Andrew Bird, St. Vincent
Music Farm
Oct. 12

Let’s just go ahead and admit it. “This feels like some kind of rock ‘n’ roll show!” were not words we expected out of Andrew Bird’s mouth. It was funny, of course, but it was no joke. He came to rock, and he obviously had a great time doing it.

As a performer, the man is talented beyond belief. He switches between his violin and guitar constantly. His singing, violin playing, and whistling are as apt to evoke raw emotion as they are quiet beauty.

But, until Monday night, no one would have gone around calling him a rock star.

Opening act St. Vincent had nearly as much local buzz going into the show. The band set the full-on-rock tone, enveloping lead singer Annie Clark’s songs in layers of distortion and noisy squall. Clark’s shredding guitar tone was a joy to hear on such highlights as set-closer “Your Lips Are Red,” especially when accented by the charged bleats of saxophone and violin loops.

Inspired by St. Vincent’s ferocious sets on this tour, Bird kicked things up a notch. He and longtime drummer/collaborator Martin Dosh ensured that his full-band sound translated effectively in a rock club atmosphere.

After a brief instrumental intro, Bird and Co. launched into a fast-paced version of “Fiery Crash,” the lead-off track from his 2007 album Armchair Apocrypha. From there, the 75-minute set flowed confidently through selections from Apocrypha and his two other most recent albums (Noble Beast and Andrew Bird & The Mysterious Production of Eggs), but it never once let up on the intensity and passion displayed from the start.

“Fitzy and the Dizzyspells” and “Fake Palindromes” rocked harder than expected, while slower tunes like “Not a Robot, But a Ghost” featured more textured arrangements.

The most memorable highlight of the night came with the encore of “Scythian Empires,” as the whole St. Vincent band came out to contribute its special brand of distorted bombast.