Carl Sandburg Visits Me In A Dream
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Carl Sandburg Visits Me In A Dream

Carl Sandburg Visits Me In A Dream will serve as a blog for me to share my thoughts and musings, with a special emphasis on music. The music that will appear in this blog is for evaluation/sampling purposes only, and is designed to promote up and coming bands. Remember, if you like the artist(s), buy the CD! If you are the owner of a sound file and would like it removed, please contact us and we will kindly take it down.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

A Night with Andrew Bird

Andrew Bird came to his alma mater Northwestern University to play an exclusive show for students, where he dabbled in pizzicato and conversation for a couple of fascinating hours. I was fortunate to have been able to sit front row with my buddy Jed, as we witnessed the fancy footwork and idiosyncrasies of Mr. Bird.

For someone who proclaims himself to be so damn "easy going" in his song "Why?", it might come as a surprise as to how stubbornly good Andrew Bird really is. He isn't necessarily the greatest of showmen, but I suppose that's part of his act. His perfectionism and his impeccable concentration allow him to elevate himself (note: he nearly played half the show on his tippy toes) to a level that transcends that petty artist-audience banter. It also seemed as though Bird had some special connection to the Pick-Staiger auditorium in which he also played as a student at NU. It was clear that it was nostalgic for him to be back at Northwestern, in the acoustically phenomenal auditorium where his songwriting travails began. At the very end of the show, he decided to play "Weather Systems" with the justification that he thought it would sound right in the venue. But really, that was him wanting to hear his own songs in a space that could truly appreciate them, musically and lyrically.

Indeed, it was a rather fantastic show, as he furiously tapped his feet on the handful of loop pedals at his disposal. Not to mention his sudden kicks and jumps, the rotating speakers, or even his simple "Nervous Tic Motion of the Head to the Left". Each song was carefully chaotic, as he went from guitar to violin at an almost frantic pace. Anyone else would have looked awkward or hurried, but Bird made it seem effortless, surreal. Even more, he drenched he audience in a slew of delightful sonic matter. I felt enveloped, suspended in his violin, his lyrics in my mouth, as if I had something to do with the creation of his sound.

Among the various highlights of the show were his latest "Imitosis" and the now classic "Nervous Tic Motion of the Head to the Left". "Why?" came across more involved and intricate than I remember--the looping was done perfectly. Bird even tried out a new song, "Sectionate Cities", which could have easily been another track on Armchair Apocrypha. "I figured I would try a new song on you all," he remarked to eager fans with the disclaimer, "there's no better to place to choke, I guess". Bird also shared some of his own stories about his songs; perhaps the most interesting was that "Why?" was about his college roommate failing to get a rise out of Andrew. Or, as he explained, that much of his songwriting starts with questions (he's much more interested in the questions) and a couple of words whose tonal quality interest him. From there, it's that quirky Birdness that takes over and makes his songs what they are.

Listen to Andrew Bird- "Why?"
Listen to Andrew Bird-"11:11 (Live)"

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