Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Andrew Bird Report

So – last night, Andrew Bird at The Hideout. Here’s the scoop:

First off, it was glorious to be back at the Hideout. Such an obscenely good venue, and it’s been far too long since I’ve been there. Last night was particularly nice as they told us they did not sell to capacity to make sure everyone had room and it was a positive, chill experience for all. I’d say there were about 100 people there – many of them VIP types.

Dosh opened and played a 30 minute set of his own stuff backed by the bassist and (for one song) guitarist from Andrew’s band. This was totally great. Lots of looping and crazy drumming, and the occasional Sonic Youth/My Bloody Valentine style shoegaze/feedback jam – which is just fine by me. I liked the Dosh album, but didn’t love it, but it really came alive on stage. Very interested to listen to it again now. If you have a chance, I highly recommend seeing him.

Small break, then Andrew came out with his regular current band. He explained that they were there for 2 reasons – 1. To shoot a music video for (I think) Fitz and the Dizzy Spells, and 2. to play Noble Beast live. The whole thing. The video portion was pretty fantastic. They played the song twice and had Chicago’s anarchist marching band Mucca Pazza marching and playing through the audience, with everyone just going nuts. It was a real joy, and the song is great.

As for Noble Beat – it was awesome to hear. A lot of the songs sounded really amazing – particularl Nomenclature and Anonanimal. Also awesome – Not a Robot, But a Ghost, which is a Dosh song that Andrew added violin and vocals to. Depending how it sounds on record, I imagine this will be the biggest departure he’s ever done, but it’s a terrific song. He’s really embracing the new band (Dosh in particular) and using them well. They’re slowly becoming, dare I say, Wilco-esque in the way they use their own strengths to beef up the songs live. They’re not to a full on Nels/Glenn mode yet, but Dosh is adding a lot and their guitarist has moments that he goes a bit nuts to great effect. For the most part they kept the songs pretty straightforward (I think), which makes sense since it was a wram up. Only played 3 old songs – Nervous Tic, Imitosis, and one other from Eggs. All 3 had an extra element of jamminess that gave them extra life.

Overall it was a great time. Awesome to take part in the video, and amazing to get to hear Noble Beast. It was definitely a “For fan’s only” kind of show though, as they were learning the songs still, so had a lot of false starts, pauses to discuss how the song goes, etc. But in that small a venue, surrounded by people who are just happy to be there, it came across not as sloppy, but just as a guy playing his music for his friends. Great to be a part of – wish you all could have been there.


texplush said...

sounds great. No BOF cameos?!?!?!?!?!

Via Chicago said...

Alas, no. I don't think Kevin or anyone else was even there as it was small enough to see everyone. Mucca Pazza were the only surprise guests. And while BOF would have been nice, I'm actually OK with it. Like I said, I think the new band is really starting to gel now, and I appreciated seeing them.

texplush said...

i saw them in September and I left disappointed.

Via Chicago said...

I know, and I totally understand. I saw them around then and thought the band didn't add too much to what Andrew himself was doing. But I think the process of recording Noble Beast together has made them more of a band, with each member beginning to contribute more of his own personality. Maybe it always was seeing the band open sans Andrew, as it gave me a much better glimpse into what they all do, so that I could hear their influences more.