Andrew Bird | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Andrew Bird

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Musically gifted as he is, sometimes I wish Andrew Bird would just take it down a notch. He has a tendency to revel in his own cleverness--take "Scythian Empires," a tune from the brand-new Armchair Apocrypha (Fat Possum). "Their Halliburton attache cases are useless," he sings, "while Scotchgard Macintoshes shall be carbonized." Give me a break. Fortunately, his phrasing complements the other musical gears whirring behind his richly detailed tunes, so you can focus on the sound of his words rather than the meaning. Armchair is louder than anything he's done before, with guitar further nudging his old violin out of the way, but the lattice of interlocking riffs remains as elaborate as ever. Bird is touring with a band for the first time in several years--not a bad idea when you're playing venues as big as this one. Apostle of Hustle opens. a 8 PM, Riviera Theatre, 4746 N. Racine, 773-275-6800 or 312-559-1212, $21.50. A

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