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Andrew Bird at The Michigan Theater, 04/08/09

April 09, 2009 | 2 Minute Read


Last night I went to see Andrew Bird along with like 100 of my friends, lots from the School of Information. Is there something inherently Informational about Andrew Bird’s music?

The opening act was a slightly avant garde group called “A Hawk and a Hacksaw.” They had a guy on accordion (who played bass drum and cymbals with his legs), a girl on violin (?) and later a weird string instrument with what looked like a trumpet bell, a trumpeter and a tuba player.

I noticed that they kept playing in weird time signatures (7, then 5, then 3, which is not totally weird but less common). The songs they played seemed a little too insane, like they were basically showing off. The lines were all really fast and it was hard to get a sense of any actual melody. They were pretty entertaining, nonetheless.

Andrew Bird then came on by himself. He kept manipulating foot pedals so he could put things he was playing on infinite repeat. It was pretty cool. I wonder how he times it perfectly like that. I didn’t really know this before (I listened to his albums a few times previously) but he’s pretty much an expert whistler. He’s really good at whistling. He’s also really good at playing violin and guitar and singing. Which makes him a quadruple threat (quintuple threat if you count the foot pedal hijinks).

He played a bunch of songs, many of which garnered lots of applause. I liked the “Nervous Tic Motion of the Head” song. I also like “Heretics” but he didn’t play that one. Those are like the two Andy Bird songs I really like. “Fiery Crash” is also good, and I think he also didn’t play that one. The other songs were all good too, but I just wasn’t as familiar with them as I would have liked.

The mise-en-scene of the stage was pretty interesting. He had these giant horns in the back that looked like the old-school phonographs, but bigger. There was also a double horn thing that spun randomly, perhaps to indicate the climax of a song. I’m not even sure there was sound coming out of them, but they looked cool!

Overall, Andrew Bird was a great performer (seeing him switch between instruments and hitting pedals on the ground and singing is entertaining by itself). His songs are also delightfully pretentious, with interesting lyrics (he rhymes “philharmonics” with “hooked on phonics”). Oh, and also, he seems to really like pentatonic scales (shoutout to Mr. Blakey, my high school band director for making us learn about scales!). If this concert were an eBay transaction, I’d have to leave a positive, “GREAT PERFORMER FAST CONCERT AWESOME SINGING A+++++++++ WOULD SEE AGAIN!!!11!11”