Kelly Rowland's fourth studio album Talk A Good Game dropped yesterday with guest…
- Posted on Jul 12th 2009 6:16PM by Charley Rogulewski
"It not my birthday yet," the multi-instrumentalist corrected, "but in a couple of hours." Bird might as well have been celebrating his birthday all year.The Chicago native's latest and fifth solo album, 'Noble Beast,' was released this past January on indie label Fat Possum, and reached an impressive No. 12 on the U.S. chart. The success of 'Noble Beast' graduated Bird to Bonnaroo's Which stage, a step up from his usual slot in one of the festival's smaller tent stages and to larger venues across the U.S., like the evening's renown amphitheater and New York City's Radio City Music Hall.
"Well, thanks." Bird humbly announced after the crowd of about 3,000, sang him an impromptu version of 'The Happy Birthday Song.' "I'm touched."
In a time when several bands seem to be coming out of Brooklyn armed with a KORG synth and caked with psychedelic swampiness, an Andrew Bird set can be refreshing. Bird's own tools include a traditional violin he plays non-traditionally, plucking away with his finger like a jazz musician on upright bass in between the usual strums, a guitar and the vintage glockenspiel, which propped up on a stand is two worlds away from the synthesizer. Quite frankly, Bird could probably make blowing on a blade of grass sound like a symphony. But Bird isn't a musical neo-Luddite. His talent lies in taking his traditional training and transforming it, with the help of distortion pedals, into a contemporary sound that is both inspiring, dramatic and impressive to watch.
Bird, along with his three piece band -- keyboardist/drummer Martin Dosh, guitarist Jeremy Ylvisaker and sax, clarinet and bass player Mike Lewis -- can flip into big band rock mode looping different violin or guitar riffs, hand claps and whistles. Even without the loops, as Friday night's show plagued with some technical glitches showed, Bird can play on. "It's all extraneous stuff," Bird assured of the ailing loops. "We can still make music without it."