Reviews: Andrew Bird at The Greene Space, honeyhoney at Union Hall

Andrew Bird

The past couple of weeks have consisted of a slew of amazing live shows, the first and perhaps most amazing of which being the Andrew Bird set I got the chance to see at WNYC’s Soundcheck.

Bird and his bass player Alan Hampton, playing huddled around two mics with nothing but a violin and an upright (and a mouth made for whistling) brought to mind a quote by Woody Guthrie that has always stuck with me: “any fool can make something complicated. It takes a genius to make it simple.” Stripped down, acoustic and riveting, Bird’s short set consisted of tracks off his new album, “Break It Yourself” … including a fave, “Give It Away.” Also on the docket was “Orpheo Looks Back,” and although the album has only been out for a period of weeks, Bird took the opportunity to try out a new ending for the tune, which you can hear below.

A highlight of the entire(ly-too-brief) set was Bird’s special web-only encore – a fantastic rendition of Charlie Patton’s classic delta blues hit, “I’m Goin’ Home,” harkening back to an ever-present theme in this latest album of Bird’s — the concept of the ‘fatal shore.’ (Lame-alert:) I found myself close to tears from the sheer beauty of his take on the song. While there isn’t any recording of ‘Goin’ Home’ from the GS performance, a YouTube user caught this video of him covering it back in the summer of ’11 at an Ann Arbor festival.

You can watch the full livestream of the show on WNYC’s website, and below is his performance of “Orpheo Looks Back.”

(Note: On April 25 you can catch The Punch Brothers and Kaki King at TGS, as well. Buy tickets here.)

Another one of my favorite live shows that I’ve seen yet at Union Hall was last week’s honeyhoney show. Having listened to the country-rock band only through recordings, I have to say that seeing them live is definitely the way to go. Their cute-yet-awkward stage banter ends up being endearing, and their musicianship is all-too-apparent. Not to mention – girl’s got pipes. Big ‘ole pipes.

Below is a video one of my fellow attendees captured of “Back to You:”

Can’t wait to catch them at Newport Folk Festival this summer, where an even larger group will hopefully join the growing ranks of honeyhoney converts.