Supremely talented multi-instrumentalist, Andrew Bird made a stop at Cleveland’s House Of Blues this past Saturday April 16th, 2016.
Starting off the show at 8 PM was Brazil’s group of psychedelic indie rockers, Boogarins.
The four man band got the crowd bobbing their heads to the other-worldly throwback rock sound. The group has been jamming together since their debut album was released in 2013.
With a thick and charming accent, singer and guitarist Dinho Almeida lamented that this was their last night on tour with Andrew Bird, but thanked the crowd for listening to their music.
The group is continuing their own tour through the states on the heels of their 2015 release, “Manual ou Guia Livre de Dissolução dos Sonhos”.
After an equipment swap, the stage was set for Andrew Bird. His trademark violin was brought out about 10 minutes prior to start time, and sat patiently waiting on a chair for the man of the hour.
At 9:10, Andrew and his band took the stage to a wave of excited applause. Dressed in slick black pants and a black blazer, Bird began the night with the first track off of his new album, “Are You Serious” entitled “Capsized”.
Secondly, Bird played 2005’s “A Nervous Tic Motion Of The Head to the Left”. A giant collective cheer welcomed his very first whistle.
Supported by banjos, bass, drums and guitar, the band delivered a fuller sound than the one man orchestra Bird has rocked off and on throughout his career. At one point, Bird introduced his tour mates. Afterward, with a hint of playful sarcasm, he joked, “…and you’re the audience. Well done. Congratulations.”
The packed House Of Blues was fixated on every note. Drinks were flowing, and there were even snacks. The smell of fresh popcorn could be found in every corner.
Andrew Bird’s setlist was expansive enough to please fans new and old alike. He threw in plenty of songs from his latest album, as well as tracks spanning his range of LPs, and even some from EPs such as 2003’s “Weather Systems”.
Around the middle of his set, Bird mentioned his new album’s duet with Fiona Apple, “Left Handed Kisses”. “I do a duet on this tour. Fiona couldn’t make it tonight, but she says hi.”
“I’m going to do both parts,” he admitted, and pointed to his head. “It started up here.”
The lights illuminating the stage would change between vibrant greens, yellows, blues, purples and reds. Andrew Bird’s tall thin frame, bow in hand would refract the spotlight. His sparkled jacket would shine when the light hit it just right. The talented artist would frequently switch from guitar to violin, sometimes meticulously tapping on his xylophone after strums, whistling and singing throughout… looping notes through a looper pedal to create an even more expansive sound.
At the end of the set, Andrew and his band exited the stage after thanking the audience… but the happy crowd was eager for more. After a brief collection of cheers and claps, the music makers returned for an encore.
Gathering stage left around a microphone, a folk-vibed acoustic encore was in store to the delight of the crowd who clapped along when the time was right.
With newly found lyrical directness, Andrew Bird is showing fans a more fearless, honest side to his music than ever before. The synonymously cryptic wordsmith has not shied away from including his myriad of new life experiences in his songs after getting married, having a son, and supporting his wife through a cancer battle.
It seems the sky is the limit for this song bird, and fans are turning out in droves to welcome him back to the road.
Bird will be touring into Minnesota and Missouri, before heading to Dublin, and across parts of Europe next month.
Words and photos by: Tiffany Cuthrell