Tuesday, October 5, 2010

"We made plans to..." actually no, that title's too obvious :) - Birds of Tokyo w/Silversun Pickups, Festival Hall, 01/10/10

There's something somewhat rewarding about watching a band you've liked for ages suddenly achieving some serious recognition, and recently it's been Birds of Tokyo that have risen out of the underground to make a major dent in the mainstream. Their recent self-titled third album has been going great guns in the ARIA charts, and Plans has become a very successful tune for the band. And to think, three years ago when the band's first album Day One was released, a lot of people knew them as "Ian Kenny from Karnivool's other band". So on a very pleasant spring Friday night in Melbourne, they took to the stage at Festival Hall - a major achievement in itself - with support from noisy LA rockers Silversun Pickups and fellow WA rockers The Chemist. The near-sold out crowd enjoyed immensely!

The Chemist were up first, but as usual, hardly anyone had bothered to turn up yet, and those that had were a little bit indifferent to the fact that there was a band up on the stage - quite a talented band though if I do say so myself. ...To be honest, it's now been four days since I saw them and I had never heard them previously, so I now can't remember exactly what they sounded like, but I did enjoy them :) I will be seeing them again in a few weeks when they warm the stage for Boy & Bear (and how I am looking forward to that!), so they might get a more detailed review then...

Following that, we had our international visitors Silversun Pickups, who I'd seen just three days earlier but was nevertheless looking forward to catching again. I was aware however that their set would only be half of the 90 minute+ marathon that they did at the Corner (see previous blog), something a lot of people in other states (who didn't get SSPU headline shows) complained about bitterly. Nevertheless, they had more than a few vocal fans inside Festival Hall this evening, and delivered the best set they could in 45 minutes - although they were somewhat shortchanged by the sound guy. Again, frontman Brian Aubert was full of love for Melbourne, noting that it was the only city in Australia where they've played three times before. The set was pretty much the more well-known half of their full set, but still played extremely well by a very energetic band. Again, a class act!
Growing Old is Getting Old
Well Thought Out Twinkles
There's No Secrets This Year
The Royal We
Future Foe Scenarios
Panic Switch
Lazy Eye

Now, this was the sixth time I'd seen Birds of Tokyo, so one might expect I'd be a little less enthusiastic for them this time around. However, it had been close to a year since I'd last seen them perform; that particular event being the Broken Strings tour which saw them reinvent their back catalogue in acoustic-and-strings format. As awesome as that tour was, I was looking forward to them returning to the standard big ol rock 'n' roll format, and with an EXCELLENT new album to boot with songs I'd never seen live before! And they burst into life just after 9pm, with a great rendition of grandiose new track The Unspeakable Scene - however, that particular choice of song to open left a few people a bit stunned and the crowd didn't really get into it until the next song dropped, which was everyone's favourite Black Sheets. As usual, frontman Ian Kenny was particularly animated, several times declaring the night to be a "party", and thanking us all for being in attendance. And when he wasn't endearing himself to the fans with banter, he was doing that amazing space cadet dance we all know and love, all around the spacious Festival Hall stage. I've seen Birds' stage production increase steadily with each tour, and tonight they'd really gone all-out, with a giant visual screen up the back complementing the likes of Circles and Silhouettic very nicely. And as for the setlist? You couldn't ask for a better mix of old and new - in amongst the likes of The Saddest Thing I Know and Murmurs, there were plenty of crowd singalongs to the likes of White Witch, Off Kilter and even VERY old song Believer, from the Birds of Tokyo EP. Such was the crowd's enthusiasm that at one point Kenny noted that he'd like to bring us all on tour next time to be Birds of Tokyo's official choir. The show just went from strength to strength, until finally, with that familiar gentle drum intro, it was time for Plans, which was when the voices really got going! But what to follow it with? Silhouettic of course, and the ENTIRE crowd joined in during the first rendition of that last chorus after the jam! After disappearing for a quick breather, the demands for an encore would see them return to close the show with The Gap and the ever-popular Broken Bones. Some people might grumble about the pop-friendly direction the band took with the new album, but on this night, Kenny, Spark, Jackson, Weston and Sarangapany really took flight with an amazing show that left everyone satisfied.
The Unspeakable Scene
Black Sheets
Wild Eyed Boy
White Witch
The Saddest Thing I Know
Wild At Heart
Off Kilter
In the Veins of Death Valley
Get Out
The Bakers Son
The Gap
Broken Bones