The lull is over!
We were in for a real treat at the Andrew Bird show, and we didn’t know it: Dawn of Midi opened, threading tense, spare compositions through unusual needle-eyes. Several of the compositions on their debut LP share (probably more than) names with irregular satellites of Saturn and Jupiter (and Inuit shape shifters), sites of orbital capture and shimmering fragments of former bodies, falling into and out of resonance. Very cool to experience live.
Andrew Bird, in my earbuds, can sound formalistic at times, though I’ve always welcomed deeper listens.
Some Andrew Bird songs really stand out for me. “Scythian Empires” is as much a think-piece on contemporary imperial overreach (this was 2007 – Halliburton and ‘exiting empires’ could bookend Gibbon) as it conjures a dizzying zoetrope with Muybridge’s Horse in canter on the Caspian steppe against a dusky sunset. (The song was not in Bird’s setlist last Thursday evening.)
On stage, Bird’s torso was a taproot with a myriad of appendages shooting off – a foot dips, capturing loops of pizzicato thumbwork. Violin is replaced by shoulder-slung electric guitar at a crucial caesura; sonorous chimes of glockenspiel rise from hip level; that perfectly precise whistle. Hell, he even filled in for Fiona Apple, duetting with himself in the role of two self-aware lovers drenched in reference and metaphor. Seeing Andrew Bird work a reluctant KC crowd on a weeknight offered a vulnerable view into a wry, playful, and warm polymath of human chemistries.