When I got there, the venue was about half full. The demographics of the audience were pretty varied, but skewed towards the older side (the largest group was probably between upper 30′s and mid 40′s). The dance floor of the Birchmere filled up pretty quickly, a number of people ready to dance.
I had no idea what kind of music the Radiators were going to play. As it turns out, blues. Any kind of blues you might want, but blues nonetheless. Well, occasionally a rock tune. If you like blues, you’ll be in heaven. They’re good at it.
They have been playing together for 26 years and it shows; very tight, very together. There were minimal (if any) transitions. Songs would end, one of the musicians (typically the keyboardist) would almost immediately tickle out a few notes, and the rest of the band would jump in.
The Radiators are comprised of Ed Volker on keyboards/vocals, Frank Bua on drums, Camile Baudoin on guitar, Dave Malone on guitar/vocals and Reggie Scanlan on bass. Ed’s vocals are very reminiscent of Dr. John, while Dave has a very strong whiskey blues timbre to his singing. The Radiators are a very guitar dominated group with keys present primarily as color. The drummer held a nice groove, and the bass player was competent. Each musician’s sound is pretty stable; occasionally one of the guitarists would bring in a Leslie cabinet to change his tone, but not often.
The long and short of it is that the Radiators play toe-tapping, fun blues. It’s not my personal cup of tea, but I wouldn’t be opposed to catching the again at some point in time. You don’t hang around in the music business for 26 years without being pretty good at what you do. Most of the people who came to the Birchmere show were into the performance, did a lot of dancing and had a good time. Can’t ask for more than that.