Birds Of Tokyo Soar With the Queensland Symphony Orchestra

February 15, 2021

Queensland Symphony Orchestra Birds of Tokyo


Birds of Tokyo are a rock band hailing from sunny Perth. They have won a band of devoted fans for their alternative rock sound with soaring hits like the gorgeous Two of Us , the popular  Lanterns and the joyous Weekend. This week they finally made it to Brisbane to play several sold out shows with our amazing Queensland Symphony Orchestra.

SheSociety were some of the lucky fans who scored a ticket to this exciting collaboration, with the five piece band joined by over 50 members of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, for an evening that showcased brand new music as well as reinterpretations of some signature Birds of Tokyo classics. I couldn’t think of anyone better to take along than my musician son, Matt James, who agreed it was an amazing concept for a concert.

As I played Birds of Tokyo on repeat all day Friday we were singing along and getting more excited by the minute. It was interesting to wonder who would be heading along. Would it be rock fans? Symphony goers ? Or a hybrid of both?

It turns out that it was an eclectic mix of fans of all ages who headed along to this concert; from teens with their parents, couples celebrating the weekend, groups of friends and family groups, all looking forward to experiencing live music again. And how good it was to be back. Ian Kelly’s vocals were sublime with his searing lyrics tugging at the heart strings. There were new works like Dive from new bestselling album Hard Design, along with the rousing Unbreakable and Two of Us.This new album was written during a difficult time personally for Ian, which is why many of the tracks reflect the feelings of all of us coming off an emotional and strange 2020.

Acoustic sets before and after interval were a big hit with my son and Ian and I share a favourite in the beautiful song,Two of Us. The Symphony came to the fore in Act 2, with the majestic strings playing beautifully, cymbals crashing and the physicality of the double bass players a highlight for my son. The songs from Birds of Tokyo lend themselves magnificently to working with an orchestra and under the deft baton of ethereal conductor Vanessa Scammell, who also lent a hand on the piano, the songs were next level good. Good Lord and I’d Go With You Anywhere had the fans clapping and singing along.

Too soon this amazing concert was over but not before a rousing encore of Lanterns had the crowd swaying their phone torches to light the way home. This piece was so good it still gives me goosebumps thinking about it. This was a show filled with hits, amazing lighting , searing Symphonic arrangements and showmanship, particularly from energetic keyboardist, Glenn Sarangapany  and cool drummer, Adam Weston. The Birds took flight with the help of an effervescent Queensland Symphony Orchestra and their rousing anthems proved to be the panacea needed for a world in the grip of a pandemic. A night that this writer will remember forever. Good Lord it was great! 

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