Bird Songs

Andrew Bird whistles even when he's sad

Weather Systems, however, does not spell the end for Bowl of Fire. Bird has finished a new band album (due out later this year) and plans to resume touring with his five-piece (at least) group. Currently, though, his solo shows find him surrounded onstage by amps, pedals, a guitar and a glockenspiel, building the songs piece by piece, loop by loop. His performances become windows on his process of composition.

We bet Andrew Bird's mom is proud of her son but doesn't see what's so "cool" about uncombed hair
David Mitchell
We bet Andrew Bird's mom is proud of her son but doesn't see what's so "cool" about uncombed hair

"It's all about choreography," he says, "to balance three different instruments and not lose the attention of the audience. The connection with the audience is getting more intense. With the band it's an adrenaline thing; by physical force you create the energy in the room. In the past it was always, 'We've got a show coming up, we're going to be so damn entertaining, knock everybody's socks off, cram as much cool shit in as we can.' This is a break from that. Now there are completely different physics. The audience can see the song being put together. They get involved in the process. When I screw up they get even more involved, get closer. I actually like to do songs that are half-finished. That's the beauty of the solo thing: I don't get evil looks from band members. If I get an idea that day or hear something on the street, I can incorporate it into the show, and people can feel the newness of it. Watching me fall apart onstage, I admit, is part of it."

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