New music from Eminem? Yes, please. While the summer heats up with music from…
- Posted on Dec 15th 2009 12:00PM by Anna Deem
Playing solo for the entire 90-minute set, Bird seemed humbled by the sold-out crowd that clapped politely after each of his songs and stared in awe as he plucked his violin, looped it, made a drum beat out of only vocal intonations and a simple xylophone melody and, of course, topped the whole thing off with his trademark whistling. And that was only the first song.
"It's pretty cozy in here, I guess," Bird said, acknowledging the quiet crowd for the first time. "This is the kind of music I make when I'm out at my barn. Some are songs; some are ideas ... whatever I thought would sound good in here." Not letting the noticeable brace around his ankle slow him down, Bird picked up his violin again, looped it and then drummed against his leg with a tambourine as the recorded violin sound swelled out of the large spinning gramophone-style horn behind him.
The four curvy, oversize horns that shared the stage with Bird were as much the focal point as he was at times, taking the place of the usual electric concert PA system to help magnify his sound to the entire church. Or as Bird put it later in his set, "We don't need a PA in a church -- that's overkill." Unfortunately, Bird's unconventional method also picked up an unwanted radio transmission from the adjacent Hancock Tower, which was audible during the quieter moments in his set. "Let's just pretend we don't hear it," Bird said with a chuckle.
Playing a mix of songs from 2007's 'Soldier On' tour EP ('Sectionate City,' 'The Water Jet Cilice'), 2009's 'Noble Beast' ('Natural Disaster,' 'Nomenclature'), and the 'Noble Beast' companion EP, 'Useless Creatures' ('The Barn Tapes,' 'Carrion Suite'), Bird tried his best to tune out the transmission and deliver a top-notch performance to the hushed crowd. However, right before he went into 'The Barn Tapes,' Bill Withers' familiar voice interrupted with "Ain't no sunshine when she's gone" and the crowd giggled. "Ain't no sunshine, I feel you, Bill," Bird said with a smile stretched across his thin, bearded face.
Closing with 'Scythian Empires' from 2007's 'Armchair Apocrypha,' Bird led the crowd in a clap-along, assuring them that he knew it was corny, but the church was dark and no one could see them participating. Exiting the stage and appearing less than a minute later to a standing ovation, Bird turned off the four horns, and sat down with one single microphone in front of him. "We're going to do this one old-time style," he said before launching into a cover of Bob Dylan's 'Oh, Sister.' With the cloying radio transmission not being picked up for the first time all night, the room was truly silent as Bird crooned and beat his chest with his fist to simulate the drum beat. The stillness was eerie, but a fitting end to Bird's unique vision of a "cozy" concert setting.