Concert Reviews

Andrew Bird at Ogden Theatre, 8/17/12

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Following an acceptable, if not particularly provocative, set by longtime friend Kelly Hogan (whose drummer is a veteran of Bird's former band, the Bowl of Fire), Bird took the stage. And with gusto: Bird's slight, bookish physical presence is a ruse, concealing a charismatic bull that owns the stage within the first few delicate plinks of his violin.

Granted, he's been working at it for a while. Fifteen years ago, Bird was a touring sideman with MTV darlings the Squirrel Nut Zippers. Following the commercial success of the single "Hell", Bird concentrated on his gypsy jazz-meets-New Orleans blues combo, the Bowl of Fire. Things got weird around 2003. That's when he began making albums that would define the work he's now best known for: asymmetrical song structures, looped violin riffs, and lots -- lots -- of whistling.

All this was featured abundantly last night. Bird took the stage and began with "Hole in the Ocean Floor," a lesser-known track from this year's Break it Yourself. He was backed by a full band -- bass, guitar, and drummer Martin Dosh, who looped many of his own rhythms. With the various effects pedals and auxiliary percussion instruments, the quartet sounded like a goddamn orchestra.

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Mark Sanders
Contact: Mark Sanders