The magnificent, inimitable, prolific Andrew Bird returns to New York City this Friday with a free concert as part of the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! festival in Prospect Park. If you're unfamiliar with Bird, this right here is an ideal opportunity to introduce yourself, at no cost, to his uniquely compelling sound, which blends aspects of Americana, rock, and classical traditions into something new and buoyant. Here, see for yourself:
That's a track off his latest album Are You Serious, his 12th since his solo debut Weather Systems enchanted the indie rock blog world way back in the early aughts, during our conflict with Saddam and the Iraqis. Reviewing his latest record, NPR Music wrote: "Always a thoughtful songwriter, prone to impeccably chosen words and pristine arrangements, Bird has still found a way to mature and open up in a long career that spans more than a dozen studio albums…his writing keeps sounding warmer, sweeter, more thoughtful and approachable, while continuing to land lines that stick with you for days."
Live, Bird's music tilts toward the ecstatic and is typically mesmerizing, with sweeping waves of sound summoned from his own delay pedal looping technique—guitar, glockenspiel, violin, vocals, and whistling melodies are often painstakingly assembled by Bird himself during the same song. This one-man-band approach is typically augmented by a small backing band whose lineup has shifted since his solo career first took off with the talented percussionist Martin Dosh. Expect plenty of new songs off Are You Serious? and a smattering of selections from his increasingly expansive back catalog. There will probably be snacks, but don't count on Dear Dirty.
Lately, Bird has been producing an endearing Facebook Live series, “Live from the Great Room,” featuring weekly performances with some of Bird’s friends and collaborators, streamed live from his Los Angeles home. Recent guests have included Zach Galifinakis (below), Fiona Apple, Matt Berninger of The National, Jim James of My Morning Jacket, and others. Watch the archived broadcasts here, but definitely go catch him live in the park on Friday. Gates open at 6:30 p.m.