Cover story: Birds of Tokyo to the ARIAS and beyond ............
THE most played artists on Australian radio this year, Birds of Tokyo, return to the Coolangatta Hotel next month for a one-off sideshow as part of their national tour opening for UK stars Muse.
The band added the December 11 Cooly show – the night after their Brisbane show with Muse – to blow out the cobwebs and get back to basics.
‘‘Those gigs are the most fun I think – simple, energetic and exciting,’’ bass player Ian Berney says.
‘‘Those are the kind of gigs I live for. The big stadium ones are good but the smaller gigs can be a lot more exciting. You can see the whites of people’s eyes and they can see yours.’’
Berney says fans at the Cooly show can look forward to a full-length, greatest-hits flavoured set loaded with gems.
‘‘(Latest album) March Fires was made for a bigger room – it wasn’t made for punk rock rooms for 150 sweaty punters. It was made for depth and width,’’ he says.
‘‘We’re going to brush up on our back catalogue for the Cooly show. People at the Cooly will get to see songs we won’t be able to play with Muse.’’
Comprised of two Ians, two Adams and a Glenn – Berney and vocalist Ian Kenny, Adam Spark on guitar and Adam Weston on drums and Sarangapany on keys – Birds of Tokyo’s epic shows have made them festival favourites.
Their cover of Talking to a Stranger for new tribute album Crucible: The Songs of Hunters & Collectors lead to a gig with Hunters in front of more than 100,000 punters at the MCG as part of this year’s AFL Grand Final entertainment program.
However, Berney says the band enjoyed stripping everything back to return to ‘‘square one’’ for a show at The Mint, in Los Angeles, in July.
‘‘There was 40 or 50 people. There were a handful of Aussies down there – the expats came and helped us out,’’ he says. Birds of Tokyo plan to return to the US in February. ‘‘We’re waiting to see if we can connect with some radioplay in America across the country. If that happens, we’ll start doing more and more over there,’’ Berney says.
‘‘We’re excited to see how Lanterns goes with American radio. It’s going to be serviced to radio there in January. If it goes well, maybe we’ll get on some TV programs and start talking about the band in that country then a tour would not be inappropriate.’’
In the meantime, there are speeches to prepare and suits to press ahead of the ARIA awards on December 1. Birds of Tokyo are nominated for six ARIAs – for Album of the Year, Best Group and Best Rock Album and in publicly voted categories for Best Australian Live Act, Song of the Year and Best Video for Lanterns, directed by Josh Logue. That’s potentially a trophy and a speech each, right? ‘‘I suppose so – and one for the manager,’’ Berney says, laughing. ‘‘I’ll be there. I’ve picked out a suit. We’re under instruction, yeah (to dress up). You don’t want to rock up there in jeans and a T-shirt. That would look a bit lazy. It’s an opportunity for everyone to show a little bit of suit and tie for the cameras and photos and girlfriends. Everyone wants to glam up.’’
The nominations follow the stellar success of March Fires, which debuted at No. 1 on the Australian charts and spawned hits including This Fire and Lanterns. Birds will also perform at the awards ceremony. ‘‘Some of the production ideas are going to surprise people,’’ Berney says of their slot.
Birds of Tokyo play the ARIA Awards in Sydney on December 1. Muse and Birds of Tokyo play the Brisbane Entertainment Centre on December 10. Birds of Tokyo and Guinea Fowl play the Coolangatta Hotel on December 11
Birds of Tokyo