Bird has a degree in violin performance, and is so bloody good at whistling that it’s listed under his “instruments” on Wikipedia. As a matter of fact, he’s probably one of the most naturally talented musicians we’ve seen on stage, effortlessly (and often simultaneously) creating loops, making his violin do all sorts of exciting things, and gently carrying impressive melodies with an impeccable singing voice.
Over the years his songwriting has covered a good proportion of the sorts of genres we favour, from the swing-influenced ‘Oh! The Grandeur’ to a more mainstream indie-folk (though no less interesting) ‘The Swimming Hour’. You won’t find yourself singing along to many of his songs, but you’ll find yourself loving them, and this was especially apparent in his live performance; we didn’t leave with one particular melody looping its way through our journey home, but with a whole new handful of favourites.
On stage Bird is charming but professional, and performs with such confidence that you immediately relax into enjoying the show, rather than concentrating on paying attention. The new tracks, from Hands of Glory, were warmly understated and enchanting, but it was a dreamy version of ‘Danse Carribe’ and a rousing outing for ‘Fitz and the Dizzy Spells’ which stuck out from the set for us. But there’s no need to pick a favourite, really, because he’s no one-hit wonder. He’s just a wonder.