LIVE REVIEW: Birds of Tokyo at Waves Nightclub 17/12/16

Birds of Tokyo have gone through many changes in their 12 years of being a band. From their Silverchair-esque debut album ‘Day One’, to their 2013 release ‘March Fires’ filled with ambient, pop soundscapes, Birds of Tokyo have covered it all. Their latest album ‘Brace’, however, came as a surprise to many. Produced by David Bottrill, well-known for his work on gritty, dark albums such as Muse’s ‘Origin of Symmetry’, ‘Brace’ sees the band take on an antiestablishment, aggressive mood, making for a great album, and a fantastic live show.

December 17th saw them take to the stage at Waves Nightclub in Towradgi, following Introvert and Strangers as support acts. Both acts shared Birds of Tokyo’s new, heavier sound. Introvert were up first, giving a taste of Deftones with their alternative metal sound. They were followed by Strangers who geared up the crowd with their fast tracks. A highlight of their set was the drummer who played with a massive grin on his face, looking not unlike a joyous dog with its head sticking out the window of a car. You could sense the band’s love for performing as the lead singer jumped down to walk in the crowd, giving out hugs and high-fives.

Birds of Tokyo took to the stage next amidst an impressive display of lights and graphics behind them, something to be commended in such a small venue. The animations followed the themes of destruction, creation, technology and change and added a dramatic flair to the performance. Most of Birds of Tokyo’s setlist was taken from their new album, ‘Brace’, which created a very cohesive, almost theatrical show. Even the appearance of the band fed into this; all the musicians played standing up, including the keyboard player and the drummer. Lead singer Ian Kenny was decked out in all white and sporting an impressive beard, which along with his dancing and gestures gave him a true rockstar appearance. The new album’ singles ‘Brace’ and ‘Empire’ have been played extensively on radio (despite the band touting the new release as something that would be rejected by mainstream radio) and were hits on the night as the crowd sang along. However, a Birds of Tokyo show wouldn’t be complete without older classics such as ‘Lanterns’, ‘This Fire’ and ‘Plans’ being played, all of which proved to still be massive hits with the crowd. The lighter nature of their older songs didn’t seem out of place with new tracks from ‘Brace’, as the band had clearly taken into account speed and dynamics to modify the songs to fit in.

It’s clear that even after all this time, Birds of Tokyo haven’t lost their energy or creativity. Even with their new, aggressive lyrics, they remain a band that put on a genuine, skilled show that just makes you want to sing along.

Jan 10th 2017 | Daisy Loomes