Radkey Steals the Show
Full disclosure: we only got to the arena early to make sure we had a good spot secured for the headliners, Rise Against, but we came away with so much more. This talented young trio from Missouri showed us their tremendous potential in a power-packed thirty minute set.
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Radkey are three young brothers from St. Joseph, who defy categorization. They absolutely embody everything that is great about rock ‘n roll. They are different for sure, and in rock music, different is so damn rare these days, and in this case, oh so welcome!
With singer and lead guitarist, Dee Radke being the eldest brother at a tender 20 years old, they are young, but on stage they put on a show that belies their youth. Dee’s vocals feature a nice range including a distinct powerful baritone. He’s joined by 18 year-old Isaiah on bass and the baby-faced Solomon beating the drums. All three members are talented musicians, three home-schooled youngsters who are the antithesis of sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll. They’re into reading, anime, and science fiction, oh and apparently pretty serious about their music, as they are all self-taught.
They are three young African Americans who grew up on The Misfits, Ramones and Foo Fighters, and those influences ooze through clearly when they command the stage. (As a writer named after a Ramones song, I have a special affinity for young bands influenced by the punk legends). I’d characterize their music as pop-punk; it’s aggressive rock with clever riffs and hooks. Their guitar and bass riffs are captivating and catchy as hell. The arrangement of their songs is deliciously messy, yet polished at the same time.
The two eldest brothers fly around the stage, all the while thrashing out fantastic music. Isaiah is a whirling dervish who never stops moving and seems quite comfortable interacting with the crowd, while dishing out breakneck bass chords. Dee was slightly less aggressive on-stage, but still put on a tremendous performance, and had a few nice slides across the floor as he dished out killer riffs. Solomon capped off the trio perfectly, delivering freight train drums throughout the powerful seven song set.
The crowd was actively engaged in the performance and seemed to deeply appreciate their delicious rock noise. Tim McIlrath of Rise Against dished out a tremendous compliment, when he compared this hard working band to their own roots a decade and a half ago.
If there’s anything right in the rock ‘n roll world, we will be seeing this band perform live for many years to come.