The Bird and the Bee w/ Wendy Wang and Whitney Lyman
Neumos, Seattle, WA
I purposefully didn’t listen to a single song from The Bird And The Bee before their stop at Capitol Hill hot spot Neumos this week. I had never heard of them, but was sent to the show under the guises of “I think you’ll like it.” What an understatement. Fronted by vocalist Inara George, The Bird And The Bee are quite possibly one of the most sophisticated and endearing bands I’ve seen in a long time. In the most off-kilter, shimmering way possible.
Missing multi-instrumentalist – and half the standard band duo – Greg Kurstin, from this tour, George was joined on stage by Alex Lilly, Wendy Wang, and Samantha Sidley. They were all dressed in matching white tank dresses topped with flowing tie-dyed shifts (George’s covered with scrawling handwriting) and finished with four perfectly clean pairs of white Converse hi-tops. And their coordinated dance moves throughout the show made this synchrony even more effective. The four-part harmonies offered a densely layered take on the band’s deceptively simple pop songs, showing off the line that TBATB walks between bubbly and brilliant.
They kicked off the set with the party-starting “Polite Dance Song,” its lyrical demands of “If you know what’s good for you/You’ll wanna shake it like you just don’t care” that wind up with “But I wanna see your naughty bit.” Immediately the crowd was on board, screaming with excitement. That screaming and singing along happened with every song, while breaks were filled with joking banter. There’s an ongoing theme of not spilling the tiny plastic wine cup on stage, as George shuffles all of her equipment, making room to move across the stage.
The set list was a perfect balance of TBATB’s latest release – their first original album in six years – Recreational Love, older favorites and two of their magical “reinterpretations” from 2010’s Interpreting the Masters Volume 1: A Tribute to Daryl Hall and John Oates. I mean, they made an entire Hall and Oates tribute album? How can I not fall in love? Between the 80’s R&B-tinged sparkle and the indie-pop punch, the intricately constructed melodies and perfectly executed live show were a zero-complaint ticket.
Wendy Wang played a short set – accompanied by Alex Lilly for a tune or two – mid lineup. There was a song about succulents, and her sweet solo work was a calming segue.
Local powerhouse singer-songwriter Whitney Lyman opened the night with a six-song set, making a noticeable impression on many in the crowd. Backed by a three-piece band, Lyman’s voice is a driving force. When she growls she’s sweet as pie, but her big notes howl like the wind.
The Bird And The Bee Set List
Polite Dance Song
Will You Dance?
Again & Again
Young And Dumb
Please Take Me Home
I Can’t Go For That
Love Letter To Japan
Review by Stephanie Dore
Photos by Arel Watson
The Bird and the Bee, Wendy Wang, and Whitney Lyman