Review: Golden Birds :: Pete’s Candy Store 12.29.07

From the first time they played the Mission Creek Festival, opening for and upstaging Tapes ‘n Tapes back in 2006, Golden Birds have been staff favorites. Despite the group’s ever-shifting line-up one thing remains constant: Web McBride. Wrapping poignant lyrics around a herky jerky Talking Heads guitar style, McBride is nothing short of a phenomenon, certainly one of his generation’s brightest and most interesting songwriters. Like Dave Longstreth of Dirty Projectors (who McBride befriended in college) McBride harbors an intense, unwavering artistic vision that is his alone. We caught up with him at a solo Golden Birds performance at Pete’s Candy Store in Brooklyn right before New Year’s Eve.

Pete’s Candy Store, which stretches out like the narrow tunnel of a subway car, redefines intimacy. We squeezed into tiny chairs, our shoulders rubbing against our neighbors’ arms. The room was warm and dark and McBride took the stage with his endearing and geeky confidence. He levied a set that focused on newer material, a couple of classics, and a cover of half of Jason Morphew’s obscure cassette-only album, Holding Merle Haggard (1995). McBride talked in earnest of a new album he’s writing, a concept piece that takes place in Richmond, Virginia featuring a main character with multiple identities, a woman named Dorothy possibly from the land of Oz, and clever interpolations of snippets from the solo work of John Lindebaum. Of the three new songs — all of which were striking — “Furnace” was the best. It is a sprawling achievement with essay-length lyrics and complex guitar structures coming off with the wit and hypnotism of Joanna Newsom’s “Emily” (although it was more like five minutes rather than ten).

McBride played his signature song, “Sioux Falls South Dakota”, almost a burden as there’s always someone at a show, in this case me, demanding him to play it. But he pulled it off with a smile, the lilting melodies and tales of travel and love, enrapturing both veteran and virgin listeners in the audience. The set ended with “Ambien Waves” a short but effective ditty about Barry Bonds which will appear on the next Golden Birds album (the one coming out before the concept album.) It’s tough to do McBride and his Golden Birds project justice in words — the music is charming, intelligent, and immediately accessible — so if he returns to this year’s Mission Creek Festival, be sure to pencil him into your schedule.

Download: Golden Birds - Andre the Giant and Cool “Disco” Dan Take on the Slave Trade [from Carrier]

Download: Golden Birds - Sioux Falls South Dakota [from Transamerica]

1 Response to “Review: Golden Birds :: Pete’s Candy Store 12.29.07”

  1. 1 Mary

    I found your blog by accident but am glad I did

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