Last night's Andrew Bird show was a fun, intimate time with everyone's favorite violin-looping, whistling Chicagoan. As Tim Tuten eloquently explained before launching into a diatribe about how everyone at the Hideout would soon be bailing out all the Republican Douchebags in Wrigleyville who made bad investments and brought our economy down, whatever that meant (though his delivery was good, I think the guy has been taking some stand-up comedy lessons in his spare time), the Hideout purposefully didn't oversell the show so we could enjoy our personal space while experiencing excellent sight lines of the men on stage.
Dosh played a short 30-minute set of his ambient electronica+drumming with Mike Lewis on saxophone and bass to warm up the crowd before the main event. Andrew Bird and his touring band (currently Martin Dosh- drums, Jeremy Ylvisaker- guitar, Mike Lewis- clarinet/bass) took the small stage, which was barely able to fit the spinning horn speaker he's been touting around lately. Turns out these two small shows were added in order to get footage for the album's first music video, with secondary opportunities to preview the entire new record and let the band practice the songs live. This aspect of the show proved to be necessary, as there were several times where Andrew needed to stop and restart songs, or a pedal didn't work properly; however, in a setting like this one, the mistakes only made the show feel that much more quaint and intimate, like we were a part of something special and behind-the-scenes that the crowds at the Riviera or Millenium Park would never get to see.
"Fitz and the Dizzyspells," the track warranting the video, was clearly the most poppy, radio-friendly of the record, featuring plenty of hand claps as well as the members of Mucca Pazza roaming the crowd while the audience flailed around; by the second time we ran through the song (yes, we heard it twice in a row for video purposes), I had a feeling it was a song I could easily get sick of, catchy though it was. Much more interesting were "Souverian", a darker song than we're used to from Andrew Bird that had more layers than I thought possible from Bird's looping, and a drum machine-driven song apparently developed when Bird heard a Dosh song he liked and decided to add violin and vocals. This Dosh-inspired song made for an interesting departure that I thought would make for a great collaborative album between the two in the future (Bird noted that "Simple X" was also a Dosh song he added to, interestingly enough).
Towards the end the band gave the audience some familiarity with "Imitosis," "Nervous Tic Motion of the Head to the Left" and "Tables and Chairs." It was interesting hearing these older favorites next to the newly unveiled tracks; Andrew Bird could probably play these in his sleep, and it was interesting seeing the confidence and energy during these songs compared to those that clearly needed more practice. Again, it only added to the intrigue of seeing the beginnings of what these songs will be when they are ready to take them on the road.