Andrew Bird & the Hands of Glory, Daniel Knox | Chicago Theatre | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
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Andrew Bird

Andrew Bird

Andrew Bird & the Hands of Glory, Daniel Knox All Ages Early Warnings (Music) Member Picks Recommended Soundboard

When: Sat., Aug. 16, 8 p.m. 2014
Price: $39.50-$49.50
I was underwhelmed when I first heard Things Are Really Great Here, Sort Of . . . , Andrew Bird’s recent self-released collection of Handsome Family covers. The original songs have burned themselves into my cortex, so that they feel inseparable from Brett Sparks’s irresistibly lugubrious singing; he imparts a stern sobriety to the witty, morbid lyrics of his wife and bandmate, Rennie. By comparison Bird’s voice feels thin enough to blow away on the wind, making his versions feel almost ethereal. But once I got over the fact that Bird isn’t Brett Sparks, I found Things Are Really Great Here to be the most charming thing he’s done since 2007’s Armchair Apocrypha. Working with his current live band, the Hands of Glory, which includes fantastic country-soul singer Tift Merritt and veteran pedal-steel player Eric Heywood, the violinist brings an appealing directness to the performances. Bird will play a bunch of Handsome Family tunes at this concert (and anyone bringing that band new fans is doing something right), but the bulk of the set list will come from his own considerable discography. For more on Bird, see his Artist on Artist conversation with Brett and Rennie Sparks. —Peter Margasak
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