The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

PHOTOS: Andrew Bird at Hideout

By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on Dec 17, 2008 5:05PM

We have to admit from the very top that we've never really been huge Andrew Bird fans. We've appreciated his nuanced compositions and have respected his technical expertise, but he's never really connected with us on an emotional level.

Well, now count us in as fans who do finally get it.

Rarely do we use words like "magical" and "transformative" to describe rock and/or roll shows, but his appearance at Hideout last Monday was both. Bird performed a set heavy on songs from his forthcoming new album, Noble Beast, and even though the audience was unfamiliar with most of the material his delivery had the crowd reacting as if the new songs were already long-time favorites. Bird's presence was magnetic and he kept the crowd on in his grasp even as he threw out an "aw shucks" moment wherein he admitted he had totally forgotten how the arrangement of one of his new tunes went. And we can't even begin to describe the chaos that ensued as he took a break from the set to perform the insanely catchy "Fitz and the Dizzy Spells" twice to be used as a music video .... augmented by Mucca Pazza and a motley cast of kings, queens, deep sea scuba divers, and a dancing banana.

Hi-res Flickr set