Birds to fly high with new sound
After a year-long wait, arguably the biggest music festival in the Pilbara will return to Port Hedland for its fourth instalment this weekend.
The North West Festival will kick off its three-day format, marketed as the Pilbara Weekender, on Friday afternoon.
This year’s line-up is dominated by Australian artists and, depending on who you ask, the biggest coup could be the appearance of five-piece alternative rock band Birds of Tokyo who have returned to their homeland after spending 2014 based in the USA.
In the past 11 years, Birds have steadily grown their star with each new album.
Their debut album Day One spent 36 consecutive weeks in the ARIA top 10.
They released two more albums before smash hit Lanterns was launched onto the Australian music scene in 2013.
Since the band returned from a year writing and living in America, 2015 has marked a big change.
On releasing a four-track EP, Anchor, earlier this year, the band revealed it was “a little experiment” that included hip-hop elements they had never explored before.
There are even said to be some vocal effects that make lead singer Ian Kenny sound like he is from another galaxy.
Kenny said the new sound had “gone down well with the masses” and he expected the band to release another EP in coming months.
“We were a bit nervous about releasing this EP... there is always pressure to follow up the success of a previous song such as Lanterns,” he said.
“If you don’t match it or beat it, it gives you this perceived notion that you’re on the way down but it looks like Anchor has been received really well.”
Kenny said compared with Lanterns, Anchor was a dark, heavy song about taking care of your friends.
“It was a bit of a roll of the dice to put out a song that touches on anxiety and depression ... and still have people connect with it,” he said.
“The thing you learn as you keep putting out music is that you tend to rebel against the last thing you did.
“You always want to explore new things, you don’t want to become the one-trick pony band.”
The Birds’ appearance at North West Festival follows a tour from May to late June so they are tipped to be in good form come the weekend.
Kenny said the band had put two months of pre-production into the stage show to up the ante for audiences.
“By the time we got to the stage, things were hitting pretty hard, loud and fast,” he said.
“The shows have been the best we have ever done.”
Kenny said he thought this year’s North West Festival line-up was pretty cool and he expected big things.
He said he was looking forward to enjoying the heat of the North West after dealing with a cold winter in Sydney.
“We love coming out to the country towns ... whenever you go regional there are always real characters and it is always fun,” he said.
“There is a sonic assault that we have developed that we hope will knock people’s socks off.”
Birds of Tokyo will headline this Saturday’s North West Festival in Port Hedland.