Birds of Tokyo @ Metro City (03/04/09)

Despite being home for two weeks with the recording studio beckoning the Wild Eyed Boy Tour was extended to give the Birds of Tokyo faithful a final crack at whiplash.

With such a break from their last performance Trial Kennedy were no longer on the bill leaving a supporting role to fill. Chosen was not one but two bands, the first of whom had only played one show and the other just two shows prior to their slots! The leg-up from Birds of Tokyo to bolster these acts to main stage was not only a facilitation of local music but an endorsement of quality.

However, before either of these bands were to arrive on stage the opening honours went to the mischievous Puck of electro mash-ups, Tomas Ford.

Arriving onstage like an ambling druid Ford began to disrobe exclaiming “Hi I’m Tomas Ford and I’m gonna really piss some of you off”. Welcome to the Tomas Ford experience.

If it was thought that Ford might have been constricted by Metro City’s many obstacles then he was set to enlighten all with his ingenuity and disregard of the discomfort thrust upon himself and those around him.

Antagonising the crowd he unleashed Bash Myself from the confines of the stage. Stripping down to a collared shirt then singlet Ford shook with more shimmy then a float at Mardi Gras.

Covering Radiohead’s Creep Ford made it into the crowd and even an unplugged mic cord did not deter him from his pungent performance as he ran around the sound and lighting desk all the while audibly whipping up discontent in some quarters and pleasure in others.

Even though our ever faithful photographer Stuo was barred from inside the barrier he still pulled off these great shots.

Obtaining the second slot of the night Sparks Vertigo took to their sophomore performance with instrumental command and confidence.

As a five piece pleasure pop/rock band their sound developed around the keys complementing the skills of all members without allowing one to override the other. On stage, the performance was intently focused but passionate in delivery with band and audience swaying to the rhythm.

Uncanny in its similarity, singer and keyboardist Andrew Martin exhibits a sublime voice that would have Daniel Johns creaming himself and wishing he could have started his career at Diorama, even though Silverchair fans may think otherwise!

Playing unreleased material the band offered demo recordings to the audience that were greedily gathered up. Stand out tracks from the demo and in performance were hard to choose with (The Knee Bone Is connected To The…) Lets Dance!, Well Grandpa, You Fed Them Those Berries! and One Wonders all capturing different elements of the band’s writing and composition style in beguiling expressivity.

The Siren Tower’s third gig to a heaving Metro City was backed by the extensive experience and abilities of the handpicked band.

Fronted by former Heavy Weight Champ singer and guitarist Grant McCulloch, Antistatic drummer Brody Simpson, Operation Beehive guitarist Clayton Smith, and former bass player with The Chemist Gareth Hughes , The Siren Tower came across as accomplished musicians on top of their game.

Radically different in dress and performance poses, there is an authentic and untamed worth in this band of individuals who haven’t been sullied by commercial pressures.

Letter From The Edge Of The Earth brought an almost atmospheric quality to open their set with McCulloch giving his plugged in acoustic guitar such a work over that he looked nearly to tear the neck off but fortunately it was only the instrument’s E string that lost out.

With a good variety throughout the set The Gift Horse picked up the pace toward the end lifting the crowd’s expectations for the main act.

Many drunk eyed boys descended from the bars to the inner sanctum where other guys and girls alike had patiently waited for their homecoming heroes.

Straight into Armour For Liars, Birds of Tokyo were not about to hold back and neither was the crowd. A word-for-word sing off between Ian Kenny and the raucous West Aussies was to last the entire set.

Following with Black Sheets off the Day One LP and Stay, Kenny’s wacky dance moves with peculiar heel of hand claps led to questioning the possibly that his limbs could be made of a material similar to the characters in Gumby.

Tempering off Like Rain soothed the audience but the mood was quickly overturned when Adam Spark on lead guitar and the explosive rhythm section of bassist Anthony Jackson and drummer Adam Weston unleased into Off Kilter.

The rest of the set followed with Get Out, Desperate, Rest Here My Brother and Head In My Hands before the tantalising key change in Broken Bones that crescendos into a swirling electrified discharge of guitars and resolute declaration of independent action.

Inevitably the crowd favourites were to surface although with such a solid sound and shrewd track listing decisions they weren’t to come till right at the end. The reception to Wild Eyed Boy had the Metro City management turning up the aircon just in time for Wayside to follow.

The metal floor made for the perfect stomp for an encore with Birds of Tokyo satisfying with White Witch and Silhouettic.

Capping off an Australian tour in familiar territory should hopefully be the impetus Birds of Tokyo can feed off to get them through their studio time and see them offering their own new material out on the road once again.

Photography by Stuo