#22 on the 2009 Musical Advent Calendar
Noble Beast by Andrew Bird
Whistling. Playing the violin like a ukelele. Performing without shoes on. These are the things that make Andrew Bird seem a bit more eccentric than the usual musician. But try not to let those things scare you (if they do), because Andrew Bird is somebody that everybody should be listening to. He has the appeal, the stage presence, and the songs that an artist needs to appeal to all (and to offend none).
The above video, for a live recording of the song “Anonanimal” from Noble Beast, performed at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, breaks my self-imposed rules for the type of videos I’ll feature in the Calendar. But watching Andrew Bird perform live, you really start to see what makes up his mystique. Like St. Vincent (featured in the calendar 2 days ago), Andrew uses loop technology to slowly build songs. Notice there’s only 3 people on stage during the performance above. Yet as the song builds, it starts to sound like a full orchestra. Without the use of computers or off-stage musicians or any other such trickery — just a slight start and stop of a recording device at Andrew’s feet, recording measure after measure of live sound from his violin, building one on top of the other, creating a warm blanket of sound.
And then he starts playing the violin like a uke, and the whistling kicks in but it’s ok — now you get it.
And that, my friends, is Andrew Bird in a nutshell. Run out and buy everything he’s ever recorded, immediately.
23. Hungry Bird by Clem Snide
24. Actor by St. Vincent
25. Elvis Perkins in Dearland by Elvis Perkins in Dearland
26. XX by the XX
27. Grrr… by Bishop Allen
28. Keep It Hid by Dan Auerbach
29. It’s Blitz! by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs
30. Beware by Bonnie “Prince” Billie
31. Veckatimest by Grizzly Bear