May 21, 2016 @ The Orpheum Theatre, Vancouver, BC
By Tyler Hill
The first thing I noticed when Andrew Bird's show started was the wall of sound his group was able to muster. This was interesting given the stripped-down nature of the show, only further opposed by the grand size of the venue, making the stage seem cavernous.
When the show began, the sound was fairly standard for the type of band: drums, bass and guitar. What made the sound unique was the addition of Andrew Bird’s classic violin, which he plucked and bowed.
The plucking produced a distinct staccato sound that complemented the percussion nicely. This seemed to be the general “theme” of the set: sharp staccato sounds mixed with otherwise soaring arrangements. This produced a sound that is best described as “aristocratic,” filling the space perfectly. The more conservative choruses made room for the experimental sounds of the violin.
The audience responded well to almost every song, and Bird interacted a good deal with the audience. He was funny and added a lot to the performance.
Left-Handed Kisses had the same plucked violin sound we'd been hearing earlier, adding character to what could be otherwise considered a fairly formulaic song. The unique lyrics were another nice touch.
One thing I noticed was the silence during the song. In fact there was silence during almost every song – with clapping and cheering reserved for the end.
Another interesting element of the performance was the addition of soft static during the quieter parts of the set. This added a great texture to the sound, accentuating the rhythmic elements of both the strings and percussion.
The end of the set was met with a standing ovation that led to an encore. The band followed up with three more songs, each with only one mic, three musicians and a folk/Americana vibe. It felt different enough from the main show to be delivered as its own set.
Overall, an incredibly enjoyable show. Make sure you check out Andrew Bird when he visits a city near you.