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  1. #1
    Rocket Surgeon Swish's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003

    Belated Andrew Bird 'live' review.

    So the day after the Canadian Invasion, Fall Girl, her better half, and Audio Bill rode to Philly with me and my current spouse in my somewhat-cramped mid-size sedan. I drove extra fast to get there as quickly as possible. Actually, I always drive 'extra fast'.

    Bird was playing at Union Transfer, a fairly-new (less than a year old) venue on Spring Garden St. in Philly, just a couple blocks north of Vine Street. We arrived much earlier to check into our hotel and did some walking around the city to see the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, among other things. We also saw a girl wearing high-heeled sneakers, which was much more interesting than the historical crap.

    We ate some pub grub at the funky Standard Tap, along with some most excellent libations. After dinner, we headed over to the Union Transfer and were able to park right in front of it on the street. Lucky? Nope, just really freakin' early, so we walked across the street to the Llama Tooth restaurant and were greeted with the most bizarre service I've ever encountered. Okay maybe the second most bizarre, but still quite bizarre.

    We each got a drink while I kept commenting on how many people were already in line for the show. Everyone knew I was on edge and drank a bit more hurriedly, something they couldn't really help since I was lifting the bottom of their glasses to assist them.

    We got in line and, after a short wait, they opened the doors. We were about to get in one of the lower boxes (sort of a loge on each side of the first level) and I got the staff to bring us a couple seats because at least two in our group were old and feeble. Your guess as to whom I'm referring.

    It was an awesome show and I'm so glad I was able to see it. I found this stellar review of the show and couldn't this of anything to add, so here you go...

    Andrew Bird takes unpredictable turns in Union Transfer concert
    May 05, 2012|By Sam Adams, FOR THE INQUIRER

    Union Transfer boasts some of the best sight lines in the city, but even with the stage at Thursday’s Andrew Bird concert in full view, you might have been tempted to crane your neck to see where he was hiding his orchestra. Even when he was alone at the microphone — or rather, microphones — with only a violin in his hands, Bird used loop pedals to layer swooping solos on top of sprightly pizzicato, seamlessly integrating snatches of styles ranging from the Wild West to the Middle East.

    Bird recorded his new album, Break It Yourself, in a weekend-long jam session in a converted barn, with the same three-piece band that joined him on stage. The songs built slowly, in part out of necessity, since Bird needed time to record and embellish his intricate loops, which dove around each other like aquatic mammals or birds cartwheeling in an open sky. For “Desperation Breeds ...,” he built a gauzy mass of vocal harmonies, adding to his own vocal parts each time the musical figure swung around to its beginning, which faded into the background as the band steered the song into rockier seas. Additional instability was provided courtesy of a spinning speaker topped with what looked like a two-headed gramophone horn, making Bird’s violin and guitar echo and shudder.

    Bird’s onstage process roughly mirrors that of more recent arrival Merrill Garbus, who performs as Tune-Yards. But while Garbus builds towering, African-influenced polyrhythms, Bird expands along the horizon line, broadening his scope rather than setting each new element atop the last. Technically speaking, Bird’s method is no less demanding — a single misplaced note could easily collapse the structure — but it feels like less of a high-wire act, mainly because his songs are less about locking into patterns than straying from them. “Orpheo Looks Back” began with Bird playing his violin like a ukulele, morphed into a Romany dance, and then gave way to his quavering, almost ghostly whistle.

    Twice during the show, including for an encore cover of Townes Van Zandt’s “If I Needed You,” Bird switched off his electronics and gathered his band around a single microphone, as if they were performing on some old-time radio hour. Even without enhancement, the songs took unpredictable turns, as if Bird were not their master, only their keeper.

    Here's the setlist for anyone interested:

    Hole in the Ocean Floor (solo, just the album intro)
    Why? (solo)
    Nyatiti (band joins)
    Danse Caribe
    Desperation Breeds...
    Action/Adventure (first time with band he said)
    Orpheo Looks Back
    Give It Away (shared mic)
    Dear Dirty (brief jam)
    The Crown Salesman
    Near Death Experience Experience
    Fatal Shore
    Tables and Chairs
    Fake Palindromes
    If I Needed You (Townes Van Zandt cover with shared mic)
    I'm Goin' Home (Charley Patton cover with shared mic)
    I call my bathroom Jim instead of John so I can tell people that I go to the Jim first thing every morning.

    If you say the word 'gullible' very slowly it sounds just like oranges.

  2. #2
    Musicaholic Forums Moderator ForeverAutumn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    The experience at the Llama Tooth is a story in it's own right, but really more of a "you had to be there to believe it" experience. Here's a photo of one of the many altered pictures hanging in the restaurant (where they wouldn't serve us food). Just to give you a sample of the bizarre...
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Belated Andrew Bird 'live' review.-p1000617_2.jpg  

  3. #3
    Musicaholic Forums Moderator ForeverAutumn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    And here's one of the Bird-man himself.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Belated Andrew Bird 'live' review.-p1000701.jpg  

  4. #4
    Can a crooner get a gig? dean_martin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Lower AL
    Quote Originally Posted by Swish View Post
    We also saw a girl wearing high-heeled sneakers, which was much more interesting than the historical crap.
    Were they yellow?
    Did she have her red hot pants on?
    A yellow low-neck see-through blouse, without a brassiere?
    Was she shakin' like two big ol' balloons in a hurricane?
    Was she wearin' a purple afro-wig?

    If so, you're talkin' 'bout my baby.

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