LIVE REVIEW: Birds Of Tokyo – QPAC

Birds Of Tokyo are a band that don’t really need a introduction. With a career spanning over 15 years they’ve raked in 2 Aria Awards, 4 APRA Awards and 10 WAMi Awards, as well as soundtracked some key moments in Australian stories with their heartfelt alt-rock meets pop-rock fusion. Always looking at adapting, building and growing their sound and vision, the Perth based five piece have delivered a couple of unconventional and intimate tours along the way that have brought a different spotlight to their storytelling and musicianship. 

Most famously, their Broken Strings Tour in 2009 saw them deconstruct their songs to the barest acoustic bones with delicate orchestration. This tour has become a fan favourite as it was a very special and intimate show that highlighted an ultra-vulnerable side to their artistry, and is something fan and critics alike have wanted to witness again. With their new album ‘Human Design’ floating in the more pop contemporary field with soaring ballads being some of the biggest highlights, there hasn’t seemed to be a more appropriate time for them to revisit the cinematic stylings of an orchestra or strings tour. 

Birds Of Tokyo In Concert With Queensland Symphony Orchestra is an intimate three night residency at QPAC which is a part of a bigger nationwide tour that sees them teaming up with state orchestra’s for these very special shows. With a sold out crowd packing into the Concert Hall on Friday night, they delivered a setlist that floated between selections from their new album as well their back catalogue of greatest hits. Opening with ‘Broken Bones’ they dived straight into ‘Plans’, ‘I’d Go With You Anywhere’, ‘Circles’, ’Silhouettic’ and ‘Wild At Heart’ which were all adapted so beautifully to this concept. New tracks ‘Unbreakable’, ’Designed’, and ‘Dive’ already had string woven foundations embedded in them which came to life so uniquely on the live stage. 

After taking a brief intermission, the band and orchestra continued their deep dive into their discography with recent singles ‘The Greatest Mistakes’ and ‘Two Of Us’ breaking down the barriers for ‘The Gap’, ‘This Fire’, ‘Mercy Arms’ and ‘Brace’. In-between songs, lead vocalist Ian Kenny provided some playful banter that saw him joking about constantly locking eyes with the pianist which he admitted felt strange as they aren’t usually placed next to each other for shows. Closing the show with ‘Good Lord’ and the encore performance of ‘Lanterns’, they left the audience  wanting to hear more. 

The seamless show felt very organic and natural while also feeling simultaneously special. These beautiful arrangements highlighted a prominently more vulnerable side to their artistry and transported some of their more alt-rock leaning material into a melodic state of reflection. 

Image by Sarah Marshall