• A.A. Bondy and Elvis Perkins in Dearland, Lincoln Hall, 11/21/09

    24 Nov 2009, 0:04

    Sat 21 Nov – A.A. Bondy, Elvis Perkins in Dearland

    A.A. Bondy and Elvis Perkins made for a perfect lineup, with both of their music fitting into a similar country-rock sort of feel. I’m terrible with genres, so there’s probably something better than that, but I don’t know what it is. Both of these men make everything sound so easy, with lyrics delivered in a laid-back, perhaps lazy fashion and the music itself sounding stripped down — despite the drums and the horns and the strings that pop up sometimes, you can easily imagine it all falling away, leaving just a man and a guitar.

    Based on their recorded work, it would be easy to slot both men into that sensitive-guy-with-guitar category. Not being familiar with the live shows of either Bondy or Perkins, I’ve got to say that I’m guilty of coming in with expectations of it being a sort of sedate night.

    I couldn’t have been more wrong. Not only do they make everything sound easy, but they make it easy and loud in a live show. Though the music clearly has roots in folk and country and Americana, there is nothing traditional about the show that I saw last night. Bondy brought noise to his set, and Perkins fleshed out his sound with trombone and string bass and one completely awesome drummer/one-man-band. There was an intensity to the show that kicked in with the very first notes and didn’t let up until the very end.

    Full review here.
  • Andrew Bird (solo show) at the Pabst, 10/17

    20 Oct 2009, 23:38

    Sat 17 Oct – Andrew Bird, St. Vincent

    After Friday’s wildly successful show at the Pabst, Andrew Bird had little to prove to Saturday’s audience. He admitted that he felt much less pressure, given how well things had gone the night before. For other artists, this might mean that the show gets sloppier, less tight, but not for Andrew Bird. On Saturday, he took a few more risks than usual, playing several new songs, bringing back old favorites, and engaging in a few beautiful collaborations. Whether for continuity on film or out of superstition, Bird took the stage in the same outfit as he did the prior night, the most notable part of which was a pair of shoes that I described on Twitter as looking like a glitter factory exploded on them. (Seeing as this outfit has made many appearances already throughout this tour, I’m thinking it’s probably just another delightful Bird superstition. And given that I have a pair of shoes that have now become my Lucky Andrew Bird-Meeting Shoes, I can’t argue with that.)

    Starting out with the eerily compelling “Water Jet Cilice”, Bird brought a different mood to Saturday’s show, a more laid-back atmosphere as compared to Friday’s high-energy assault of sound. Creating every sound on his own with the help of his looping machines, songs stretched and formed right in front of you. It’s easy to forget just how much of what you hear is Andrew Bird and his cluster of instruments when watching the full band. As a solo act, however, you’re confronted with that fact early on, making it hard to deny the special kind of genius he exhibits in his work.

    Full review here.
  • Andrew Bird @ the Pabst Theatre, 10/16

    19 Oct 2009, 1:51

    Fri 16 Oct – Andrew Bird, Dosh

    “I’ve got a lot of songs for you,” Andrew Bird said halfway through his nearly two-hour set. “That’s my way of saying it’s going to be a long show.” The packed audience at Milwaukee’s Pabst Theatre didn’t seem to mind, though, and probably would have stayed all night, waiting to see what Bird would come up with next.

    Bird powered through a set of 20 songs, drawing primarily from his last three releases. The show started out, after an extended, intense instrumental intro (referred to as simply “Ravel” on the set list, it seems to have evolved from an homage to Ravel’s String Quartet), leading into “Fiery Crash”, and the energy didn’t let up all the way to his now-traditional show closer of “Fake Palindromes”, even through slower songs. He was incredibly at ease, despite being under the weather (as he has been for much of the tour). I’ve been up front for several Bird shows now and I can comfortably say that ths is the most eye contact I’ve seen him make and hold with the audience. He looked like he was genuinely enjoying himself, all smiles, jokes, and laughter the whole night.

    Constantly checking in with the audience — are we all okay? are we enjoying ourselves? — Bird pointed out that he needed to worry about us so that he could take his mind off of himself, given that the show was being filmed for a future DVD release. “So just act natural,” he told us.

    Full review here.