Smile Politely

Defying definition with Andrew Bird

andrewbirdTomorrow night, steal away from encroaching winter, from the promise of snow and biting wind, from the pressures of finals or the approach of the holidays to hear the intricately composed sounds of Andrew Bird fill Foellinger Auditorium. 

Bird is an elegant musician and songwriter, layering clever, delicate rhymes over exuberant handclaps and the soaring sounds of his most mastered instrument, his violin.  For me, Bird’s songs are perfectly suited for the icy Midwestern winter.  His music is somewhat icy itself, distant in its elevated language and cold tones, yet streaked with bright flashes of comfort, sweet in its liveliness and genuineness.

Bird’s latest album, Noble Beast, released last January on Fat Possum, continues his tradition of exquisitely placed compositions, classical instruments mixed in with masterful whistling, all alongside Bird’s endearing verbosity.  His words are music unto themselves, his stories subservient to the poetry of sound created by his lyrics.  His vivid stories defy definition, arousing the imagination with his swirling imagery. 

And while 2007’s Armchair Apocrypha may have had the pop gems to pull in new fans, Bird’s new material has an easy sophistication that romances me all the same.

youandyournOpening for Bird will be Champaign-Urbana’s own You & Yourn, made up of husband and wife duo Nic and Heather Dillon.  After eight years of playing together, You & Yourn released their debut album this October, It Would Make Things Worse, on Parasol Records. 

It Would Make Things Worse is a slowly building picture of familiar stories, familiar scenes, familiar emotions heightened through Heather and Nic’s soothing, moving vocals.  The duo is a perfect selection to start off the night: the warm complement to Bird’s chillier compositions.  Make sure to come early to hear their folk-driven melodies, intimate pictures of their life and loves that are sure to thaw out the icy night.

The show kicks off at 8:00 p.m., and tickets (if still available) will be $25 at the door.

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