Show report: Andrew Bird at the WUT; ancient civilizations

I, like Em, went to see Andrew Bird last week. I appreciated all the pizzicato shredding and freaky whistling, but found I liked the more traditional songs best — “Fiery Crash,” “Plasticities,” and “Tables and Chairs,” this last a kind of homage to “Don’t Worry About the Government.” Which is good: we are well supplied with homages to the yelpy mid-period Talking Heads and need more homages to talky early-period Talking Heads.

Andrew Bird, though he might be too young to know it, has the exact same stage shtick as the great Steven Wright: a kind of mumbly I’m-saying-something-really-weird-and-pretending-not-to-know-it deadpan. Did not work for me in the rock context.

He played a song called “Scythian Empires,” which made me wonder why it’s so popular to write songs about ancient civilizations. Off the top of my head:

  • “Scythian Empires”
  • They Might Be Giants, “The Mesopotamians”
  • Mountain Goats, “The Anglo-Saxons”

The last of these wins by the virtue of the couplet

They used to paint their bodies blue

Some of them might be distantly related to you!

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3 thoughts on “Show report: Andrew Bird at the WUT; ancient civilizations

  1. Em says:

    Did he ask you guys to stomp on the floor during Scythian Empires? When we did it, in the Church, he described the sound as “badass.” That cracked me up.

    Did he tell the story about how in the barn where he sometimes lives he can’t care for his chickens properly and so they all got eaten by raccoons and now a guy on a yellow motorcycle makes sure they all get put away at night. I can see how that might have been delivered a la Steven Wright.

  2. JSE says:

    Stomping — no. Remember, we’re talking a theater venue, everyone’s seated the whole time. Chickens — yes. In fact that might have been the exact moment I realized I was listening to Steven Wright.

  3. John Cowan says:

    Why can’t you stomp on the floor while sitting down? I’ve certainly done it, in the days before I took up sandal-wearing permanently, as a way of signaling displeasure when the show was 15 minutes or more late in starting.

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