Music is alive and well in Georgia, and it has been for a long time. Many great artist hail from Georgia, and lurking in bars all around the state are hidden musical gems looking for their big break. Valdosta is no exception.
Radio Birds took the stage Saturday, July 30 at Ashley Street Station in Valdosta (you may have heard of its sister bar, Lumpkin Street Station, in Athens).
Radio Birds, formerly known as JK and the Lost Boys, are a unique rock band from Atlanta whose style cannot be described in just a few words. Each member of the band looks like they’re of a different culture. The front man looks like an outdoorsy hipster. The lead guitarist looks like he just missed out on playing Bo Duke in a Dukes of Hazzard reboot. The bassist seems like a guy you’d find in a super energetic pop punk band, and the drummer comes across as a guy who lives in a Volkswagen bus by the beach.
However, when all the members come together they make a sound that is sort of neo-classic rock with funky baselines, folky acoustic guitar, soulful harmonies and punk energy complete with passionate and heartfelt lyrics.
Radio Birds’ lead singer, Justin Keller, has a raspy, soulful voice that sounds like a cross between Zac Brown and Steven Tyler, and the band’s songs almost always have a guitar solo that is reminiscent of seventies hard rock bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd and Boston.
At Ashley Street, the band packed out the small dive bar as they played two sets full of songs from their self-titled debut EP and their first album, “Contemporary American Slang” as well as some new songs from their upcoming sophomore album.
Some of the highlights included “The Beast” featuring bassist Chase Lamondo on lead vocals, and “Chew Me Up,” which sounds like it could have been written by The Animals or Cream. Also, a crowd favorite was “Uptown Girl,” which is a lively song showcasing all of the musicians’ talents.
Radio Birds were very energetic on stage as they introduced songs with hilarious stories about drinking and girls and danced around and interacted with the crowd while they performed.
The band also showed their versatility through some cover songs including a unique mashup of The Temptations’ “My Girl” and R Kelly’s “Ignition (Remix).” The band also covered Led Zeppelin’s “Ramble On” and Jimi Hendrix’ “Fire” cementing the idea that they would do just fine in the late sixties or seventies.
As they commanded the small stage at Ashley Street Station, one couldn’t help but wonder why they aren’t playing larger venues on a regular basis (they did play a show at South by Southwest last year.) However, judging by their high level of talent and their relentless touring schedule, Radio Birds are definitely on the come up.
Radio Birds are currently on a tour of the southeast, and there is more information about the band on their website.