Edge Festival: HMV Playhouse
23 August, 19.20
The two acts before Bird flew on stage highlight a lot about modern music. It’s not that it’s poorly performed; rather it displays a passive-optimistic repetitiveness which varies only slightly between songs. Definitely the foothills of the musical summit which the audience would be invited to ascend with Bird.
Still, as the stage clouds gathered and Bird walked on, the impression was not one of instant awe. Yet the sounds which he can produce are astounding. Tones, harmonies and melodies are built up through Bird’s guitar, violin and vocal talents. The use of on stage recording equipment allows Bird to create a tapestry of his own sounds to weave in and out of. It’s a creative fabric which sews folk, jazz and blues into the surface, as well as hints modern classical composers, such as John Adams.
From such varied influences Bird’s sound has a spiritual resonance with anyone remotely interested in music. It’s also nice that, despite his cooler than a bucket of ice voice, Andrew Bird doesn’t take himself too seriously. He’s just as willing to write about eating meat as he is to cover ancient American folk melodies about life.
A landscape of sound from one of the United States’ most complex and gifted contemporary musicians.