12 Days of Spring Weekend: Andrew Bird and why he’ll knock your quirky socks off


“Do you wonder where the self resides/Is it in the head or between your sides/ And who would be the one who will decide its true location?”

No, this isn’t a quote by Foucault, though I wouldn’t be surprised if this artist followed his work religiously.

I’m not talking about the wickedly talented Adele Dazeem; I’m actually talking about the (also wickedly talented) Chicago-based singer songwriter and professional whistler slash violinist Andrew Bird. Emphasis on professional whistler because seriously, his whistling is out of this world. Did I mention he’s also worked for organizations like The Yellow Bird Project, Reverb and contributed to an HIV and AIDS benefit album? Watch out, Bono. Oh, and if this doesn’t inspire you to check him out, one of his albums received a rating of 9.0 on the relentless Pitchfork scale so yeah.  You know he’s all that.

 Andrew Bird was born on July 11, 1973 in Chicago. He received his bachelor’s degree in violin performance from Northwestern University. His passion for music, especially the violin, began when he was 4 years-old and started training in the Suzuki method, a comprehensive approach to musical training for aspiring artists.  American and European folk, jazz, and blues captivated this old soul at a young age and resulted in Bird playing with the band, Squirrel Nut Zippers. Eventually, he decided to form his own band called Andrew Bird’s Bowl of Fire, and went on to release two albums, Thrills (1998) and Oh! The Grandeur (1999) that showcased his unparalleled violin skills. It wasn’t until the third album that the band really gained traction and received raving reviews by the ever so fastidious Pitchfork. This album, The Swimming Hour (2001), featured a medley of different styles and was deemed their “jukebox album.” Here, Andrew Bird proved that he could excel in a variety of genres, even if the band had yet to garner a large fan base.

In 2003, Andrew Bird went on to pursue a solo career and debuted two albums, Weather Systems (2003) and The Mysterious Production of Eggs (2005). These albums were much more experimental than his previous work (naturally, the indie community rejoiced). He also began to employ his artful whistling into his songs and created a style that was unlike anything heard before. In 2002, Andrew Bird began to release a series of live albums, Fingerlings, that proved what a versatile and dynamic performer he was onstage.

Andrew Bird continued to make his mark in this burgeoning genre of classically infused indie-rock in 2006 when he released his third solo album, Armchair Apocrypha, which sold more than 100,000 copies. He made his first television appearance on the Late Show with Letterman, and performed the incredibly catchy song, Plasticities. It wasn’t long before he was performing for NPR, Vincent Moon’s Take Away Shows, and even for the popular children’s TV series, Jack’s Big Music Show. He was even invited to play for the musical podcast, From the Basement, which has featured big name artists like Radiohead and Fleet Foxes. Andrew Bird was becoming increasingly popular, and was called to produce the soundtrack for the successful indie drama, Norman. His final albums, Noble Beast (2009) Break it Yourself (2012), Hands of Glory (2012), and I Want to See Pulaski at Night (2013) finished cementing his presence in the indie/folk sphere, and proved that he was a talent to reckon with.

Andrew Bird’s music will leave you mesmerized, and hearing it live will surely only make it 10x better. Well, good thing you’ll be able to experience it NEXT SATURDAY FOR SPRING WEEKEND ’14! Get ready to rock out (while simultaneously improving your handle on language) to the most unconventionally delightful artist of this year’s lineup.

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