With every outing, Radio Massacre International gets a chance at greatness. Their live sets are so open and undetermined that the audience, at the outset of a concert, can but wonder at their final destination. Will we be left to ponder an impenetrable negative space? or chase starlight at the edge of heaven? We get all this and more on Philadelphia Air Shot (58'39"), which was recorded live at WXPN in Philadelphia for airing on the 11.18.07 broadcast of STAR'S END. A little structure goes a long way as this session opens with a live version of "Bettr'r Days" from Rain Falls in Grey, RMI's 2007 studio album. Here we find Duncan Goddard on bass guitar (and occasionally tweaking his sequencer), Steve Dinsdale playing organ chords with one hand and drum samples with the other, and Gary Houghton leading the power trio with the bluest, most distinct, out front and lyrical electric guitar solos he has ever recorded. After out-rocking the original by several parsecs, the pop personas recede leaving us with a staccato sequencer riff. Spiraling amidst intertwining tone patterns, each line echoes in machine-like precision. Weaving the disparate strands into a cohesive whole, the sprawling epic transforms into a slow burning other worldly meditation - where the human mind is the landscape of the work. The closing moments of this piece show the softer side of this trio and we are gently left in a much different space than where we began. On Philadelphia Air Shot RMI gave it their best shot, turning in a one-off intoxicating performance. From the immediate impact of the opening movement and the rushing intensity of the sequencer centric segment that follows, to the minimalistic patterns and quiet power of the lengthy close, RMI's voyage is still a work in progress - with each concert making the journey new.
- Chuck van Zyl/STAR'S END 20 November 2008