Written By Heather Dunmoyer
Andrew bird, what a concept. To pin him down and to describe his performance seems very limiting-- his work is a complex contrivance that swelled and burst under the Showbox gel lights on the evening of his show. On a personal level, Andrew Bird was the musical backbone of my sophomore year of High School. His haunting vocals, thrilling ability to whistle, and unmatched talent for picking, was the ideal combination for a typical, folk-seeking high schooler.
Andrew Bird has been in the rink since 1996—that's 20 years of musical excellence. It's hard to believe that after getting married, and having a son, he's not settling down, he's just winding up again. For a classic Bird description, the man can sing. His voice reverberates and reaches beyond expectations of what seems human. Effortlessly he can reach octaves high and low, while still managing to capture the eerie fade that defines the intrigue of his style. Bird's skill-set reaches beyond his voice. His ability to whistle and play a total of eight instruments, all exceptionally well, puts him on an entirely new level of artist. Unmasked talent, a chilling a poetic lyricist. He seems incomparable, so we'll leave it at that.
His performance took his new album, Are You Serious? Sprinkled with a mix of his classic works, and gave them a whole new life. When he performed the old-school,Nervous Tick Motion of the Head to the Left, the band erupted into a more rock-enthused arena. It featured a much louder bass, the addition of drums, and Bird's own revised progression to grow the excitement from the crowd. He managed to keep his head ticking during the song's performance, all while picking on a violin no less, and still whistling at perfect pitch. The performance almost seemed cinematic as Bird's style can meld together a spaghetti western whistling progression, with that of a symphonic violin number, and sound outright fantastic.
The highlight of the night was the encore performance as the Seattle crowd was eager to hear more. Andrew loved to tease the audience with the intro to the songs, almost as if to test to see if it was familiar or recognized. When he began with the well known, Fake Palindromes intro, the crowd was instantly aware and geared up. As the undulations and complications of the beautiful, song unfolded, Bird has a sweet moment when he looked up to the drummer, Martin Dosh, and was just beaming. It seemed as though not only the song was coming together perfectly, but their ending piece meant a lot to his Seattle crowd. Overall, Bird was fantastic. It's rare to see such a mold breaking genius in the spotlight, but it was an monumental performance.
Bird will be back in September, so if you're the slightest bit intrigued, I absolutely recommend you experience the Bird himself.