Review by Melissa Griffin, photos by Jonathan James
Birds of Tokyo kicked off their Good Lord national tour in Adelaide on September 12th, with a sold out two-night run at The Gov.
Opening for the Aussie contemporary rockers was 21-year-old Melbourne singer Samsaruh, who quickly gained the attention of the fast-growing crowd. With her fiery dance moves and Triple J hits like ‘Beautiful Killer,’ Samsaruh was a well fitted warm up for the crowd. Her confident vocals and stage presence brought together a strong performance that reached every corner of the venue. The guitar heavy femme rock set the scene for the night; her powerful set will not disappoint for the rest of the tour.
Perth boys Birds of Tokyo walked on stage to a dramatic display of futuristic spotlights and synths. They jumped straight into one of their heavier tunes ‘White Witch,’ with lead singer Ian Kenny visibly excited to get the gig underway. Next up was ‘Empire,’ which referenced the synths heard at the start. Fan favourite ‘I’d Go with You Anywhere,’ had the crowd immersing themselves in the experience, pulling out their phones to document the first few lines but quickly tucking them away again.
Birds of Tokyo seemed to know the audience well, getting a response out of every song. Old favourites ‘Anchor’ and ‘Plans’ had the crowd singing along loudly, with Kenny holding out the mic for the chorus of ‘Plans.’
The band had no trouble chopping and changing from slow to heavy songs, demonstrating their range while still keeping the crowd’s attention. During ‘Silhouettic,’ lead singer Kenny walked off stage to let guitarist Adam Spark lead the way in a solo. Following with ‘Brace,’ the diversity within the audience was clear with some favouring the more traditional Aussie rock tunes and others belting along to the love ballads. It was obvious however, that the majority of the room were waiting for arguably the band’s most popular single. As the first chords of ‘Lanterns’ rung out the crowd cheered, and phones and arms went straight up. Kenny let the audience finish off the last line of the song with every voice in the room responding.
It wasn’t just the old songs that were a hit with the crowd, with new single ‘Good Lord’ being met with enthusiasm. After a quick interlude offstage, the band were welcomed back to cheers and a slow clap from the audience. The encore featured their latest single ‘Greatest Mistakes’ with the night ending on slow building ‘This Fire’ and a quick “See you next time folks” from Kenny.
Birds of Tokyo delivered an energetic performance for their fans, nailing the crowd favourites throughout the set, but the show wasn’t without fault. At times the vocals were a little lost to the guitars, but a majority of the crowd were singing the lyrics, helping overcome this issue. The accompanying lights added to the performance, however, the use of screens in the background to display stock images of flowers blooming and fires burning seemed a little unnecessary, particularly given the size of the venue.
Overall, Birds of Tokyo are worth seeing live if you’re a fan of the band or more broadly, classic Australian contemporary rock. They’re a finger pointed to the sky type of band.