Birds Of Tokyo
Fortitude Music Hall, Brisbane QLD
September 18th, 2019
The Fortitude Music Hall still hasn’t lost its shiny new venue feel despite being open for a few months and hosting some great bands. Upgraded from The Triffid because of impressive ticket sales, Birds Of Tokyo helped break in the venue.
The chandeliers sparkled and the crowd was murmuring as Samsaruh opened the night. She presented a 70s flower girl front with flared pants and a fringed top, but she sure didn’t move like it. She sashayed across the stage with exaggerated movements, throwing her arms up in the air to punctuate the melody. And all honesty here, she has a beautiful voice. Her low range is attractive and full sounding, but her performance was a little over the top. It felt a bit rehearsed and yeah sure, when you’re supporting one of Australia’s most loved bands there’s a bit of pressure to perform, but when you’re trying too hard, it shows.
That said, her band was incredible, the music behind her lyrics was muted enough that Samsaruh’s vocals shined, but the band also had their heyday as well with their music dancing around her. The most impressive part of the set was asong off her debut EP Elysian called ‘Million Years‘ where she was still, and her guitarist used a violin bow to create a soaring soundscape. Think Sigur Ros style with their beautifully drawn out melodies. There’s a lot of growth here to be done by Samsaruh as she finds her feet, but she’s on the right track.
It seemed we waited an age for Birds Of Tokyo to step out, it was too long when the crowd started singing along to Bon Jovi’s ‘Living On A Prayer’. But the stage lit up with a dozen or more screens as the band strode on, the cheers even louder when vocalist Ian Kenny appeared and opened with ‘White Witch’ from their popular (older) release Universes. And much to the long-time fans’ delight, there were more songs from that album to come.
The setlist was really quite surprising because being the Good Lord Tour, it was expected there would be a lot of newer songs and feature their latest album most heavily, but they threw back to their older albums and really played songs from every release. It was a very smart move and well considered. They managed to please everyone, long time and new fans alike.
But let’s talk a little bit about Ian. Good old Ian Kenny, God, he’s great, isn’t he? Vocally on point as always; but he has such an iconic voice and he lends it in the best way possible, somehow communicating emotion and ease all at once. No one can question how genuine he is on stage either, his little pulses with his body and arms as the music swells is captivating. And midway through the set, he and guitarist Adam Spark took it down a notch. Atop a couple of bar stools, acoustic guitar in hand they played ‘Circles’ and ‘I’d Go With You Anywhere’ very simply. The crowd were there for it too, lending their voices to the choruses.
‘Plans’ was, of course, a big hit. As was ‘Lanterns’, ‘Broken Bones’, ‘Brace’ and ‘Good Lord’. All the baby boomers had their Samsung phones out recording almost every song (they just don’t get it like we do), but it was a wonderfully enjoyable performance.
The band came back on for a two song encore, ‘The Greatest Mistakes’ and surprisingly ending on ‘This Fire’. Didn’t see that coming. Some may argue that Birds Of Tokyo have turned to mainstream pop for their latest couple of releases, but to them, I say actually, they’ve just learned how to write more anthemic, uplifting songs that reflect where they are in life. It’s the growth process of any band, and they made it clear that their alt-rock beginnings aren’t forgotten. Not at all. The old Birds Of Tokyo is still alive and well, and maybe we’ll be seeing them again soon, but until then I’m quite happy with them just as they are.
Review by Ebony Story
Two of Us
Wild Eyed Boy
I’d Go With You Anywhere (acoustic)
Wild At Heart
The Greatest Mistakes
Birds of Tokyo
Birds of Tokyo – Good Lord Tour
FRI 20 SEP Forum | Melbourne, VIC – SOLD OUT
SAT 21 SEP Enmore Theatre | Sydney, NSW
SUN 22 SEPT The Cambridge | Newcastle, NSW – NEW SHOW
THUR 26 SEP Forum | Melbourne, VIC – NEW SHOW
FRI 27 SEP Kambri @ Anu | Canberra, ACT – NEW SHOW
SAT 28 SEP Waves | Wollongong, NSW – NEW SHOW