Out and About: Bowerbirds
  • TUESDAY, MARCH 27, 2012

  • Posted by: Dominick Sorrentino

Bowerbirds landed in Boston Saturday night in promotion of their new album, The Clearing, for what turned into a masterful performance. For starters, they graced the Paradise Rock Club with the elaborate chord progressions and melodic harmonies of "This Year," a song off their new album. Lead vocalist and guitarist Philip Moore plucked an old Harmony acoustic-electric with an earthy tone that sounded as though it had been stripped directly from the studio. As always, he was backed by the feathered accordion playing and vocals of Beth Tacular, who took the lead in the third song of the night, "In the Yard." The song, she said, was about her and Phil's two dogs, which means the two are in fact a couple- and a very politically conscious one. Patrons who hadn't registered to vote were encouraged to do so at the merch table after buying their vinyl and t-shirts.

The venue was flooded with the unmistakably simple melody of "House of Diamonds," a quarter of the way into the show. The audience cheered no louder for the song then they had for tracks off The Clearing, suggesting that Bowerbirds haven't lost momentum since the success of Upper Air. The band didn't neglect Hymns for a Darkhorse,their debut, playing "Hooves" about halfway into the show. For the most part, their new tracks sounded no less organic than earlier songs. The "full band" style they've adopted by incorporating lead electric guitar and extra backing vocals in their performance doesn't seem to distract from the band's leafy sound.

The only noticeable exception was the song everyone wanted to hear: "Northern Lights." Phil ever-so-slightly altered the airy chord progression in favor a more concrete rock sound which he pulled off by using bar chords. The minor amendment didn't stop the audience from joining in the opening lines, "I don't need from you, a waterfall..." But the performance that won the night was undoubtedly "In Our Talons," off Hymns. The video is awesome:



Moore's stunning vocals and moving lyrics came through the venue loud and clear, and the percussion, which had been flawlessly sophisticated throughout the night, shined until the gut-wrenching fall: "You're in our talons now, and we're never letting go." The band closed out their encore with a new song, "Overcome With Light," which is probably as generic as the Bowerbirds get with their otherwise intricate chord progressions. The audience knew the song perfectly well though, and many continued humming it post-exit.
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