITS at Marrickville Bowlo
You can’t keep playing the same old songs or you’ll get staid and there’s no sign of HITS doing that just yet. Members are now scattered the length of the East Coast so it can’t be easy getting together…or maybe that’s a blessing in disguise because it keeps things fresh. They continue to be THE Aussie band to follow.
Yeah Hup! The Radio Birdman documentary public screening dates have been announced. You can indulge in post-screening Q&As at a handful of them. Book your own "Descent Into the Maelstrom" at these cinemas via the links after the MORE link.
The soundtrack (pictured above) is now available for pre-order on LP and CD. Go here to grab a copy.
What do George Michael, L7, Michael Caine and Radio Birdman have in common? They’re all Official Selections at the worlds largest and most prestigious Music Documentary Film Festival “ In-edit Barcelona & Madrid Spain 2018.
Jonathan Sequeira’s critically acclaimed and uncompromising documentary "Descent Into The Maelstrom – The Radio Birdman Story" is available to buy on DVD. The film will be released via streaming services (iTunes and Vimeo worldwide) on October 5 with YouTube to follow late 2018.
Who's for popcorn? Rob Younger and Deniz Tek at the World Premiere. Bruce Tindale photo
It’s been pissing down in Sydney for morer than 24 hours. I wait in a corner window at the Imperial Hotel, watching the steady torrent of streaming cars, my eye on the entrance to the Chauvel Cinema, tucked away inside Paddington Town Hall. A homecoming of sorts, 40 years on.
Fortry years. No longer is Radio Birdman a part of the zeitgeist, no longer are they merely an immediately cognisable legend. The weaves of history, misinformation and untruth, as well as the shedding of members and other things, like time moving on … all these things have taken place, as with many bands of yore.
The long awaited DVD of “Descent Into The Maelstrom: The Radio Birdman Story” will be released in Australia on September 21, with Europe, the USA and Japan to follow.
The DVD will come in a digipak or deluxe edition, the latter with a swag of extra collateral, an LP of the soundtrack, bonuses and a signed certificate of authenticity.The standard DVD also contains a wealth of previously unseen interviews. Pre-orders of the digipak and deluxe sets are open here.The deluie edition is pictured above.
We'll post news about the overseas releases as it comes to hand.
Director Jonathan Sequeira’s campaign to have the world-acclaimed documentary screened on free-to-air TV in Australia via the national broadcaster, ABC, continues and you can lodge your own protest via the link at the bottom of this page.
The first date of Australian public screenings for the Radio Birdman documentary “Descent Into The Maelstrom” has been announced. It’s in Adelaide on July 21.
Writer-producer-director Jonathan Sequeira will field a Q & A in conjunction with the screening at GU Film House in Hindley Street, starting at 7pm. Tickets are here and more dates in other Australian cities will be announced next week.
"Descent Into the Maelstrom" is the true story of Radio Birdman, from their original formation to the present. Like the band itself, it’s an independent production, made from outside the industry. It shows what the band meant to the fans, and how they changed Australia, by inspiring a golden age of indie music from Cold Chisel to Midnight Oil.
Ron Keeley has his say in "Descent Into The Maelstrom"
We've labelled it the "best rockumentary ever" and you can judge for yourself as Jonathan Sequeira's Radio Birdman film "Descent Into The Maelstrom" makes it way into even more Austrralian cinemas. Check with local cinemas for times.
There are no overseas screening or release plans finalised yet. Australian dates after the fold:
Jonathan Sequeira’s raw and stunning documentary, "Descent Into The Maelstrom - The Radio Birdman Story", has been snubbed by Australia's national public broadcaster the ABC.
Released as a short-run feature in Australian cinemas and shown at film festivals and limited screenings in the USA, Japan, the UK and Europe, “Descent” will be released via DVD and streaming in September this year to coincide with a Radio Birdman tourof Australia and Europe.
The taxpayer-funded ABC was offered a deep discount to screen it on Australian free-to-air TV but has declined, after months of dithering and silence.
In an online statement published overnight, filmmaker Jonathan Sequeira said:
Regardless of my involvement, it is a tragedy that the ABC will not be broadcasting the largely unknown story of the most important band in Australia’s music history. I consider that to be letting down the Australian public, and a failure of the ABC to follow its charter.
Radio Birdman has also issued an online statement overnight:
Considering the highly relevant content of the film, from the perspective of Australian music history, ABC was the obvious choice of channel…The band is disappointed but not really surprised. We have been familiar with this sort of attitude from the establishment since the 1970's.
Curiously, ABC has screened documetaries about the Saints and the Go Betweens, as well as series of programs based on its own "Countdown" franchise.
You can make your opinion known by contacting ABC-1 Channel Manager Natalie Edgar via abc.net.au/contact/complain.htm
Radio Birdman is playing a limited number of Australian East Coast shows over two weekends this September/October, before heading off for a 22 date tour of Europe.
The Australian run will coincide with the release of "Descent into the Maelstrom”, the Jonathan Sequeira-produced documentary dealing with the band's rise and demise in the late 70's and later re-emergence.
The documentary has received great attention at various film festivals in London, Glasgow, Norway, Amsterdam and Detroit and is now scheduled for local release on DVD with bonus content this September.
It will be available at the band's shows, online and via discerning retail outlets.
Supports on this tour will include Adalita (Melbourne), Brisbane's Hits (Brisbane and Sydney) and all shows will feature special guests from Spain Los Chicos.
AUSTRALIAN TOUR 2018
27 - Croxton Bandroom, Melbourne
+ Adalita + Los Chicos
28 - The Triffid, Brisbane
+ Hits + Los Chicos
30 - The Gov, Adelaide
+ Los Chicos + The Sunday Reeds
6 - Manning Bar, Sydney
+ Hits + Los Chicos + DJ Frank Cotterell
Tickets for all shows are on sale from Wednesday. June from Oztix.
Many people have tried to make a Radio Birdman documentary. For a variety of reasons, only one has succeeded.
And it would have been so easy for Jonathan Sequeira to fuck it up.
Don’t worry. He hasn’t. Not by any stretch of the imagination.
“Descent Into The Maelstrom” was screened to a select audience of band members, followers, media and other hangers-on in Sydney last night. The venue was the Chauvel Cinema, deep inside – ironically enough – Paddington Town Hall, the scene of the definitive Radio Birdman line-up’s last Australian stand.