Originally the brainchild of Adele Emmas, and having gone through some transitions, BIRD is now graced with a comfortable landing thanks to the addition of Sian Williams, creating this highly synchronized pairing. The duo, who have recently supported the likes of PINS and Tim Burgess, tonight find themselves in Manchester’s charming Castle Hotel, halfway through a 15-date headline tour.
It’s an eager crowd that greets the trio (the band are tonight blessed with additional drum support) onto the tiny stage, following able support from folk-singer Rachel Hillary. The music itself sounds excellent in the confines of the venue. Instruments are bathed in delay and reverb, and there is an echoing quality to the vocals. The relatively low amount of pedals on the stage floor is testament to the attention to detail Bird exhibit. They may not have the most advanced technology to play with, but they certainly know how to use it with expertise.
The relatively stripped-back nature of the composition means that responsibility leans heavily on the vocals. With an ethereal, lilting style in the voices of both women, there could have been the risk of pitch being too erratic, intensity too strong or weak – here however, is where Bird shine. Adele shows an obvious adeptness at pitching the vocals just so, and the lyrics are delivered with a cadence that matches the expansive musical background exactly. The harmonies between the two are a particular highlight, losing none of the sensitivity needed.
The sequencing of songs during the album-length set is also judged to perfection. There is a definitive sense of evolution from start to finish both in terms of pace and complexity of the songs. This is a rare feat even for seasoned bands, and is wholly refreshing coming from a band with a relatively short back catalogue. The canny placing of earlier work, written by Adele before the more collaborative work in the set list enhances this aforementioned evolutionary air.
With plans to work on a debut LP afoot, not to mention new equipment (a magnificent beast of a new Vox guitar amp being the latest addition), Bird will surely find themselves, ahem, taking flight.