Music » Critics' Picks

Andrew Bird

Friday, June 3; Off Broadway (3509 Lemp Avenue)

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If you only succumb to his absinthe-at- 3-a.m. voice or the soft hallucinations of his chamber folk (and who could blame you), you'll miss Andrew Bird's deepest seduction. Call it politics or call it prophecy, but between the fine sonic seams of The Mysterious Production of Eggs (his sixth studio album), Bird offers the year's most scathing indictment of rationalist, corporate culture ("Think I'm going to sack the whole board of trustees.....They're acting on vagaries with their violent proclivities") and the conformism that kills creativity or simply kills ("Put your backpack on your shoulder/Be a good little soldier"). In his songs, children are diagnosed and disciplined, spirit is bought and sold in bulk, and missiles wait in silos beneath skies filled with ones and zeroes. The images amount to the question all poets ask: Why are we alive? Bird answers: to imagine, to rebel and to whistle. His Brechtian lyricism streams like swallows from a nineteenth-century barn in northern Illinois -- understandabe, as that's where Bird tinkers and toys with the vulnerable melodies of German Lieder and timeless chanson and the inexhaustible variations of violin arpeggios and pizzicatos. He's artsy as the Left Bank, radical as the spring of '68 and, even alone on a stage, quite astonishing.

Doors open at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $10. Call 314-773-3363 for more information.

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