Keep The Bird Flying!

Keep The Bird Flying!

With the beloved Boorloo-venue currently fighting to keep its doors open with a series of dope fundraising gigs, we get nostalgic with venue booker Emma Adams too look back on some of The Birds best gigs

For nearly 15 years, The William Street Bird (better known simply as The Bird) has been a bastion of not only live music and every genre imaginable of DJ night but also a go-to after work chill spot with its iconic beer garden and delicious range of drinks to local brews on tap to classic cocktails.

One of The Bird’s crowning achievements is their storied list of alumni that have played the venue, ranging from international underground heroes to tomorrow’s local legends, oftentimes providing artists their first proper live gig experience. Flume’s first ever Perth show was at The Bird, while the likes of Stella Donnelly and Methyl Ethel also played shows in the early stages of their careers, amongst too many others to name.

Unfortunately the future of The Bird is not certain, as like all venues they had to battle through the ramifications of COVID-19, and are now facing unforeseen financial challenges stemming largely from changes in consumer behaviour, with beverage sales in particular taking a hit.

“Venues across Australia, like Melbourne's cherished Tote and Sydney's iconic Enmore Theatre, are grappling with similar challenges, and although we’ve fought for a long time, it’s our turn on the chopping block,” says owner/director Kabir Ramasary. “This is do or die for us, and so we’re calling on our community for help.”

That help comes in the form of fundraising campaign Keep The Bird Flying - a series of themed gigs covering the broad areas of Indie/Rock/Pop, Hip Hop, Alternative, and Queer, alongside a crowdfunding campaign hosted by the Australian Cultural Fund (see below for all details).

With all this going on, we caught up with The Bird’s Music Programmer and local muso Emma Adams to look back on some of her favourite memories from the venue.

JITWAM (NYC) - January 25 2020

Ben Aguero and Nelson Mondlane from experimental audio / visual / rap project Myriad Sun reached out to me to arrange a show for Brooklyn based psych soul producer Jitwam while he was travelling to Oz. When artists are rallying around other artists you know it's going to be something really special.

The guys put together a lineup of some of Perth's best creatives featuring Lana Rothnie, Alex Reid & Josiah Padmanahbam (Grievous Bodily Calm), Jamillia and DJ sets from Sweet P, Alienboy and Ben. The fees to get Jitwam were not cheap to Perth and it was the first event I’d personally taken a punt on because it was just too cool to pass on.

The show was magic. The music, the visuals, the way the local community got around this visiting artist,  just the whole vibe in the venue was next level and a memory I am really fond of.

New Nausea “Fountain of Struth” Album Launch / Camping Trip - March 14 2020

It's finally done, New Nausea's first release, an LP called Fountain of Struth. To celebrate we would like to invite you to a camping trip in The Bird. Erasers bringing nice coffee for the morning, Nika Mo (full band) got the marshmallows, Rabbit Island gonna tell us stories by the fire.” - Albert Pritchard

I love when an artist comes into the space with a vision to transform the room and really make it their own for the night. New Nausea’s visionary Albert Pritchard had briefed me on his idea of a ‘camping theme’ for the launch of their album ‘Fountain of Struth’. Morning of the show, I came into the venue early to meet Albie and let him get to work. I was painfully hungover from the gig the night before and had underestimated the extent of Albie’s set design.

I helped him carry in a few bits then had to lay down on the floor with a wet flannel while he erected tents, strung half of the Australian bush from the ceiling and set up a ‘campfire’ (gas burner) side of stage for roasting marshmallows. The show commenced that night with New Nausea emerging from a tent that opened out onto the stage. This was the last live show before covid lockdowns were announced that evening.

The Floors w/ Big Orange, Will Stoker and the Embers - August 7 2020

The Floors Photographer Linda Dunjey

Image credit: Linda Dunjey

This show was the first time since lockdown that many of the regulars in the Perth music scene were together again in the same space. The energy at live shows throughout this period was sky high but this show in particular was heaving. The Floors are one of Perth’s premier blues-rock bands and their dirty, swampy sound, must’ve been what everyone was craving after being cooped up for so long. Punters filled literally every crevice of the room that night, climbing up on tables and chairs to get amongst the chaos.

