The night was somber, in mood and in lighting. The enchanting harmonics of Bowerbirds Beth Tacular’s voice soothing the rugged tenor of her counterpart- and real-life love- Phillip Moore was as beguiling as it was symphonic.
At the beginning of their set, following the energetic set of the opening band, Dry The River, there was a sense of disjointedness. The first few songs were hurried; Beth switching from keyboard to accordion as if it was a game of “Capture the Flag.” Phil sang in his own timing as the percussion rushed the songs into an abrupt ending.
Eventually, after realizing how loyal and forgiving the fans were all five members of Bowerbirds loosened up and began to sing and play in synchronic bliss. Faces relaxed, and calm and eyes slightly closed, it was obvious that the band had an emotional tie with each song; a longing to express through music their lives stories… the strife, struggles and triumphs (each of which they experienced much of throughout their career as touring musicians.)
They announced the release of their latest record, The Clearing, at least a half a dozen times through out the set as if to forewarn the audience that they may not recognize the sound- but to assure them they will love it, and that they did.
It was not the classic title track “Northern Lights” off their debut album Upper Air in 2007 that riled up the crowd, but a simple and elegant song entitled “Stitch the Hem” from Dead Oceans Records February release of The Clearing that drew in the listeners.
Phil, as lead vocalist and guitarist, did not say much between songs. He mentioned that he was from Iowa, begrudgingly though as some audience members cheered while others empathized with him.
Beth stopped in between breaths to gush over the tater tots the band had discovered while on the road.
“I have not been happy playing a show every night for months straight, but tonight- here in Chicago– I am happy.” Phil said with sincerity. This sentiment gained much appreciation and pride from audience members. Proud to be Midwestern and perhaps in someway play a part in a near impeccable set.