April 25, 2007
Last week brought one of my favorite artists and certainly favorite live performers to Central Illinois. But whereas last year when he played the Canopy Club, there was a modest crowd of 50 or so, this time hundreds of youthful fans showed up crowding the venue to it’s brim. I was unsure about Cortney Tidwell as an opener, especially after the two slow acoustic pieces she started off with, but by the time her set was over (and she was joined by a full band), she had grown on me. Dosh did his mad scientist/drummer thing for a few minutes before Andrew Bird walked in with a stuffed monkey and at least four layers of clothing on. After giving us his updated rendition of “I” (Imotosis), came one of the biggest surprises of the night. He actually played Dr. Stringz! And what’s more is that a good amount of the crowd recognized it. Then he told a hilarious story that I won’t try to replicate about how he got the stuffed monkey with some interesting accessories from a fan in Canada.
The main part of the set saw Bird playing all of the songs on the new album except the two instrumentals. He emphasized the rocking part of his music, “Heretics”, “Dark Matter”, and the highly extended “Plasticities” were especially stunning live. Another highlight was “Scythian Empires” which had a slightly different intro, featuring some of the fanciest violin picking I had seen from Bird. One thing that was missing were the old favorites like “Fake Palindromes”, “Why” and “Nervous Tic Motion” which was surprising since “Skin, Is My” got the biggest crowd reaction. I was indifferent though, since I had already seen those songs live, and I was absolutely overjoyed when he decided to close the night with my favorite of his songs, “Tables and Chairs”. Overall, Andrew Bird was as humorous, lively, and upbeat as I had ever seen him. He reinforced my belief that he’s one of the best artists making music today and I’m sure he also made plenty of new fans.
Tags: Andrew Bird