Andrew Bird - The Greek Theatre - 8-12-12
And then there's the whistling. When he leaned in and let out the first piercing note from pursed lips, the crowd erupted into applause, like Frampton had just broken out the talk box. On the one hand, it's easy to dismiss the whistling as a gimmick or twee affectation. On the other, it's the way Bird uses it, along with glockenspiel and plucked violin notes, as way of clearly establishing his melodies -- of cutting through the sonic clutter -- that seems to work uniquely well for him.
Bird and company worked their way through a set list hitting most of the high points from Break It Yourself and touching on some of his back catalog. Bird's music has the strong whiff of jazz to it, and every song was deconstructed and rebuilt on stage with fresh instrumentation and improv vocals layered back on top. Effect pedals and a whirling double-horned Specimen speaker aided in the forays into experimentalism, but Bird seemed happiest during the encore, when he and his fellow musicians gathered around one microphone and played a Townes Van Zandt cover. Even for a guy as supremely gifted as Bird, there must be something comforting about the classics.
Random Notebook Dump
Holy shit, there were a lot of people whistling while leaving the Greek Theatre. Like being in a pod of orcas.
To who ever shoots video for the screens at the Greek: all that achingly slow crossfade stuff makes everything seem like a bad episode of Austin City Limits during PBS pledge week.
During Sharon Van Etten, boyfriends leaned forward in their seats ever slightly. During Andrew Bird, girlfriends leaned forward in their seats ever so slightly. Something for everyone.
Set list below