Two very darling soft-spoken musical artists occupied the Paramount stage in Seattle on April 9. Andrew Bird and Laura Marling delighted the crowd with their sets, with Marling opening for Bird.
All audience members felt the anticipation of the concert as they waited for it to commence. When the house lights dimmed and the stage lights came up, gasps and enthusiastic applause emerged from the crowd.
British folk artist Laura Marling timidly sauntered on stage and uttered a quaint hello to the crowd before beginning her songs. Marling’s rich and textured voice received the full attention of the audience. After playing a couple of songs, Marling addressed the audience.
“I don’t have a lot of stage banter, but you do have really good coffee. I’ve had maybe like fourteen coffees today,” she said shyly.
Marling was unapologetic about the mistakes she made during her set, pausing at one point to restart so the crowd could hear the most perfect version of the song. At one point during the evening she introduced one the covers she was going to do as an Allman Brothers song.
“I’m incredibly professional, as well…. Does anyone know the first line of the song?” said Marling, who began singing after she received an answer.
Marling’s lovely, deep songs captivated the crowd. She ended after a short set, and departed from the stage with a timid farewell.
After Marling, the main attraction, Andrew Bird, took the stage. Bird entered the stage alone and began to play on his violin, looping lovely melodies over and over to create his opening song. During his first song, Bird cued up his signature spinning gramophones, next to which his usual sock monkey sat.
After the first song, Bird addressed the crowd and explained his reasoning for choosing the next song.
“I’m feeling a little stressed out, so I’m playing this next song more for my benefit than for yours,” said Bird.
After his introduction, Bird began playing “Why” and included some highly entertaining talk-singing in between his lyrics.
Bird, throughout every song he and his band performed, improvised and adapted each song to make the concert experience all the more unique. No song sounded exactly the same as the studio recording. But instead of disappointing, it could even be proposed that they sounded better.
During the concert there were mild speaker issues, but Bird worked with the crowd and the tech crew of the Paramount to ensure an ideal concert experience.
“I’m glad we all worked that out together,” said Bird.
A particularly endearing and memory conjuring performance was given by Bird when he played the song “It’s Not Easy Being Green,” calling to mind the childhood companion of many, Kermit the frog. After the song an audience member called out to Bird.
“I feel like I’m in third grade again,” said the audience member.
“We’re all in third grade tonight,” said Bird, responding in a coy tone.
Each song Bird and his band played brought out grand cheers and applause from the crowd, and the audience stood and waited several minutes for Bird to return to the stage for an encore. Afterwards, Bird exited with a demure thanks and a bow.
Overall, Bird was extremely charming and very talented at creating an amazing concert experience. Bird’s movement, commentary and staging all helped make the experience even more unique and entertaining.
The crowd at the Paramount was instantly charmed by both Marling and Bird. Their understated natures had the audience gladly eating out of the palms of their guitar-playing hands.