Birds Of Tokyo at The Arena

Well, the support acts finished and Tenacious D unexpectedly came through the speakers. Not exactly what I had in mind, but surprisingly it was forgotten when Birds of Tokyo took to the stage to rapturous cheers...

I was curious to see how Birds of Tokyo were going to style a live show. Their tour is in majority sold out due to serious air space on most radio stations and the catchy, smoothly produced songs on their second album, Universes.

Birds of Tokyo are a tight-knit, pop rock band. Driving in the same direction of Hoobastank and Snow Patrol, but somewhat towards the more creative sounds of bands like Dead Letter Circus, they could not seem to find a happy medium. Fans of Karnivool would be forgiven in hoping for something similar with the presence of front-man Kenny.

Only a couple of songs seemed to satiate these desires as the set was clearly heading in a different direction.

Overall the gig would have been really enjoyable if it wasn’t so synchronised. There was a bare minimum of stage banter (and by bare I mean little more than ‘you guys are good hey’) and no encore, which left me feeling quite isolated. Despite only Kenny throwing a few compliments to the crowd, to the best of my knowledge the band was enjoying themselves. Adam Spark, the bands guitarist, showed some rocker moves here and there and kudos to Kenny for his spins and stomps around the stage – that certainly never got old.

Not only was the set synchronised but so were the aesthetics. BoT used a lightshow, fit for a Silverchair tour, successful in exciting the crowd for the first few songs. But as songs went on so did the pretty lightshow. Each song had its own set of colours, which was effective in coordinating the crowd’s emotions. While cleverly executed, what seemed completely awesome to begin with started to get downright distracting. I found myself asking not what song was next but what colours were next. I distinctly remember a pink and blue combination that would look great as a bed spread. I just can’t remember what song it was in…

Forgetting the lights the main pull for me was Kenny’s voice. As he’s proven over time, Kenny’s live vocals continually outdo themselves, making the Universes vocal work sound tame in comparison. While I was not convinced, in the face of the clockwork fashion BoT seemed to rely upon, the crowd really enjoyed themselves. It became apparent towards the close of the set that the majority of the audience was there for the singles, Silhouettic and Wayside. So when the songs were finally unveiled it was no surprise that the crowd responded so enthusiastically. To me, that was a clever move on BoT’s behalf. With the aforementioned lack of an encore, they were able to end on a high note and the audience left seemingly satisfied.

Zed Facts

On 14 December 1988, 4ZZZ was taken off air and forcibly evicted from its UQ premises by the then student union executive, headed by one Victoria Brazil. The move prompted many previously apolitical students to take a firm stand against the move and to rally support for the station. While Zed was not to return to the premises its' volunteers had helped hand-build, unprecedented community support saw the station live to fight another day.