Soul Alphabet Residency - July 2020

Soul Alphabet Anesu photo by Adrian Thomson

Image credit: Adrian Thomson

Soul Alphabet is a platform run by Afrikan women that supports the bla(c)k and brown community through art, music & other creative work. Director Linda Iriza came with the idea of running a live music event to raise funds for a DJ program she was developing. There were so many artists from this community that I was not familiar with and through Lindas help I gained a much greater understanding of this scene in Perth and all the amazing projects they work on. We expanded the show to a month-long residency and hosted the DJ workshops from the venue. The Soul Alphabet shows were a huge vibe. It was also through Linda that I met hip-hop / rap artist and activist Anesu who I now manage as an artist.

WAY WAY WEST - November 2021 & 2022

WAY WAY WEST 1 photo Jack O Grady

Image credit: Jack O'Grady

WAY WAY WEST is (with bias) my favourite event to run at the bird. A mini-fest collab between myself and my amazing partner Mark Neal (Blue Grey Pink) alongside party collectives Foolish and Crab Claw. WWW is a weekend long carpark party that brings together the DJ and live music scenes. The event was nominated for Live Event of The Year at the 2023 Wam Awards, which was a nice surprise for an event that was essentially us putting our favourite artists together for a self-indulgent party.

Nest FM

Nest FM

Image credit: Supplied

Hey Emma! I’ve had an idea for the Wednesday arvo sessions. How about a mock live radio program from the bird courtyard where we live stream the session? I could have a mic and do subtle radio host moments to the people in the courtyard, I was thinking NEST FM or some kind of play on ‘the bird’” - Henny Boles

Nest FM was born at The Bird in May 2021 as an afternoon live streaming session from the courtyard. Founded by larger-than-life party royalty Henny Boles, it has gone on to be the hottest party ticket in town.

ALT / RITUALS

Alt feat Tomas Ford photo by Adrian Thomson fotor 20240109125320

Image credit: Adrian Thomson

Founded by the brains and souls behind Hearts of Darkness - Amir Barber-Skwarko & Jess Willoughby, RITUALS events celebrate alternative culture and lifestyle in a safe space for all bodies and identities.

Through their impeccable programming of live performers and DJs, the rituals crew have transformed Thursday nights at The Bird into a haven for all the spooks and ghouls and is my favourite night of the week at The Bird.

          - Emma Adams, Music Programmer, The William Street Bird

Keep The Bird Flying - Live Music Fundraisers 2024

Four weekends, four live music events, raising the funds to keep The Bird in flight.  Tickets include 4 hours of free flow drinks (alc and non-alc) served up with four epic lineups of live local music:

VOL 1: SATURDAY JAN 13TH

Celebrate the darker side of art in a safe space for all bodies and identities. Help us ensure The Bird remains the sanctuary for alternative souls

Vibecheck: post-punk dark-wave, acid tech. Co-Programmed by Hearts of Darkness.
LINEUP: GIA COMO + SARCO + TOMAS FORD
DJs: RITUALS DJS
MC: TOMAS FORD
TIME: 3PM - 7PM

VOL 2: SATURDAY JAN 2OTH

Indie vibes, pop melodies. Come be a part of this epic arvo. Your support ensures that the indie scene lives on.

Vibecheck: indie pop, jazz, experimental.
LINEUP: SECRET HEADLINE + KING IBIS + SCRATCHING + SMOL FISH
DJs: JXNIOR + TRIL6 + DARCY LOVE
MC: AXEL CARRINGTON
TIME: 3PM - 7PM

VOL 3: SUNDAY JAN 28th

Get ready to groove to the sickest beats in WA. We've got live rap and hip-hop artists and DJs ready to drop some serious bars. Don't miss out on the party – help us keep the music pumpin.

Vibecheck: hip hop, rap, beats
Lineup: SUPEREGO + MALI JO$E plus more TBA!
DJs: ASLAN
MC: MACSHANE
TIME: 3PM - 7PM

VOL 4: SUNDAY FEB 4TH

Join us for an electrifying arvo filled with fabulous performers, DJs and Drag! Your support keeps The Bird's inclusivity alive.

Vibecheck: dance, electronic, party, queer
Lineup: PROJECT BEXX + SUNNY FLOWERS
DJs: NEST FM + CAROLINA REAPER DJs
MC: ASH TRAYLIA
TIME: 3PM - 7PM

Follow The Bird: Instagram / Facebook

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