Photos by Rebecca Bulnes
Last night at the Fillmore Miami Beach, Andrew Bird put on one of the best displays of musicianship I have ever seen. This was the first time the extraordinarily skilled multi-instrumentalist has performed in the Magic City, but I have never felt quite as much magic as I did last night.
Speaking of magic, the Brooklyn-based psych-inspired indie rock band Here We Go Magic opened for Andrew Bird, a quartet consisting of two guitars, drums, bass, and keys. With a variety of effects pedals and synth settings, the group was able to replicate that electronic folk/hazy pop rock sound that resonates on their studio albums. I was impressed with the way they were able to effectively reproduce complex sounds from their studio albums, but seeing the precision with which each member of the band attacked their respective instruments in a live setting made their talent even more apparent. “The band sounded great but their polyrhythmic vocals were most impressive,” says local DJ and audiophile Phil Minnick. After Here We Go Magic finished their set, we all waited in anticipation for the main event: a one-man orchestra.
After a few solo acoustic songs, Bird’s band joined him on stage where they played a mix of his older material (drawing from Mysterious Production of Eggs and Armchair Apocrypha) and tunes from his latest album, Break it Yourself. He played “Fiery Crash,” a song that he hadn’t performed in two years. “I wanted to bring out some old favorites for my first concert in Miami,” he said. The crowd was soaking in the raw emotion that Bird’s music exuded—we were all drenched in violin dreams. In between songs many screamed out requests, “DARK MATTER,” a girl yelled out. “This doesn’t mean it’s request night,” Bird said, “but I’ll play that. I feel like playing Dark Matter.” The crowd whooped in approval.
Andrew Bird was great with the audience and we couldn’t get enough of him. Besides the cool spinning horn speakers part of the aesthetics, everyone was captivated with Bird’s trademark violin picking technique, sophisticated electronic looping and pedals, his xylophone skills, and most impressive: his perfect pitch whistling. If the concert had been outside, the birds would have shut up to hear their King Bird whistle.
Just like the beginning of his set, Andrew encored with a couple of acoustic tunes. After he thanked everyone and left the stage for good, the audience was slow to move out of the theater—Andrew Bird had just charmed our pants off. Bird’s performance was a fairytale first date and everyone left wide-eyed, feeling giddy. He told us a story with his body language, his song selection, and the way he played each song. It felt like I was listening to the soundtrack of a movie—the kind of magical movie that makes your heart melt.