Friday marked the first of a two show run in Melbourne’s Forum Theatre for Perth band Birds Of Tokyo. The mega act made through the collaboration of Tragic Delicate and Karnivool have become an Australian rock juggernaut and their performance over the weekend emphasised the positive impact to the music scene the fusion had given.
Melbourne singer-songwriter Samsaruh was the opening act for Birds, using her deft fusion of pop and rock lyricism and sounds to control the room. While relatively unknown to some audiences, the lack of knowledge didn’t faze Samsaruh at all, with a heavy stage presence and a sense of musical purpose many artists don’t carry with them. In many ways, Samsaruh’s set capitalised on the unknown, building a set that emphasised her talents while also teaching the crowd tracks off of her new EP Elysian.Yet it was her early single work, “Golden To Thrive”, “Speaking Fire” and “Beautiful Killer” that set her fanbase in the crowd to work and put a stamp of her own on the evening.
After such an exciting, bullish set from Samsaruh, there was a need for Birds Of Tokyo to double down on the energy circulating in the room. With the sound of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” and Bon Jovi echoing through the Forum between sets, Birds Of Tokyo had some frighteningly excited fans to compete with. Thankfully, Ian Kenny and co. arrived on stage already at 100 percent. After some opening chords and shenanigans as the band moved into their positions, the sounds of “White Witch” thundered around the room cueing the start of Birds Of Tokyo’s set.
Ian Kenny had an irrepressible presence on stage, constantly shifting, dancing, jumping and fist pumping through the night. Running “Empire”, fan favourite “Plans”, “Two Of Us” and “Broken Bones”, the band’s intensity hardly wavered until Kenny’s own volition, slowing the set for some acoustic renditions of “Circles” and “I’d Go With You Anywhere”. These quieter moments set up for the thrilling run home, with Birds Of Tokyo again turning it up to eleven with “Brace”, “Lanterns” and the reason they went on tour, the new single “Good Lord”. Of course, all of these tracks were full of their respective solos, and big moments courtesy of the rest of the band but especially the dynamic guitar work of Adam Spark fitting some memorable riffs between Kenny’s imperious vocals.
Classically, the band went off stage for a few moments, with the overbearing nature of an encore unfortunately setting in. While the nature of an encore generally cuts the momentum to generate a renewed energy in the room, Birds Of Toyko was able to capitalise closing their show to “The Greatest Mistakes” and 2012’s impressive single “This Fire”. “This Fire” led into a giant applause and some spine tingling moments of crowd singing along with the band through the main chorus line “This Fire/This Fire/We Let It All Burn”.
If this exercise in excellence by Birds Of Tokyo is anything to go by, Melbourne’s second performance on Thursday night is going to be another evening of excitement and music adventure.
Birds of Tokyo continue their tour by closing down the Forum Theatre again on Thursday before heading up to Canberra before a closing night in Wollongong.