By Cameron Frostbaum
Experiencing Andrew Bird live is an absolute must. I have loved listening to Andrew Bird ever since I listened to his “Giant of Illinois” on the Dark Was The Night album five years ago. Seeing Andrew Bird perform live takes audiences who may be used to sprawling out atop their beds and listening with headphones, to a grooving, hip shaking adventure. As a solo artist Andrew Bird is phenomenal, but with his band he has a fresh, energetic approach to his songs. Bird’s drummer brought out a driving verve to every song that the whole crowd could dance to.
Throughout the night, Andrew Bird looked like a super hero. Juggling his iconic violin and semi-hollow guitar, Bird seamlessly transitioned between the two. Listening to Bird is definitely the best part of his performance, but watching him create music is fascinating. Bird played the majority of the concert on the tips of his toes, sliding his his right shoe on and off as he tapped his loop pedal and quickly recording various melodies that he and his band masterfully played on top of an ensemble of violins. Looping is extremely complicated and Bird, without any shame, would start songs over again in order to find the perfect sound. In addition to his masterful looping, Bird whistled more beautifully than anyone I have ever heard. I have always appreciated Bird’s whistling, but seeing his relaxed faced and pursed lips produce an incredible range of sound was inspiring. Not only would Bird whistle with ease, he would play complicated riffs at the same time.
Andrew Bird’s lyrics are tragically under appreciated. Not that I rank diction as crucial element to a performer’s success, but Andrew Bird possessed amazing clarity with his words and his sound. I find Andrew Bird owns one of the most expansive and specific vocabularies in music, and is capable of telling heart-warming love songs with the key terms on my chemistry midterm. His new album came out the day before he performed at the Tabernacle and the whole audience instantly connected to every new track he played. Brief, but comical banter with the audience made for enjoyable transitions as Bird and his band adjusted and prepared for their next songs. While I would have loved to hear “Giants of Illinois”, I welcomed every song I was unfamiliar with. Bird perfectly balanced playing his classic hits, such as “Tenuousness” and “Give It Away”, to get the audience excited and then the audience devoured every new song he introduce us too.
Not to be ignored was the opening band, Boogarins, a funky psychedelic band out of Brazil that was the perfect appetizer for Andrew Bird. Boogarins reminded my friends and I of the sound that Tame Impala has been putting out for the last couple years, except with much longer jam sessions and a mind-blowingly talented drummer. Their lyrics were all in Portuguese, so I had no hope of knowing what their songs were about, but I was left with a trippy vibe. I would recommend Boogarins for a relaxed hang out session with friends.