Andrew Bird dazzles while road-testing ‘My Finest Work Yet’ in Brooklyn’s intimate National Sawdust

photo via Brooklyn Vegan

Celebrating his fantastic new album My Finest Work Yet, Andrew Bird took to the intimate National Sawdust last night for the first of two Brooklyn shows. The performance was a 90-minute masterclass of Bird’s witty folk stylings, complete with whistles, loops, instrument changes, and a really great backing band.

After a swift rendition of Chet Baker’s “I Fall in Love Too Easily”, Bird got to his Finest Work by playing the new LP’s Side A in its entirety. At some point, he announced that they’d do Side A, then a couple songs, then Side B. It felt as if he was trying to manage expectations for whomever wouldn’t be satisfied hearing largely new material, but it didn’t seem like anyone was too disappointed. Oddly enough, My Finest Work Yet is being lauded by fans and critics alike, and Bird’s upbeat new indie-folk-rock flavor bodes perfectly for a concert. On what was the warmest day of the year so far, you could almost feel summer through the bouncy rhythm of “Fallorun”.

The performance wasn’t without a few kinks, but Bird professionally turns them into Easter eggs for the crowd. At one point he was looking for his guitar which was still with his stage tech. At another point, he stopped a song altogether when a loop went awry. But it didn’t matter; Bird’s charisma floats him nonchalantly through any mishap, and the crowd ate whatever he served directly from his palm. It felt as if this was the test-run of the show that thousands will see on his upcoming tour, in much more grandiose venues.

The new material sounds great, and the old favorites were also welcomed. As the multi-instrumentalist enters his third decade as a performer, he may also be in his prime. He’s incredibly calm and comfortable on the stage, and when paired with his virtuosic capabilities, it’s just quite clear you’re in the presence of greatness. With stellar new material in tow, Bird’s upcoming tour is one you’ll surely want to acquire a ticket for.

Andrew Bird at National Sawdust – 4/8/19 Setlist [via]
1. I Fall in Love Too Easily (Chet Baker cover)

Side A:
2. Sisyphus
3. Bloodless
4. Olympians
5. Cracking Codes
6. Fallorun

7. Why? (2001)
8. Truth Lies Low (2016)

Side B:
9. Archipelago
10. Proxy War
11. Manifest
12. Don The Struggle
13. Bellevue Bridge Club

14. Three White Horses (2012)
15. [Madison – title unknown] (Madison Cunningham (the guitarist) song on her own upcoming album; she sang vocals)
16. Pulaski At Night – mentioned he wrote this about Chicago while living in New York

Encore:
17. I Can’t Give You Anything But Love, Baby (jazz standard cover)
18. Orpheo Looks Back (2012) (bonus – not on printed setlist)