There seems to be a thing about bands from the 1990s. If they split up and reform years later, they come back far more potent and more popular than they were in their original heyday. Take The Pixies, for example. Their reunion tours of recent years have drawn huge audiences worldwide comprised of those who return for a bit of nostalgia coupled with those that have just discovered them for the first time.
Local bands seem no exception. Saturday evening, Gainesville favorites Radon reformed before a packed Common Grounds crowd. The show packed plenty of surprises, including Brent Wilson’s announcement that the band just finished recording a 11 new songs for a new CD entitled Metric Buttloads of Rock with local stalwart Rob McGregor producing. “Rob worked 14 hours yesterday,” exclaimed Wilson, who added that the band recorded the entire disc in the past 5 days. With recent reunion shows confined strictly to Gainesville’s annual Fest, Radon played their first headlining show in several years, with local favories J. Page and The Cold Ones adding support.
New Radon songs included “Control Room,” which was written about the “idiots in the White House.” The occasion seemed even more festive due to the birthday of drummer Bill Clower, who many may recognize from holding things down in the kitchen at Satchel’s Pizza in recent years. Clower came front and center to the mic several times during the evening, including an announcement that the band was taking a five minute break for beer. Apparently even aging punks need time for recuperation on occasion.
Not that the band deny it in the least. “Who here used to go to the Hard Back?” asked guitarist-vocalist Dave Rohm, commenting on the number of old-timers in the audience. Isa Shulman, a resident of Los Angeles, came to Gainesville just to see this show. “I flew into Tampa yesterday and I fly back home from Tampa tomorrow night,” confessed Shulman, who has been a long-time Radon fan going back to her days at the legendary Miami-based record store Y&T Records.
Although the band seemed understandably rusty at times, particularly when running through their new songs, Radon let their punk flag fly without apology, culminating in the classic mass-singalong during their infamous self-titled "Radon." With a new record on the way, time will only tell if Radon is truly back to reclaim their punk rock mantle or to rest on their laurels and play the occasional one-off nostalgia trip. With talent and potential such as theirs, let's hope for the former.