Thursday, October 01, 2009

Andrew Bird and St. Vincent

Due to some early returns on my poll, I chose last night's Andrew Bird/St. Vincent show over tonight's Grizzly Bear/Beach House gig. I based my decision mostly on the fact that I prefer St. Vincent over Beach House. The headliners don't mean much to me either way.

I don't usually arrive in time to see an opener, but St. Vincent had me intrigued. Her albums are wrought with difficulty and confusion. I mean this in a good way. St. V, aka Annie Clark, has a varied past which includes stints with the Polyphonic Spree and Sufjan Steven's touring band, not to mention a Texas upbringing. These experiences have provided her with a unique sound that is challenging even to the most obsessive indie geek.

Then there's her voice. Both classical and enchanting, Clark draws you in past the cacophony of her music to that warm space in her center. Thankfully, despite some road-weariness and a crummy sound system, her voice rang true.

While the performance wasn't particularly urgent or dramatic, the material did translate well. In fact, St. Vincent's sound actually rocked more and created noise I didn't think was possible.

I'm new to Andrew Bird. I purchased a couple of his albums on iTunes earlier this week to get a sense of what I was about to see/hear. Bird's music reaches some incredible heights. There are moments of sheer brilliance scattered throughout his work. Some of his arrangements are incredible, urgent, massive. The lyrics can be quick and witty, sometimes surprising. Conversely, mediocrity is also there. There a certain amount of accessibility that is certainly supported by Bird's turns on the festival circuit. This mediocrity attracts college dudes and hippies who like a jam band or four. Similar has been thought of Ben Folds or Mason Jennings. These men are all quirky, incredibly talented, but way too pleasing to their audience's whim. So, for me, the jury was still out on Mr. Bird.

To be honest, I don't have much to say about Andrew Bird's set. It sort of bored me and never grabbed my interest. Though the crowd certainly love Bird, they didn't seem all that moved to me. I don't know. Maybe I just don't get it or maybe I've just been to too many shows. Whatever it is, Andrew Bird did nothing for me.

So, I left part-way through the set. I ended my evening where it started earlier with a beer at the new Broadway Brewery. I was home before R was asleep. Maybe I would have had a better time making Grizzly Bear this week's show, but I'll never know. Next up: The Walkmen at Mojo's on Sunday.

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