The Bird and the Bee @ Masonic Lodge 5/12
May 12 marked my first time at the Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles. Its grandiose gothic architecture, vaulted ceilings and beautiful old-world chandeliers provided the perfect atmosphere for a performance by the soft-spoken bird (Inara George) and the multi-instrumentalist worker bee (Greg Kurstin).
Filled with freshman energy, eager fans soon streamed in to catch the opening set from Alex Lilly. The singer unwrapped the night with ease, armed with both anthemic harmonies and a distinctly otherworldly sensibility. Once the indomitable The Bird and the Bee and their accompanying band hit the stage, I experienced a case of déjà vu as I surveyed the familiar faces of each player, which included opener Alex Lilly and her back up singers now backing up the Bird.
The set began with “Polite Dance Song,” a single off their 2007 EP 'Please Clap Your Hands' and signature to their fans. Inara and Greg continued a take the audience on a journey that spanned their entire discography and even included selects off their upcoming LP 'Recreational Love’ - “Young & Dumb” being my personal favorite. From there, they segued into highlights from 'Interpreting the Masters Volume 1: A Tribute to Daryl Hall and John Oates' such as "I Can't Go For That" and "Sara Smile,” and through crowd favorites like “Love Letter To Japan” off 2009s ‘Ray Guns Are Not Just the Future’ and the playful “Fucking Boyfriend” off their 2007 self-titled debut LP.
Noted for their vintage style and for being unusually character-driven, The Bird and the Bee experience is similar to that of watching a Wes Anderson film. With their ever-present carriage of cool, one could easily imagine snap-zooms on the singers synchronized hand claps and stop-motion transitions to Inara's rhythmic sway. It's these kind of stylistic choices that give both a timeless and highly distinctive self-contained world quality.
With the turning of each song, Inara held the powerful voice fans have become familiar with, no matter the change in lights, Greg’s elite production or sound that followed. The Bird and the Bee is surely the highlight of any evening, but on this night they were not only the centerpiece, the whole evening wrapped around them.
Polite Dance Song Again & Again La La La My Love Will You Dance? Recreational Love Please Take Me Home Young & Dumb I Cant Go for That Sara Smile Man Witch Love Letter To Japan Fucking Boyfriend How Deep Is Your Love