Review: The Last Good Year at Birdy's 

click to enlarge The Last Good Year, in a promotional photo
  • The Last Good Year, in a promotional photo
The Last Good Year, Goliathon
Birdy's Bar & Grill, June 24
3.5 stars

It's fitting that the Last Good Year chose Birdy's as the venue for Friday night's live album recording show. The Indy-born rock band took the 2007 Battle of Birdy's crown, using that contest's $1000 cash prize to record and release their self-titled debut LP.

Loyal fans, multiple photographers and a rather restless video crew were all in attendance for the 16-song performance, packing the place wall to wall. With a little coaxing from X-103 DJ Mid-Day Matt, the audience hammed up a bit for the microphones, singing, clapping and doing their part to spice up the recording.

The Last Good Year's 2007 self-titled LP made up the majority of the set. Fist-pumping love songs "Buying Your Love," "Racecar Driver" and "Lipstick Cigarette" were fan favorites. XBox 360 gamers can download that last song to play on Rock Band.

The band sprinkled in a few newer tunes: another love song, "You More Than Me" and "The Ballad of William and Maxine," which concerns guitarist Joshua Bucy's grandparents' 65-year marriage. Naturally, they rocked out a few songs about rocking out, including "Road to Ruin," with its AC/DC-inspired tone and lyrics: "I found my soul in rock 'n' roll."

The Last Good Year won't surprise with their songcraft. Their formulaic, modern-day arena rock is defined by lead singer Joe Doyel's impressive wailing vocals and big choruses usually accentuated with a "whoa!" or a "yeah!" A drum fill then usually follows those, and then another verse that seems to exist just to get the song back to the big chorus.

The band handed out 200 free digital download cards for a copy of the recording to those in attendance, but Doyel said those not in attendance will be able to find the album in a few weeks on

Longhaired rockers Goliathan closed the show. Not sure why they started playing after midnight, when most of the crowd had left. But they just put their heads down and rocked, with their sound built around dark reverb guitar tones, marching drums and keening vocals. They are at their best during instrumental, metal-inspired breakdowns when they straighten out the beat and rock, balls to the wall. It's a shame more people weren't there to rock with them.

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