all photos by Allie Pasquier
Much like his amazing show the previous night night, Andrew Bird opened his set with the plucking of his violin. Playing in his striped socks, his shoes cast aside and instruments all around, Bird had the look of the craziest street musician you’ve never seen. This time without touring sidekick Martin Dosh, Bird was not lacking in greatness or surprises. These stripped-down songs highlighted the subtleties and instrumental mastery that make this one-man band so enthralling.
To start things off, Bird dazzled with the entirely instrumental
Il Conformista Prelude. Next, and perhaps the most flattering song in Bird’s live canon was
Imitosis, a reworking of
Fake Palindromes off of Mysterious Production of Eggs, which employs his full arsenal (guitar, violin, xylophone, and whistling). Bird then unleashed one from the closet, an intimate guitar number entitled
Wait that dates back to his Bowl of Fire days. The crowd was thoroughly enjoying themselves at this point, and their enthusiasm was met by another staple of Bird’s live performances,
Plasticities. The most improvisatory license was taken with the next track,
Why?, here turned into a slow-building blues song, improvised to include sped up chorus lines and a monologue-style delivery. Last but not least, the audience was treated to a cover of
The Ghost of Illinois by The Handsome Family, its end coming far too soon for this captivated audience that rocked the theater with a standing ovation.
Check out Bird’s MySpace page for tour dates as he’ll be on the road through the beginning of October. And for those of you who missed this set, feast on it for the next two weeks via KEXP’s streaming archive.