Andrew Bird @ Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall - Portland, OR
by Finn Turnbull
on Oct 25th, 2019
Andrew Bird, master of musical language and aesthetic, passed through Portland, Oregon on tour for his new record entitled My Finest Work Yet. The fitting artwork of his classy new album is a recreation of the famous French Revolutionary painting “The Death of Marat” by Jacques-Louis David, however, in the place of Marat is Bird himself. On tour with him is American singer-songwriter, Meshell Ndegeocello.
The ornate Alrene Schnitzer Concert Hall was the perfect venue for Andrew Bird’s delicate, romantic music. Playing with five backing musicians, Bird leads the way with his skill on the guitar and violin. Apart from a complex knowledge of musical theory, he is also an extremely adept vocalist and whistler, really bringing home the bird-like notion. With a unique twist of loops and exotic melodies, Bird’s music easily stands out as a folk/rock genre.
The majority of the evening was used to promote the songs on Andrew’s new record. “That’s your Side A…” he said to the audience after playing through the first half of the new tunes. Sprinkled in were older tracks like “Oh No” from Noble Beast. After the new music had been explored, the band stripped down slightly for a more traditional folk setup, with the players gathered around one microphone. They ran through simplified versions of songs including “Give It Away,” “Left-Handed Kisses,” which were also sung by the female guitarist. The final song of the set was “Capsized” from Are You Serious. After a standing encore from the crowd, Bird and friends returned for more “Bowl of Fire” type tunes. The band finished out the night with John Hartford’s “Gentle On My Mind” and Andrew’s popular track, “Pulaski at Night." This was followed by another standing ovation.
A music video for his new single "Manifest" is available to watch here.