by Brad Roberts
In anticipation of his new album Are You Serious, coming out on April 1st (which must mean he's not serious), Andrew Bird (at right) is playing a few shows around the country, landing at Teragram Ballroom on Tuesday. I was very lucky to score a ticket for this quickly sold out show, as he has a penchant for selling out every gig he plays. Having seen him play in venues ranging in size from Amoeba to the Hollywood Bowl, it's impossible not to notice that no matter the audience size he never fails to leave them in a state of deep hypnosis. It's his magical alchemy of indie, folk and classical elements that combine with his violin playing, tremulous yet firm singing voice, whistling, and his talent for looping that build his compositions into these towering edifices of swirling sound. I've little doubt that this will be one of my favorite shows of the year.
There's a sense of social awkwardness in his demeanor that is reflected in his deeply introspective lyrics that gives his concerts a delicate, somewhat fragile quality as if it could all blow away at any moment. This was even evident the last time I saw him at the Bootleg Theatre last October when he joined John C. Reilly and friends on stage for a few songs. Early in the evening I had found myself and Bird standing side by side at the bar alone, and I took the opportunity to speak to him, telling him his music has meant a lot to me through the last ten years and we shook hands. He was as shy and humble as I expected, but I couldn't let the chance to thank him for his art pass by.
Super Furry Animals (at left) was the very first band I went to see when I first wandered back out into the world of live music. On the night of November 29th, 2005, I wandered into the Avalon for the first concert I had attended in 25 years, and my world was changed overnight. I decided right then and there that this was going to become an important part of my life. I listened to more bands, saw more shows, discovered the local music scene, got out and met musicians, bloggers and artists, started blogging, was tapped to write this column, and started presenting shows. And now, ten years later, here I am. It did indeed change my life.
Though they've been pretty much on hiatus since 2010, public demand to see them live never went away and they have answered the call with a series of shows in the U.K. and the East and West Coasts of the U.S. through the spring. Instead of filling a large theatre for one night, Super Furry Animals have decided to play two consecutive nights in Los Angeles at the legendary, mid-size Roxy, and brought along another one of my favorite bands to open for them, Dead Meadow. I'm going on Thursday and will probably wish I was going on Friday too.
Celebrating their 24th year as a band, Built To Spill are coming to town to treat their Los Angeles fans to three nights at the intimate Echo on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. There are no tickets left.
Talk about a stellar, and surprisingly unconventional collection of artists, the Fleetwood Mac Fest at The Fonda Theatre on Tuesday and Wednesday has something for everyone. Mark Ronson, Courtney Love, Joanna Newsom, Cold War Kids, Dhani Harrison, Sarah Silverman, Elvis Perkins, with many many more slated to perform. It's a benefit for Sweet Relief and The Sweet Stuff.