Andew Bird at UICA

Andrew Bird’s “…and the mysterious production of eggs” has justifiably become one of the year’s most acclaimed albums (it only has one competitor as my favourite) and his recent set at UICA came close to measuring up to its high standard.

The album draws much of its strength from its eclecticism, balancing on the edge of the freak-folk movement but with a welcome injection of jazz and swing influences, and it was quite a surprise to see only two people on stage. Through judicious use of sampling and a versatile keyboard, Bird and collaborator Martin Dosh built a rich sound based around Bird’s violin (plucked and bowed), keyboard, guitar and percussion. While relatively stationary on stage—when singing and playing multiple instruments, there’s not much opportunity for movement—Bird’s an expressive performer, reinforcing and exposing the songs with his facial expressions.

I need to start exploring his back catalogue.

There’s plenty of audio available here, including an MP3 of the album’s catchiest number, “A Nervous Tic Motion of the Head to the Left” and a selection of radio sessions.

8 comments

  1. I don’t actually like that song very much, but listening to the streaming it sounds very good (albeit despite abysmal quality, I can just about make out a violin). Sufjan’s probably about fourth on my albums of the year list at the minute.

    Unto you I recommend M Ward’s ‘Transistor Radio’, assuming you haven’t got it already of course.

  2. Thanks Martin, I think I have some MP3s but haven’t heard the album.

    What else ranks above Sufjan?

  3. I think ‘Fuel For Fire’ is probably the best song, have you got that?

    M Ward wouldn’t be in my top three, but Gorillaz would be now, I think, Arcade Fire and probably ‘Cripple Crow’ by Devendra Banhart, even though the second half is a little weak.

  4. I don’t think that’s the song I have. I’ll check it out.

    Arcade Fire was 2004 for me, otherwise they would be a strong contender. Hoping to pick up the Gorllaz in the next week or so. Maybe the Devendra too, though I find I don’t listen to his albums all that much.

  5. Well, ‘Cripple Crow’ is his best album until just after the middle, when it really trails off.

    Tom McRae’s album was another good one this year, although let down by a couple of bad Bryan Adams impressions.

    I think Arcade Fire was 2004 for you, but 2005 for us?

    I’d send you the song if you, so, like, ever appeared on MSN anymore…

  6. hi! i was at that same show, and while i had a good time overall, i found that i was a little more consistantly blown away by dosh’s solo set. i feel like bird just kind of started to drag towards the end… the man can sure whistle, though.

  7. Thanks for the recommendation. It’s already winging its way from Amazon. (Oh, the joys of a wage!)

    And ‘Greetings from Michigan’ arrived today, from the same place. (Oh, the joys of an exorbitant wage!)

    Actually, the two CDs were GBP7.96 and GBP6.97 respectively, so even Martin could afford to buy them.

  8. I earn a wage! I already have eight new CDs to be listening to!