Andrew Bird, Hardest Whistling Man in Show Biz, at the Fillmore Miami Beach, October 8
With Here We Go Magic
Fillmore Miami Beach
Monday, October 8, 2012
Better Than: Combing NPR's All Songs Considered archives.
Last night, the Fillmore Miami Beach was temporarily transformed back into the old Jackie Gleason Theater as incredibly skilled multi-instrumentalist Andrew Bird brought his talents to South Beach.
Opening act, Here We Go Magic, was so boring that we don't even feel inspired to talk shit. The second our fingers hit the keyboard, and our brain started to review what exactly about this band rubbed us the wrong way (sub-Vampire Weekend Graceland pillaging b/w backbone-free adult contemporary "indie rock"), we start to nod off. Just like we did last night. At the very least, Here We Go Magic cured our insomnia. P.S. Worst band name since Clap Your Hands Say Yeah.
Andrew Bird on the other hand was an absolute treat, an entertainer's version of a tiny chocolate-chip cupcake donning expertly swirled frosting and encased in a clear glass box with a tastefully tied lace bow wrapped around the pretty little package.
The lights dimmed and Bird marched onto the stage looking like a man overflowing with purpose. He quickly launched into an gorgeously swelling instrumental piece centered around loop-based self-harmonizing. From the get-go we couldn't help but think, "Now this is entertainment!"
In fact, that thought stayed with us through the entire performance, as Andrew Bird kicked his act into high gear like James Brown if he were a wiry, charmingly precocious international folk rock and pop singer-songwriter. That is to say, Andrew Bird may presently be the hardest whistling man in show business.
When he wasn't looping lush, soaring tones from his violin, he fingerpicked with a stenographer's precision, whistled like Mary Poppins, and sang with the visible gusto of a court musician challenged to entertain his would-be executioners lest they send him to the guillotine.
Bird drew heavily from his newest record, Break It Yourself, but also worked in a number of classics from his back catalogue. After performing, "Fiery Crash," from 2007's Armchair Apocrypha, Andrew explained that he hadn't performed the song in two years, but wanted to bring out some old favorites for his first concert in Miami.
The Crowd: Diet Hipsters, hip norms, couples of all ages, only one or two cornballs decked out like chic librarians. Generally speaking, this demographic could be described as "polite." And that's not an adjective. That is what we think you should call these kinds of people.
From the Crowd: Half-hearted heckling, like "Freebird!" Or during Here We Go Magic, "Brooklyn!" When a member of HWGM encouraged the audience to register to vote in the lobby of the Fillmore, someone screamed, "Chavez!" But these tidy tweeters mostly maintained audible-pin-drop levels of volume throughout the night.
Personal Bias: We hate precious pop. But we love Andrew Bird.
What Are the Odds: That anybody at this concert also attended last month's Kendrick Lamar show?
Andrew Bird's Partial Setlist:
-"A Nervous Tic Motion of the Head to the Left"
-"Give It Away"
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