Andrew Bird – Vicar Street – 30-04-16 – Live Review by Catherine Sanz
Andrew Bird mesmerized a welcoming crowd with his enchanting vocals and relaxing melodies last Saturday in Vicar Street.
Much of the show was from his latest album Are You Serious? and he answered the question with conviction by performing both parts of the duet recorded with Fiona Apple, “Left Handed Kisses”. There was a couple nods to his older stuff, most notably “A Nervous Tick Motion,” which seems to emanate from him all too easily. A few times he and two band mates huddled in a circle, tilted their instruments, and performed in a manner reminiscent of the old west. The formation gave the performance intimacy, and showcased their intuitive connection. Drummer Ted Poor’s command of the music is a joy to watch, and he breathes life into a part of Bird’s music that the studio album can neglect.
The smooth and fluid performance was speckled with glimpses at Bird’s clumsily genuine personality. He drew smiles and cheers when he unabashedly took a song from the beginning after losing his place. It is humbling to see him correct himself, and hard to process how he falls so deep into music he is simultaneously conducting. His head bobs and his body ebbs; it is seductively easy to lose the weight of yourself as the sounds whirl and swell.
Bird responded to suggestions from the audience, but veered away from the hits of times gone by. He granted one lucky audience member’s wish by playing The Giant of Illinois, a song not usually heard live, and not one he likely expected a Dublin crowd suggest.
The only let down was the venue, which was set up in an exclusively seated plan. His music may be mellow, but it still inspires more movement than seated swaying. The urge to stand was strong, but the urge to not be that person standing was stronger.
He finished with the tear jerker, “My Sister’s Tiny Hands”, from his cover album Things are Really Great Here, Sort of… Bird is a master of transporting the listener to places they have never been, whether it’s the midwestern wilderness or the caverns of the Grand Canyon. The emotion in his soft whistles that night took us far away from Thomas Street, to someplace where “sunlight spread like honey/through my sister’s tiny hands.
Journey in Satchidananda (Alice Coltrane cover)
A Nervous Tic Motion of the Head to the Left
Are You Serious
Truth Lies Low
Left Handed Kisses
Three White Horses
Give It Away (‘Olde Time’)
The Giant of Illinois (The Handsome Family cover) (‘Olde Time’)
Valleys of the Young
My Sister’s Tiny Hands (The Handsome Family cover) (‘Olde Time’)
Harvest (Neil Young cover) (‘Olde Time’)
The New Saint Jude (‘Olde Time’)
Bird’s European Tour continues in Scotland and England this week, then onto the Continent before wrapping up on the west coast of the US at the end of May.