Birds of Tokyo’s Geraldton jam sends off Rockin the Regions tour in style

Edward ScownMidwest Times
The crowd rose to their feet for the final songs of Birds of Tokyo's Rockin’ The Regions Tour.
Camera IconThe crowd rose to their feet for the final songs of Birds of Tokyo's Rockin’ The Regions Tour. Credit: Edward Scown

Birds of Tokyo’s trip to Geraldton was always going to be popular. After all, you’d usually have to travel to Perth to see an act that big.

So no surprise they sold out Queens Park Theatre on Saturday night for the last leg of their Rockin’ the Regions tour.

Local talent Ian Weggler warmed up the crowd with back-up from Carly Markham.

His heartfelt lyrics were the perfect contrast to the hilarious dance moves and exaggerated guitar face that almost distracted the audience from the fact he’s a very capable musician. Somebody needs to get this guy a band.

Whoever lined up the music during the interlude got it spot-on. Toto’s Africadrew a rousing chorus, but I Want To Know What LoveIs by Foreigner had the whole auditorium belting it out, led on by a trio in one of the boxes up front. In the business, we call this foreshadowing.

Finally, Birds of Tokyo took the stage, sans guitarist Adam Spark. In his place was an electric Glenn Sarangapany, wielding a white Fender Telecaster. Sarangapany’s usual keyboard and synth section was filled in with a backing track — disappointing for this rock purist, but it got the job done.

The band came out on to the darkened stage with arguably their most popular song, Plans.

The crowd’s earlier singing had clearly warmed up their vocal chords as they joined right in, and didn’t stop when I’d Go With You Anywhere followed.

This being the last show of the tour, you could forgive a lack of energy on stage. After all, bouncing between the South West, Goldfields, and finally the Mid West involves dozens of hours of travelling in the space of only a few weeks.

Birds of Tokyo's Glenn Sarangapany and Ian Kenny backstage with Ian Weggler and Carly Markham.
Camera IconBirds of Tokyo's Glenn Sarangapany and Ian Kenny backstage with Ian Weggler and Carly Markham. Credit: Facebook/Ian Weggler Music

But that wasn’t the case. The whole band came out with an intensity that only dropped off, appropriately, for an acoustic performance of Designed.

An interesting rift between the younger and older crowd emerged around halfway through the show. The greatest hits had made way for some of the, as Sarangapany describes them, “riffier” tracks. It was perfectly demonstrated by a father-daughter duo who’d snagged seats in the front row.

The girl, who looked primary school-aged, was enthralled with the opening salvo. Dad sat nodding along, seemingly just happy his daughter was having a good time.

Then the Birds played Brace.

This was not the studio version, however. This was a stripped-back, metallic jam.

Dad was headbanging like it was a Rage Against the Machine concert, while his daughter looked at him as if to say “who are you, and where did my dad go?” Lead singer Ian Kenny said coming up with a set list had been difficult. He only hoped there was “something for everyone”. What we got was a mix which predictably leaned on their latest album, Human Design, but diving into the back catalogue gave everyone in the all-ages crowd something to rock out to. Mission accomplished, Mr Kenny.

The only gripe this reporter could have is the choice of venue. The acoustics were amazing, the lighting was great, and the seats were comfortable. But that’s the issue — the seats.

It feels wrong to sit down at a rock concert. Perhaps I’ve been spoiled by the pub music scene in Perth, but a rock show should be enjoyed from the mosh pit. Rubbing shoulders with sweaty strangers, dancing and singing in unison is all part of the experience.

It might’ve been the only way to do an all-ages show. The younger fans, of course, deserve to be able to see their favourite band comfortably. However, it feels like something was lost for the adult audience, who made up an enormous majority. At times it was like watching Pearl Jam Touring Band 2000 on DVD with some decent headphones.

It really is a minor complaint, though. Perhaps encouraged by the need to get their phone lights as high as they could for Lanterns, the crowd plucked up the courage to stand. Although separated by rows of seats, some of that energy was captured for the last two songs.

Birds of Tokyo truly rocked this region, and gained a new fan in the process.

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