If Andrew Bird were to build a nest, it would be made from deep, richly colored wood and would be lined with a soft, warm interior. Light would shine in through a few holes and gently worn rugs would cover the floor. He would also build it entirely on his own, carefully and deliberately — kind of like how he constructs his elaborate music.
For almost two hours Monday night at the Paramount, a nearly sold-out audience was invited to perch on the doorstep of Bird’s cozy little world.
The Paramount’s grandiose stage was set with towers and strings of lights for Bird’s performance, and the sock monkey he always brings with him sat in front of two spinning record horns. Although Bird is thin in stature, he more than filled the stage all on his own for the first three songs of his set.
Using his violin, a guitar, a xylophone, a series of pedals and his signature whistle, the audience watched Bird construct songs that build, piece by piece, all by himself at center stage.
After three songs, Bird’s band, the Hands of Glory, joined him on stage for the duration of the performance. The group played a blend of originals and covers — including several by The Handsome Family and one by Townes Van Zandt.
Although Bird’s solo work is generally something resembling a down to earth folk sound, his full-band work with the Hands of Glory is much more rambunctious and lively. This is the most fun we’ve seen Bird have with his music so far, and it showed in his energetic performance.
Bird and the Hands of Glory closed the set with The Handsome Family’s “Don’t Be Scared,” which appears on his latest release, Things Are Really Great Here, Sort Of…. The music faded out of the theater, the lights came back on in the audience, and a crowd of fans filed out slowly — not quite ready to leave the warm, cozy nest Bird and the rest of his flock created for us.