Artist feature: Andrew Bird
tldr: you should check out Andrew Bird, he’s dope.
If you’ve met me in person, then odds are you’ve seen this fantastic performance (below) by Andrew Bird (left). As exemplified in this live version of “Why,” Bird combines his powerful singing voice with his stunning skill with the violin to produce a sound that I really cannot compare to anything else. His use of real-time looping, sometimes bizarre lyrics, masterful whistling, and impeccable taste in socks distinguish him as an artist and make him one of my favorites.
Underneath some of Bird’s stranger lyrics is more than a hint of social commentary. For example, he pokes at the education system in the song “Measuring Cups,” singing:
Get out your measuring cups
And we’ll play a new game
Come to the front of the class
And we’ll measure your brain
We’ll give you a complex and we’ll give it a name
Other songs have less discernible meanings and more fanciful lyrics. However, rather than being pretentious or condescending, I find his eccentric style charming and thoughtful.
I had the immense pleasure to see Bird live in concert at First Avenue & 7th Street Entry in Minneapolis with my bff Angela back in 2011. I could not recommend the act nor the venue more. I had high expectations, but the performance met and exceeded every one of them. The floor was packed, the music was loud but clear (always quality engineering at First Ave), and – led by Bird’s vocals and violin – the band rocked the crowds collective socks. The set list contained songs from my favorite Andrew Bird & The Mysterious Production of Eggs including the appropriately named “A Nervous Tic Motion of the Head to the Left” (it’s like he’s writing this blog for me).
Towards the end of the act, he started to feed parts of the songs through a massive gramophone. The gramophone itself rotated on a platform, distorting the music with a “whomp-whomp” effect. As the speaker rotated faster and faster, the music became more and more surreal, even trance-like. The band returned twice to the stage for encores, the first time featuring an unplugged folk set: Bird on the fiddle of course.
He’s one dope Andrew B.
photo image credit: musicforants http://musicforants.com/blog/mp3-andrew-bird-give-it-away/