Little Birdy

with The Presets

It's been a while since Little Birdy have played in Sydney; wrapping up a previous spate of touring at Luna Park's Come Together festival at the end of April before heading home to Perth to relax and work on material for a new album.


All set to rock Sydney in late August accompanied by Bob Evans and Tegan and Sara tragedy struck as a flu, causing the band to regretfully pull out halfway through the tour, but it was clear from the buzz of pre-show excitement in the crowd growing in The Metro's lounge that no animosity was felt.


For sure night had swept in fast; a few hours earlier the band arrived for a sound-check, Matt already batting the air with a drumstick in each hand, and now all of a sudden the doors are thrust open and we are filing into the cavernous dark of the concert hall. They say that as an Australian artist, you know when you play the Metro that you've made it, being here only a couple of years after the release of their debut EP and as I was told, set to sell out, there can be no doubts how bright their future is.


We are quickly greeted by Steve Parkin, playing a number of solo acoustic ballads, pleasant but forgettable. The real delight came next with mercifully short intermission; the last time I saw the Presets was also with Little Birdy on the Dissociatives tour, I knew that they were good, that they could work an audience and with an album released in the meantime they've only improved. Jumping in with 80's influenced synth-rock beats the crowd was woken up and sustained in a purple-lit sweaty groove through the entire metronomic bass-thumping set. Julian Hamilton on vocals, unburdened by a drum kit was free to dance at will across the stage rousing the crowd who didn't need his invitation to go crazy during the last song. With an exhale it's over; "Thanks, we're Tegan and Sara" he says as he and Kim Moyes, the other half of this duo exit the stage.


Another short moment and the room darkens once more, a six month wait is over. To loud cheers the band enter, Katy Steele, dressed in the red top and homemade power-rangers skirt that she wore to the ARIAS puts down the bottle of wine in one hand, and squeeze-tube of Capilano honey in the other and set opener ‘Excited' is played so flawlessly that it comes to some surprise to learn that Katy is once again sick, with a viral infection [that caused this tour's subsequent shows to be cancelled once again] although this only revealed itself through an occasional cough.


The show included almost the full album interspersed with key tracks from the two EP's, played live, musically, most songs sound remarkably similar to the recorded tracks, (not at all meant disparagingly) the sound is clear and loud, the honesty and emotion conveyed through Katy's impossibly high, sweet, country-tinged voice keeps the audience appropriately awed.


Highlights of the night were the three new tracks played; After Dark, Don't and Clear It Out (as well as Six Months In A Leaky Boat), all much more bemoaning, dark and tense than what BigBigLove had to offer, hopefully reflective of a slightly less conventional, more complex musical direction that the band could be headed in.


Although the heart-shaped light display from some previous shows was absent, a low shimmering orange filter is occasionally used giving the impression of fire-light, most effectively at the end of the final song, Losing You, the volume is slowly lowered and the dying noise is repeatedly punctured by crash symbol shots, leaving us all ready again to begin X'ing off the days until the next Little Birdy show.

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