Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Bird Streets at The Hotel Café, 1-29-19 Concert Review

Bird Streets performing "Carry Me"
Last August, Bird Streets released their self-titled debut album, an excellent disc featuring a wonderful pop sound and some great vocals. That same month they did a full-band performance at The Federal Bar in North Hollywood, playing all eleven tracks from the album. Last night I saw a markedly different performance from Bird Streets at The Hotel Café. While the material they performed was largely the same, the approach and the sound were unlike what I had experienced earlier. And, to my ears, this approach was even better. They performed as a duo, with John Brodeur on acoustic guitar and Jason Falkner on upright piano and electric guitar.

At 8 p.m. (artists at this venue always begin promptly), John Brodeur took the stage and began the show solo, opening with “Direction,” one of my favorite tracks from the album. It was a treat to hear a solo acoustic rendition of this one, and it worked remarkably well in that setting. That was followed by a song not from the Bird Streets release, but from John Brodeur’s Tiger Pop Ten, “Masterpiece,” which he also performed solo. (This song was also included on The Suggestions’ Mix Tape.)  “Masterpiece” was the only selection of the evening to be from an album other than the Bird Streets disc, and after it John played “Stop To Breathe.” He introduced it as another ballad. “I thought we’d get into some ballads tonight,” he told the crowd. “Stop To Breathe” was just as powerful and beautiful as an acoustic song as it is on the album. “Is there any way to take the high road when down is where it leads?

After “Stop To Breathe,” Jason Falkner joined John on stage, and John remarked that this was the first time they’d performed as a duo. Jason sat at the upright piano, and they played “Thanks For Calling,” a completely enjoyable and fun song. It was during this song that I came to the conclusion that I should have recorded the show. This was certainly something special. They followed that with “Bullets,” after which John jokingly asked Jason, “Do you want to do another one?” It became a running joke during their set. After “Bullets,” they performed a fantastic rendition of “Heal,” the blending of their voices sounding absolutely wonderful, one of many highlights of their set. Then, after “Pretty Bones,” Jason switched from piano to electric guitar, and they played “Betting On The Sun.” Jason delivered some excellent stuff during his lead part, getting some appreciative applause from the audience. The crowd at The Hotel Café is not always attentive (a drawback of the venue), and there was certainly some chatter toward the back of the room at the beginning of the set, but by the fourth or fifth song everyone was focused on the music. Bird Streets concluded the set with the last track from the album, “Until The Crown,” and then the first track, “Carry Me.” The show ended at 8:43 p.m. There was no encore.

Set List
  1. Direction
  2. Masterpiece
  3. Stop To Breathe
  4. Thanks For Calling
  5. Bullets
  6. Heal
  7. Pretty Bones
  8. Betting On The Sun
  9. Until The Crown
  10. Carry Me
Here are a few photos from the show:

"Thanks For Calling"
"Betting On The Sun"
"Betting On The Sun"
"Carry Me"

The Hotel Café is located at 1623 1/2 N. Cahuenga Blvd. in Los Angeles, California.

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