– by Kristina Wilford
On Thursday night, I found myself rushing off to Metro City to catch Birds of Tokyo. Their hometown was the fitting place to start their national tour in support of new album Brace. I’ve only ever seen them in a festival environment so I was quite excited to see how they’d be in a more intimate setting.
The night started off with a set from local guys Pat Chow. With their almost nonchalant, garage-band vibe I wasn’t sure how I would feel about them, but I found myself digging their performance. They brought an unexpected intensity and polish to their honest rock songs. The falsetto backing vocals of Andrew Meredith were quite simply outstanding and sold the songs they were featured on. Unfortunately, the venue was quite empty for their set but for the few people who trickled in before and during, it was worth their while.
Next up were Sydney lads Strangers. You could be forgiven for thinking that their set was the main event. From the first, piercing note of lead singer Ben Britton’s voice I knew I was going to be in for a treat. His range and power were astonishing. He went from jumping into the crowd and onto the bar to sharing stories of his battle with anxiety and depression. It was that ability to connect with the audience that makes the Britton-lead band such a great live act. The rest of the band were equally as amazing. They powered through their thoughtful rock numbers with ease and seemed to be having an absolute blast. I will definitely be seeing them in action again.
After a quick break, it was time for the headliners. By this stage the many balconies and the dancefloor of Metro city were filled to the brim. It was the perfect venue for the local boys. After a singalong to Bon Jovi the crowd was bursting with anticipation. The Perth band didn’t disappoint. They launched straight into an array of hits ranging from 2010’s “Wild at Heart” and “Plans” to the 2013 Aria-nominated “Lanterns”.
Louise Penman from local band Lilt came up for an electrifying version of new song “Discoloured”. Hayley Mary of The Jezebels, who sings the part on the album, is a hard name to live up to. But with her impressive and exciting vocals, Penman had nothing to worry about. They also played “Empire” and “Harlequins” from the new record. They are much heavier than recent releases and if the Perth crowd were anything to go by it’s a well-received change. But the highlight of the night had to be lead-singer Ian Kenny’s dance moves. There was so much hip- shaking, I almost felt like I was at a Beyoncé concert and it was possibly the greatest thing I’ve ever seen.
Dancing aside, Birds of Tokyo proved why they are one of Perth’s most sought-after acts. Everything from the vocals and instruments to the phenomenal lighting display, were in perfect harmony with each other. I left feeling incredibly proud that a talented band like that could be from my home town……. and ecstatic that they play here so often!