Andrew Bird, Jeff Parker | Fourth Presbyterian Church | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
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Andrew Bird, Jeff Parker 

When: Wed., Dec. 15, 8 p.m., Thu., Dec. 16, 8 p.m. and Fri., Dec. 17, 8 p.m. 2010
Price: Sold out
Violinist, vocalist, and whistler Andrew Bird doesn't need much introduction in his hometown, but his latest album, Useless Creatures (Fat Possum), might benefit from some explanation. It was originally released last year as a bonus disc with the deluxe edition of Noble Beast, and its self-deprecating title suggests it was never meant to stand alone. And yet it does, as an all-instrumental, rather experimental meander through the back roads of Bird's surrealist soundscapes. Percussionist Glenn Kotche (drummer for Wilco) and bassist Todd Sickafoose (best known as a member of Ani DiFranco's band) provide some touchstones and signposts, falling in line brilliantly on the mesmerizing "Carrion Suite" and staying out of the way on some of the more abstract pieces. At these relatively cozy church concerts, the hall will play a big role—the vaulted ceiling, towering stone arches, and ornate stained glass will complement Bird's somewhat anachronistic fussiness as well as the vaguely antique look of his flowerlike Specimen horn speakers. Jeff Parker opens all three shows, and they're all sold out. —Monica Kendrick

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