[Editor's Note: over the next few days, I'm reviewing movies shown at the KC Film Festival. The film fest runs from April 11-15. To learn more, visit kcfilmfest.org.]
I used to be a DJ at a college radio station.
Yes, it is something I cling to– I swear that I was cool once!– but it’s true. It’s also relevant, because Andrew Bird was HUGE at my radio station. In 2005, every DJ and their mother played “Fake Palindromes.” In 2007, every DJ and their mother played a song from Armchair Apocrypha. Well, I didn’t because I played a show (Breakfast for Beatlovers) where it would’ve been quite inappropriate to play Andrew Bird, but I did play my fair share of Dosh. Either way, I listened to quite a bit of his music and was thrilled to find out that this documentary would be screening in Kansas City.
Xan Aranda’s documentary follows Bird as he suffers (and yet, doesn’t) through a 165-stop tour with, literally, a fever the entire time. There are several live performances at Milwaukee’s Pabst Theatre highlighted throughout the film, as well as the tour’s finale at Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago. Bird is pretty well known for being private about his personal life, but it was lovely to see him create songs and improvise with ease. His disdain for the recording studio (“The microphone is the worst kind of audience”) and his desire to play live shows with welcomed flaws and without obsessive amounts of rehearsal was very refreshing. I must also say, Andrew Bird is really funny (you can pick that out by his lyrics) and I always have a weakness for men who happen to be teetering on the edge of a unibrow. The interviews are short but insightful, and the film is worth seeing based on the live performances alone. I’d definitely recommend the movie to anyone who loves music, and especially anyone who is a fan of Mr. Bird.
If you’re in KC and kicking yourself for missing Andrew Bird: Fever Year, you’re in luck!– catch the second screening at 8:15 on Saturday, April 14 at AMC Ward Parkway.