Radkey describe themselves in their Twitter biography as “three brothers on a quest to help save the world from false rock”. Consequently, as this band of brothers from St. Joseph in Missouri step out onto a half-full capacity Academy 2 on a Tuesday night in Newcastle, they may have been disappointed to look upon a crowd consisting predominately of thirty-somethings attempting to resurrect their younger years with a pint of over-priced Carlsberg in hand. Yet, undeterred and clad in a mixture of denim and checked shirts, Radkey continue to do quite simply what they do best. Music. The trio’s raucous, rip-roaring riffs reverberate around the venue and are met with vehement applause and some serious head-bopping. Radkey’s latest offering is their debut LP ‘Dark Black Makeup’ which has seen them evolve into a slightly wilder beast from their earlier 2 EPs which is no doubt down to the role of producer Ross Orton who was crucial in the fine-tuning of ‘AM’ – the latest Arctic Monkeys’ masterpiece.
Following a heavy touring schedule in the UK (including festivals such as Reading and Leeds and Download) alongside supporting Drenge as well as continuing to play shows in their native America, Radkey could be justified in appearing slightly weary but yet they show no signs of such fatigue. Combining simplistic lyrics, catchy choruses and eye-catching riffs, dreadlocked singer Dee Radke and his brothers Isaiah and Solomon muster up their best efforts to put on an energetic show, despite vaguely resembling Corbin Bleu from High School Musical, Lando Calrissian from Star Wars and the 3rd member of Rizzle Kicks respectively.
Accompanying Radkey, aside from their tour manager – who’s also their dad, is God Damn whose brash and abrasive sound means you certainly knew they were in the room yet whether they had the stage presence or songs to go on to bigger things was unfortunately questionable. However, off the back of punk-rock’s mini-resurgence through Slaves’ ever-increasing popularity, Radkey may be able to tap into this market and their music certainly should provide them the opportunity to do so. The band riles through a set which intertwines tunes such as the classic yet somewhat controversial ‘N. I. G. G. A. (Not Okay)’ with new hits like ‘Feed My Brain’ and you can’t help but nod/tap/bounce along to their contagious guitar-rock. Whilst the lyrics of “I’m a lazy dropout” in new track Song of Solomon may resonate slightly too close for comfort with students, Radkey continue to rock with effortless cool. Towards the set’s conclusion, Dee and Isaiah share a microphone as they sing the night away and emphasise that, no matter how big or small the crowd may be, they’ll still have each other and a fair few quality songs too.