Bowl of Fire, live at the Citi-Lounge, Toledo OH, 6/18/99

Review by Danny Manco, First posted 6/20/99 to The Landing

Yes indeed, I did attend the Bowl of Fire show in Toledo Friday night, and 
had a fine time of it.   I was a little taken aback at how few people were at 
the bar (the Citi-Lounge) -- there seemed to be at most a handful of folks 
who had come with any foreknowledge of who Andrew Bird is;  most were just 
coming in off the street -- and I suspect that the relatively low turnout had 
a somewhat discouraging effect on the bands (especially the opening band, the 
Handsome Family, which was full of venom toward those people in the bar not 
really paying them any attention).  Andrew Bird, too, once he got on stage, 
seemed a little dismissive of the whole thing, but perhaps that's just his 
usual stage presence.  I don't know.

Anyhow, I was really impressed with the band's musicianship and ability to 
put on an exciting show.  My kudos especially go out to drummer Kevin 
O'Donnell, who really possessed and expressed enthusiasm.

Let's see...from the "Thrills" album they performed, as I recollect, only 
"Eugene" and "Cock o' the Walk" (complete with washboard), which is my 
favorite Andrew Bird performance, so I was pleased.  They also did a cover of 
"After You've Gone," which is on Katharine's new album, which may have been 
their direct source, although maybe they were attracted to the song 
independently of Katharine.  I was in any event happy to discover that most 
of the songs which they did which I did not recognize, and which I presume 
are on the upcoming "Oh! The Grandeur," dispensed with that feature which I 
most disliked about "Thrills": the sort of brooding, overbearing, 
melodramatic, dare I say pretentious, atmosphere.  The majority of the songs 
they performed Friday night were a little more upbeat, prettier, friendlier.  
Nothing wrong with unhappy music -- God knows I love it -- just not when it's 
so gosh darn, I don't know, theatrical.

After the Bowl of Fire set (which seemed really short, an hour perhaps) I 
shook hands with the members of the band and lamely told them I really 
enjoyed the show.  I also purchased a copy of "Music of Hair" and "Heretic 
Blues," but I really haven't had an opportunity to listen to and pass 
judgment on them.

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