Andrew Bird @ HMV Picture House 23-08-09

August 28, 2009

ANDREW BIRD
HMV Picture House, Edinburgh, August 23 * * * * *

In the wrong singer/songwriter’s hands, or rather feet, loop pedals can make shows feel gimmicky, regardless of the music’s sentiment. Unfortunately, for every innovator like say Laura Veirs, there’s a David Ford or KT Tunstall for whom the act of using said gadget often appears more important than the actual music.
For Chicago-born Andrew Bird, the loop pedal is a tool to bring his music to life on stage – it’s functional rather than a theatrical aid. He could use a backing band but it probably wouldn’t generate the same intimate, personal vibe that ensured a dedicated silence was observed for the duration of tonight’s immaculate 14-song set.
It’s little wonder such a reverent hush fell over the audience as at times his music and delivery left us speechless, reaching for superlatives during sustained bursts of applause after each and every song.
Nervous Tic Motion of the Head to the left and Fitz and the Dizzyspells with their layers of plucked, strummed and bowed violin, whistled samples and rounded off by Bird’s smooth versatile vocals dazzled early on while Natural Disaster, Effigy and crowd favourite Scythian Empires further enhanced an already sublime evening’s entertainment.

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