Bird, a multi-instrumentalist, avid whistler and acclaimed wearer of outlandish socks, surprised an Artown audience, delivering a poignant and beautiful performance of unconventional classical, jazz and folk-inspired indie rock.
Quite a mouthful and he makes it look so easy.
Violin solo there.
Add in a dash of glockenspiel (what’s a glockenspiel?) to top it off.
Then looping it all back by using stomp boxes, Bird humbly makes a joke without missing a beat.
That’s the lure of Bird. Clean. Crisp. And dare I say, catchy? No, he’s too original for that word.
And in a world of stage performers that require lip synching and flashing lights to liven a show, Bird did it, playing most of the instruments by himself.
Beginning with his opening song from the “Armchair Apocryphya” album, “Fiery Crash,” Bird immediately won some applause. Not for a strong beginning song (which it was) but an odd spectacle of two spinning gramophones behind him that dazzled and probably confused most people.
But if it’s good music, what is there to think about? Who hasn’t seen spinning gramophones before?
Set up in front of a background of stars, Bird proved he is the king of understatement, playing five unreleased songs, many without names along with numerous favorites from his most recent album, “Armchair” including the likes of “Plasticities” and “Spare-Ohs” as well as “Tables and Chairs” from the album “The Mysterious Production of Eggs.”
Known for looping his layers of music by recording a couple seconds of music, Bird delivered all his songs with a peculiar, haunting relapse as parts of songs piled up on each other.
What was most interesting to note, though, besides the masterfully written and composed music is Bird’s appeal to all ages. As an Artown event, a mid 40s wine glass-toting crowd was there, and as a showcase for an aspiring artist who has played with the likes of hit alternative band Wilco, the Heinekens were flowing for the early 20s group. And both seemed to be tapping their feet along to the music.
Bird’s ease on stage is refreshing and unpretentious, often saying very little but a simple “thank you” after some of the most riveting violin playing ever heard outside of an orchestra.
And the same can be said about his piano playing, his guitar playing, his mandolin playing and the list goes on. A bold statement, yes, but except, in this case, this reporter doesn’t mind giving credit where credit is due.
Bird proves that some musicians just stay with you—one way or another.