Andrew Bird at Ogden Theatre, 8/17/12

Categories: Concert Reviews

Jon Solomon
Andrew Bird last night at the Ogden Theatre.


See also: Q&A with Andrew Bird on his songwriting process and his approach to improvising using loops

Last night at the Ogden Theatre, singer/violinist/Olympic-grade whistler Andrew Bird performed in front of the most attentive, respectful, rapt crowd the Chicago wunderkind could have possibly hoped for. There was such a distinctive vibe in the room, the concert felt more like a seance than a rock show. The ringleader was clearly comfortable with this, moving through old and newer songs with fluidity, including standouts "Give it Away" and "MX Missiles," and, for a short set-inside-a-set, he performed quieter material with backing musicians taking up an upright bass and acoustic guitar. They all stood around a single mike, recalling early 20th century radio shows that have been a continuous influence on Bird's work.

Jon Solomon
Opener Kelly Hogan last night at the Ogden Theatre.

Following an acceptable, if not particularly provocative, set by longtime friend Kelly Hogan (whose drummer is a veteran of Bird's former band, the Bowl of Fire), Bird took the stage. And with gusto: Bird's slight, bookish physical presence is a ruse, concealing a charismatic bull that owns the stage within the first few delicate plinks of his violin.

Granted, he's been working at it for a while. Fifteen years ago, Bird was a touring sideman with MTV darlings the Squirrel Nut Zippers. Following the commercial success of the single "Hell", Bird concentrated on his gypsy jazz-meets-New Orleans blues combo, the Bowl of Fire. Things got weird around 2003. That's when he began making albums that would define the work he's now best known for: asymmetrical song structures, looped violin riffs, and lots -- lots -- of whistling.

Jon Solomon
Andrew Bird last night at the Ogden Theatre.

All this was featured abundantly last night. Bird took the stage and began with "Hole in the Ocean Floor," a lesser-known track from this year's Break it Yourself. He was backed by a full band -- bass, guitar, and drummer Martin Dosh, who looped many of his own rhythms. With the various effects pedals and auxiliary percussion instruments, the quartet sounded like a goddamn orchestra.

Location Info


Ogden Theatre

935 E. Colfax Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Music

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@DenverWestword @andrewbird @ogdentheatre the show last night was fantastic! First time I've seen Andrew perform with a band, magical.

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