Andrew Bird employs his three chief weapons -- violin, loop pedal and whistling -- with visible conviction. He also squints a lot. That's the bulk of what we learn in this fairly standard-issue tour doc. Performance minutes outnumber talking minutes maybe three-to-one, and the whole thing plays like an hour-and-a-half long PR one-sheet. You can almost see the bullet points on the wall of the editing room: Andrew likes to improvise on stage; Andrew likes to write music at his childhood farm; Andrew has hustled his way to success. What little narrative there is follows the musician through a year of touring wherein he manages to have a mild fever the entire time. His schedule is presented as a nearly suicidal undertaking, but 150 dates doesn't seem all that Herculean compared with his peers. That tendency to overstatement, of Bird's suffering most of all, takes what might have been an illuminating look at the life of a mid-level musician in the twenty-teens and turns it into a fans-only bonus track. Andrew Bird: Fever Year screens at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, November 19, at Webster University's Moore Auditorium (470 East Lockwood Avenue; www.cinemastlouis.org). Tickets are $10 to $12.
Sat., Nov. 19, 2011