Jan 28, 2007

Andrew Bird @ The Basement

I am now firmly of the opinion that Chicago's Andrew Bird is truly a musical genius. His show at The Basement on Saturday night was one to behold. The last couple of months in Sydney has seen a string of great live shows. With The Mountain Goats being a 10 out of 10, I would give Mr Bird a strong 9. As you might know by now he performs a one man show whilst somehow juggling 3 instruments at once, not including his remarkable whistling. He began with a long instrumental number which dissolved into "Sovay", followed by "A Nervous Tic Motion of the Head to the Left" and "Measuring Cups", the same opening from Friday night. The thing I found with his live performance is that the songs are all stretched out, mainly to include his looping of violin, which gives his music extra depth and space thereby giving each song a new twist. His violin playing is simply superb and his voice can go from a hushed whisper to a soulful, powerful instrument within seconds. I also find his lyrics to be little vignettes of life with a certain amount of irony and cryptic clues thrown in. He covered a fair amount of his catalogue with a few older tunes plus 4 songs from his forthcoming "Armchair Apocrypha". Judging by what I heard this could be his finest work yet. "Cataracts" and "Dark Matter" were in fact my favourites of the night. Simply stunning, moving songs with amazing depth. Andrew Bird also revealed himself to be a charming performer with a very dry wit. I wish he had played "Fake Palindromes" and "MX Missiles" but I'm being greedy now. Also I'm still not a huge fan of the venue, but with music like this, who cares.

Set List (I don't claim to be an Andrew Bird expert so I stand to be corrected on this-also he plays quite a few instrumental interludes which could be songs in themselves)
A Nervous Tic Motion of the Head to the Left
Measuring Cups
Glass Figurine
Dear Dirty
Cataracts - MP3
Scythian Empire
Skin Is, My
Dark Matter



  • At January 28, 2007 , Blogger Jaime said...

    He's great isnt he? I was a bit bummed about no 'Fake Palindromes' in Melbourne too. I have a feeling some of the crowd didn't get the whole looped-instruments thing.

  • At January 28, 2007 , Anonymous anne said...

    I can't wait for his new album! I dearly love the new song going around, "Heretics".

  • At January 28, 2007 , Blogger Wayne said...

    Jaime-I'd say for the casual music fan they might be non plussed by all that was going on on stage. But I think he definitely converts any one with a true love of music- just a great talent.

    Anne- I agree, the new album sounds like it will be one of those "must haves".

  • At January 28, 2007 , Blogger Jaime said...

    yeah for sure. everyone around was pretty amazed by his violin skill. i was standing near that Angus Sampson guy from 'Thank God You're Here' and all i heard him say was wow this guy is amazing

  • At January 28, 2007 , Anonymous Sean said...

    man i was impressed. thanks for the write up wayne...and the setlist. which i jacked.

  • At January 28, 2007 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Nice comments from all concerned.

    Bird's new album is amazing, in my opinion - I have listened through to it about 4 times in full and it is a real grower.

    It's not as immediately catchy as 'Mysterious Production of Eggs', but give it numerous listens and it will eat you up...

    I would have loved to have caught Bird live on this tour here in Australia, but not to be...

  • At January 29, 2007 , Blogger The Anti-Fashionista said...

    Thanks for the write up. Still kicking myself for missing this gig...

  • At January 30, 2007 , Anonymous Karen said...

    Genuis yes. I am So. Excited. about new album.

    I didn't think the venue was too bad in the end - although I think if you were standing anywhere to the side or more than 2 rows of people back it might have sucked. The vibe seemed good, even from the people at the tables.

  • At February 03, 2007 , Blogger suzan said...

    I had the table immediately in front of Andrew at The Basement gig and was thrilled to be able to watch him loop his samples and work his pedals (and almost smell his socks!). Kidding aside... what a show. Despite being under the weather he proved an absolute trouper. I was also hugely anticipating Fake Palindromes... but perhaps that why I'll just have to see him again next time he's here.
    Wayne - if you rated The Mountain Goats 10/10 (I also thought their Metro Theatre gig was awesome) I am wondering if you go to see Band of Horses at The Gaelic Club in December? If so I would be interested in hearing what you thought. I rated that show (as small as the crowd was) as one of the best I have ever seen.

  • At February 06, 2007 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Wayne, some more Andrew Bird magic:


    An appearance on a kids show, singing some awesome song he no doubt wrote without any troubles at all...

    This guy could sing a shopping list and I would be in awe..

  • At February 08, 2007 , Blogger Wayne said...

    sorry for late reply, didn't see the comments till now-

    Suzan- I went to the Band of Horses gig and thought it was wonderful. To open with Great Salt Lake just hooked me straight away. Their blend of intelligent rock laced with deep emotions is hard to resist. I liked their new songs as well. I guess with only one album it meant the show was relatively short, would give it 9/10.

    Adam- agreed, Andrew Bird is definitely some kind of genius.


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