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Tuesday, December 12

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Transmission
« Contest: The Breeders @ the Metro Lollapalooza 2009 Recap »

Review Mon Aug 10 2009

Review: Andrew Bird @ Schubas 7-30-09

Bird Schubas fotomattic.jpg

(Photo by fottomattic)

Lollapalooza weekend officially kicked off with "after"shows beginning on Thursday night. Andrew Bird played a special show at the small capacity Schubas as a charity event benefiting Rock for Kids. Tickets for the show sold out in less than 30 seconds, but those lucky enough to be in attendance were in for a treat. As Bird took the stage clad in all denim, he kicked off his shoes after the first song and the night took on a theme of songs-that-used-to-be-other-songs. He opened with a different, slower version of "Dark Matter" after which he told us was the original version called "Sweet Breads." He also played "Oh No" and "Effigy" one right after the other and revealed that they used to be the same song.

Bird played a similar small, late announcement show at The Hideout in December before beginning his massive tour in support of Noble Beast, his latest album. That show was special for a different reason though, it was more practice than perfected performance and the mood was very laid back. But then I saw him perform "Fitz and the Dizzy Spells" on Letterman in January (the song we heard several times at The Hideout as takes for the filming of the music video featuring Mucca Pazza), and it had taken on a whole new life: perfected and confident. I expected the performance at Schubas to be very much the same and a lot of the songs took on that vibe, but you can tell he feels at home playing to a hometown crowd--it gives him a chance to relax. He played a lot of earlier material, including a song from his "Bowl of Fire" days and he could pull out the Chicago references and even call bullshit on himself (as he did when quoting "Fourth and Grand" in the song "Headsoak" because, you know, there is no Fourth and Grand in Chicago.) He also played "Not a Robot, But a Ghost," a song they rarely perform live because Bird says it is particularly technically challenging.

Andrew Bird is an amazing and talented performer. He rarely (if ever) opens his eyes while performing a song. It's as if he goes to a different place, somewhere inside the music when he plays and then snaps out of it at song's end. He can make a violin sing in a way that I never knew was possible (I played violin for ten years when I was younger, and if I had known that it could sound like that, maybe I would have taken my lessons a little more seriously). And then there is the looping. I compared Owen Pallett to him at Pitchfork, saying that he was a mix of Bird's prowess on a violin with the mixing stylings of Jamie Lidell without really realizing that Bird already does that because he does it so seamlessly and without fanfare. But he is also unpretentious. At one point he ran into the microphone while taking off his jacket and then apologized to the microphone, and then made fun of himself for apologizing to the microphone. No wonder ladies love him--he is not only cute, but endearing and somehow makes the violin sexy. Chicago is lucky to have him.

See more images from Thursday's show in our Gapers Block Flickr Pool.

 
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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »

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Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
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