Andrew Bird is cooler than you. Well, cooler in that tall, distracted, mad genius way, the sorta character that can have nervous tics of personality and head motions and still seem like the guy you need to know. Last night’s Bird show at Bowery Ballroom was a sell-out, and despite songs mostly from his forthcoming release, Andrew kept our attention on him and off the inevitable, frigid walk home. (Someone please explain global warming again, this shit’s confusing.)
Unlike last time we saw him at Bowery (with French-singing chanteuse Keren Ann), he wasn’t alone; Andrew brought frequent collaborator Martin Dosh (composer/performer of last year’s crazy-good Last Take) to handle drums, loop triggers, and keyboards, along with a third man on guitars and bass. Martin takes a writing credit on the awesome, new Bird tune “Simple Exercise.” Look out for it.
If you’ve seen Andrew, you know he needs nothing more than his loop pedals, a naked foot (crowd kids had to remind him to peel off his fancy kicks when he was having pedal-tapping issues), a guitar, a violin, a glockenspiel, and those whistling lips to create full symphonies out of single-phrased melodies. Dosh’s deep-pocket, ghost-noted drumming only sweetened the deal. Mad geniuses tend to sound good together.
Even without much Mysterious Production, the deeply-in-love expressions of the girls up front were proof enough that, as long as Andrew continued mumbling tangential anecdotes, conducting himself with swinging arms mid-whistle, and singing those Rufus-meets-Buckley larynx stretchers, he’d have the crowd’s full support and loving gazes. Thing is, the new stuff does sound great, virtuoso performing and charming head bobs aside. Expect an expansion on the course plotted over the past few records, with a dash of Dosh for good measure.
Armchair Apocrypha is out 3/20 on Fat Possum.