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:: Birds Of Tokyo - The Broken Strings Tour

They may have attracted a loyal following with their first couple of releases, but it wasn’t until Birds Of Tokyo unveiled their second album ‘Universes’ in 2008 that they truly understood the meaning of success. Spawning no less than four hit singles, and supported by several tours around the country by the band, ‘Universes’ eventually went on to become one of 2008’s surprising success stories, and well and truly establish the Perth based act as one of the country’s truly outstanding live acts in years.

Although having toured far and wide several times in support of ‘Universes’, the four piece act decided to take to the road once again in November 2009. But unlike their previous ventures, ‘The Broken Strings Tour’ marked a slight departure from the norm for the band, with the band trading in their standard plugged-in instruments in favour of acoustics and strings. Needless to say, all five dates of the tour sold out in no time at all, with both the band and fans hailing the tour a complete success on all levels.

Not surprisingly, Birds Of Tokyo were more than aware of just how magic the tour was going to be, and decided to capture the entire tour on film, which has eventually resulted in the band’s first live DVD. ‘The Broken Strings Tour’. The decision to release an all acoustic/strings based live album over a full-blown rock concert could be seen as a bit of a gamble for Birds Of Tokyo. After all, fans will be more familiar with the band’s heavy rock persona rather than the softer and more emotive side. But when all is said and done, ‘The Broken Strings Tour’ is an absolute must have for fans.

Comprising of fifteen tracks that spans Birds Of Tokyo’s recorded output, and spliced together with bits of studio footage and interview footage, ‘The Broken Strings Tour’ provides an insight into the band’s various members, the work the band, pianist Glenn Sarangapany and the string quartet undertook to finally bring ‘The Broken Strings Tour’ idea to life, and the end result of the songs after a being given a complete reworking in an acoustic/strings accompaniment.

The intimate setting, the passion Kenny evokes throughout the songs, the touching strings and the subtle instrumentation in the background from the band are beautifully mixed and worked in and around each other throughout the show. Of note, tracks such as ‘Armour For Liars’, the haunting ‘The Baker’s Son’, ‘Wayside’, ‘Off Kilter’, ‘Train Wrecks’, ‘Silhouettic’, ‘Broken Bones’ and ‘Wild Eyed Boy’ are favourites here.

But the real standout has to be the absolutely stunning ‘Medicine’. One of the truly magical numbers off ‘Universes’, the song is elevated to a whole new level of perfection here, with Kenny’s unbelievable performance, and the crowd’s enthusiasm to join in on backing vocals. If there’s one song worth owing this for, it’s this version of ‘Medicine’.

The interviews interspersed throughout the DVD are both informative and funny at times, and help embellish the story behind the tour and unveil some of the mystery surrounding the band. In fact, there’s very little on ‘The Broken Strings Tour’ that doesn’t work. The only tracks that sound a little out of place are ‘Like Rain’, ‘Rose’ and ‘Violet’. The only other disappointing aspect of this DVD is the omitted version of Marvin Gaye’s ‘Heard It Through The Grapevine’, which appears on the CD equivalent. It’s a shame for fans that in order to get everything, you have to purchase both formats. There’s not much in the way of extras, and no way to separate the show itself from the various pieces of interview footage either.

But despite these few issues, ‘The Broken Strings Tour’ is something quite different from what you would normally expect from a band like Birds Of Tokyo, but definitely something fans should have no hesitation in investing in straight away.

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