Thursday, January 29, 2009

Another Question for the Web Sheriff

Since you were so helpful last time, I have another question:

I know Andrew Bird is promoting his new album and he's very happy with it, but with such a wonderfully rich back catalog, why did he play literally only four old songs at his concert at Carnegie Hall last night? I'm enjoying the legal streams of songs from his new album on, but I would really have liked to hear some older stuff too, like, AT ALL. When he played new songs, the audience clapped respectfully. When he played old songs the audience went crazy. It was very frustrating. So much so that I'm tempted to post pirate links to (studio) material to vent my frustration. I'm hoping that if I don't, at the very least, you'll express your customary appreciation for not doing so. Damn you for being so easygoing.


drischord said...

Getting booked at Carnegie Hall is going to Bird's head.

Who am I to say who does and does not belong on that stage, but I don't think this bear hug from the intelligentsia is helping his actual music.

dr. kittybrains said...

He only did FOUR songs not on the new LP?

What a fuck you to his fans.

Eric said...

I'll check a setlist. I think one of them was from the Soldier On EP but no joke, I think that's close to the total. And to be sure, the band was tight and the sound of the place was amazing. I mean, I don't know how Carnegie Hall ranks in terms of acoustics in the realm of classical halls, but it was leagues better than the average rock club. Which made it all the more annoying that I couldn't hear more familiar stuff in such a beautiful setting.

Eric said...

Okay, brooklynvegan had the setlist. Including both encores he played four old songs (I count the one from Soldier On as new also): Imitosis, Tables and Chairs, Why?, Fake Palindromes, plus a really awesome bluegrass cover that he did with his violin unplugged (bc the acoustics were so good) and all three singers singing harmony. He was also an engaging performer as always, etc. I just wished he mixed in some new stuff. Looking at the tracklist of Noble Beast, he only failed to play about four out of its fourteen tracks.


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Hi Again Eric,

Well, he has just releaed a new album (in effect two) - so it's not that uncommon for the set to draw heavily from it ... .. not just to promote NB / UC, but also to introduce his audiences to all of these new songs ... .. we trust that you were in the front row shouting for some of his 'classics' come the encore !!

All The Best (& we'll happily relay your comments),


dr. kittybrains said...

Oh my god, Web Sheriff.

You are SO. LAME.

Please go away.

Eric said...

In fairness to my boy 'Riff, I solicited his input here. We're Bros, like that Panda Bear song.

texplush said...

i love the Web Sheriff. he's my new best friend.
and as for only new songs...i miss BOF more every day.
Eric, how did the new songs sound live?

drischord said...

I'm overall neutral on the Web Sheriff. But I'm prepared to announce my official Andrew Bird backlash. I still like him. But I now certify him overrated-- by himself as much as anyone else. That self-congratulatory NY Times blog about the album is what did it for me. It had me hyped for a magnum opus, but the resulting product is at best a minor step back.

Via Chicago said...

I think the problem is that Andrew's sound is ill suited to be this level of massive critical acclaim and attention. He works best as a sort of underground guy you see at The Hideout - whether he's with the BOF, solo, or with the new band. Seeing him at Grant Park was beautiful, but his sound is not one that always fills such a huge space.

That said, removing all of that and just thinking about his sound (divorced of hype and live performances and what he did 10 years ago) I really love what he's doing. It's unique, it's interesting, it's always evolving (though not at the same fast pace of a band like Wilco). I can understand feeling let down that he doesn't use Dosh to his fullest, or that he doesn't bring the BOF energy he used to, but I still think his new albums have a ton to offer - much more than that Bon Iver disc from last year that so many people loved, just to take one easy example.

It seems like much of the criticism is of the Pitchfork "Well I think he SHOULD be X" variety, rather than critique of his actual music. Though I do understand your complaints about the concert Eric - he's defintely not the Must See Every Show live performer he once was.

Eric said...

I mean, to answer Tex's question, the new songs did sound generally great. I'm not as familiar with them so it was harder to tell how much he was really playing with the arrangements and melodies the way he does with his older songs. My sense was that he was sticking to the original arrangements a bit more, but I still haven't heard the whole album to know.

Also, I'm at a loss compared to all you Chicagolanders. I never saw him with the Bowl of Fire (though my first record of his was Swimming Hour, which I loved). I first saw him live when he was solo and backed only by looped violin, occasional strummed guitar, glock and whistling. So I've liked seeing the live arrangements fill out from there. And unlike Tex, I LOVED the full band shows from the Armchair tour. My sole beef was the setlist.