Andrew Bird at the Largo, Hollywood, CA | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Wednesday, December 6th, 2023  

Andrew Bird, Zach Galifianakis

Andrew Bird at the Largo, Hollywood, CA, January 16th, 2011

Jan 18, 2011 Photography by Laura Studarus Zach Galifianakis
Bookmark and Share

Introduced by comedian Zach Galifanakis—who opened the show by road testing some hilariously, awkward new jokes—Andrew Bird took the stage at the Largo on Sunday night, hair, and scarf flying.

“Zach said I’m the best tenant he’s ever had,” said Bird of his pal, who had allowed him to live in his Los Angeles apartment. “I’m going to put that on a sticker on my next album.”

With that quip, Bird turned his attention to the task at hand—dazzling his audience for the better part of two hours. “Okay, how does this show start?” he muttered, staring at his array of looping pedals. The multi-tasking troubadour had reason for confusion—not officially on tour, his two-off gigs at the Largo (Saturday and Sunday night) were a live test of new material.

As any Andrew Bird fan can attest, his so-recumbent-he’s-nearly-vertical persona between songs is incredibly misleading. While performing his multi-layered compositions solo, Bird is a ball of energy, switching between guitar, violin, xylophone, and whistling, with the speed of a child with ADD—even when the occasional misstep brings the whole operation to a grinding halt.

Despite its unfinished state, the new material was met with overwhelming audience approval. Seemingly relying more on the sound of a violin as a violin, the new songs came across as a series of lush, twisted-folk compositions. Of course, as Bird was careful to point out, many songs were still unfinished. As he reminded us at the beginning of “Near Death Experience Experience”—a sensation he likened to an amusement park ride—“I’m bound to really mess things up.”

New song, “Breeding Desperation,” got one of the biggest rounds of applause, when Bird announced his plans for a music video: him as a beekeeper in a field of gramophones, Zach Galifanakis as a bee, and chorography by Baryshnikov.

“Just so you know I can play a bee,” announced Galifanakis from the wings.

“We’re still going to hold auditions!” Bird shot back.

Interspersed between new tracks were old favorites from previous albums Noble Beast, Useless Creatures, Armchair Apocrypha, and live staple “Why?” from The Swimming Hour. “I’m trying to wean myself off playing this one,” Bird said of “Why?,” admitting that the song was akin to a security blanket amidst the newer tracks. Despite his fears that it was becoming tiresome for the audience, the crowd ate up every moment of the comedic song.

The night ended with local singer Simone White joining Bird on stage for a series of Americana-influenced duets, including a heartbreaking cover of Bob Dylan’s “Oh Sister.” A fantastic teaser, perhaps the only thing missing from the evening was a concrete announcement regarding the new album. Anytime now would be nice…we’ll be waiting.

See a full gallery of photos here.



Submit your comment

Name Required

Email Required, will not be published


Remember my personal information
Notify me of follow-up comments?

Please enter the word you see in the image below:

There are no comments for this entry yet.