Andrew Bird landed at the Opera House last night, touring in support of his critically acclaimed, brand new full-length, Armchair Apocrypha. Clad in denim and rainbow socks, Bird was the consummate showman as songs and stage banter all melted into one under multi-coloured lights. The crowd was treated to a farm animal Speak’n’Say demonstration, followed by stories of Andrew’s breakfast, and an introduction to his newfound sock monkey puppet friend, whose shoes had to be sown on “so they wouldn’t fall off.”
But these lively moments were rare in a mostly meandering set which found a typically indulgent Andrew Bird embarking on more than a handful of extended solos and jam sessions. Displaying his range with guitar, violin, xylophone, looped instrumental samples, and oh so very much whistling, Bird seemed to be focusing too much on pop sensibilities, and results varied. For example, the normally haunting “I” came off like an average Top 40 hit. Not unpleasant, but not Birdlike. Evidently, all the show’s energy was saved for the last few numbers, with a frantic “A Nervous Tic Motion of the Head” and a slightly bigger, reconstructed “Dark Matter” being notable diversions from an otherwise laid-back evening. Still, Bird’s music never ceases to intrigue and delight, and last night’s show was no exception. Pleasing, but not overwhelmingly memorable.
Photo by chelseagirl from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.