Monday, 6 December 2010

Live Review: Basement Birds, The Metro, Sydney, 20/08/2010

Opening act The Sun Orchestra's short set is pleasant but largely talked over by the small crowd of early comers.

The room has got noticeably busier by the time second support Old Man River takes to the stage. The Old Man River live show is wonderful, the band delivers a full sound and while I didn't know many of the songs, radio singles Norway, You On My Mind and Sunshine are crowd pleasers. It is front man Ohan Rein's stage presence that impresses me most, he does a brilliant job of getting the crowd up dancing and even (unbelievably for a support act) participating in a call/response sing-a-long for La.

Basement Birds are an the Australian indie/folk super group made up of Josh Pyke, Kevin Mitchell (Bob Evans/Jebediah), Kav Temperley (Eskimo Joe), and Steve Parkin (Autopilot). Like many a super group before, the bands album fizzed - the whole was less than the sum of its parts and I was left wondering what was the point of Basement Birds.

The show starts with the four famous birds lined up along the front of the stage, members of The Sun Orchestra are filling in on drums and slide guitar from the darker back half of the stage. Opening track Waiting For You is the perfect place to start, as each of the guys sing their opening lines they are welcomed with an individual cheer from the appreciative audience.

As Basement Birds progress through the show they share the lead vocals and spot light around, a song or two at a time. The chemistry between the four band mates is clear; they are friends and in this band they are having a great time.

With just the one album of original songs behind them the 'birds treat the audience to a few covers, including a beautiful version of Sarah Blasko's All I Want and a more light hearted, jovial take on the Grease Mega Mix.

Josh Pyke and Bob Evans get perhaps the greatest share of the vocals, certainly they fill most of the between song gaps, but Basement Birds greatest weapon is the four part harmony - when their voices come together it is like honey for the ears.

As the main set ends, the band announce that they will be joined by a special guest to help out on Bus Stop. Sadly it is not Julia Stone but the Julia Stone singers, a selection of girls plucked from the audience. The fun being had by the girls on stage is contagious, the whole room is singing along, never been happier.

The show finishes with the band's cover of The Presets My People; the four guys playing, singing, dancing and smiling together on stage. I think that this - four guys having some fun with their mates - is exactly the point of Basement Birds.

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