Andrew Bird Is The Ultimate Backyard Performer



If you’re going to have live music at your backyard BBQ party, it’s a good idea not to alienate everyone within a two-block radius because it’s too loud, so thrash metal is out. On the other hand a party is a party, and you don’t want the music to be so sedate that people start nodding off into the guacamole. You’re looking for something uplifting with a quiet energy about it, and for that you couldn’t do much better than invite Andrew Bird to the bash.

Not only is he one of the most talented musicians on the planet, but he’s also got one of the most unassuming and self-effacing do-it-yourself vibes in the music business. Rarely does a musical genius seem like such a regular guy who doesn’t seem out of place performing in a backyard. He holds regular concerts in his living room and streams them live on Facebook, and they are so homey you feel like you could go into his kitchen and grab him a drink while he’s playing. The music can be astonishing too with people like Jackson Browne, Esperanza Spalding, Jim James, The Lumineers, and Jonathan Richman popping in to jam with him.

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A couple of weeks ago Andrew Bird performed at an L.A. backyard concert benefit for the very worthy cause of Amnesty International’s refugee support initiative, and this video gives a taste of what a wonderful night that must have been. Bird is a virtuoso on the violin, and he can loop different live violin sounds onstage and mix them to sound like ten musicians. Then he picks up the guitar and throws in some staccato choppy chords and sings some enlightened lyrics on a sprightly melody, while guitarist Blake Mills drives the song along with lightly-picked but constantly probing rhythms. The effect is invigorating and intoxicating.

Nobody else makes music anything like this, it’s unique and totally unclassifiable. Next time you’re having a backyard party you should give this guy a call, you’ll be the talk of the town and then some.

 

“Plasticities”

This isn’t your song
This isn’t your music
How can they be wrong
When by committee they choose it all?
They choose it all

You’re gonna grow old
You’re gonna grow cold
Bearing signs on the avenue
For your own personal Waterloo
You’re bearing signs on the avenue
For your own personal Waterloo now

We’ll fight, we’ll fight
We’ll fight for your music halls and dying cities
They’ll fight, they’ll fight 
They’ll fight for your neural walls and plasticities
And precious territory

This isn’t our song
This isn’t even a musical
I think life is too long
To be a whale in a cubicle
Nails under your cuticle

Gonna grow old
You’re gonna grow so cold
Before this song can deliver you
You’re bearing signs on the avenue
You’re bearing signs
For your own personal Waterloo now

We’ll fight, we’ll fight
We’ll fight for your music halls and dying cities
They’ll fight, they’ll fight 
They’ll fight for your neural walls and plasticities
And precious territory

 

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