Concert Recap: Underbirds (New York City, April 2013)

I don't know how many artists I would have skipped a Laurie Berkner talk for in order to see them perform live.  Probably not many.

But a chance to see the debut live performance of Underbirds, the superduo of Morgan Taylor and Todd McHatton?  At Symphony Space, whose family programming I've admired from afar for awhile?  While it was a tough call, I found myself catching the 3 train to the Upper West Side last Saturday morning, knowing I'd be heading back to BAM Fisher and Kindiefest later.

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Taylor is, of course, a fairly regular live performer with his Gustafer Yellowgold gigs, but McHatton doesn't play live much at all.  Add to that the fact that Taylor and McHatton had only met three times over the past year in putting together their debut album, and I was very curious as to how it would sound.

As it turns out, pretty nice.  As a duo, they had an easygoing feel.  I would not describe the show as being especially dynamic -- essentially it was a couple guys with guitars -- but as Taylor does at his Gustafer gigs, they used visuals to help hold the attention of the kids in the audience, though these visuals were far more abstract.

The project itself is a little odd in that it's not entirely kids music.  It's not *not* kids music, either -- but if it hadn't been part of the "kids" series (and the presence of many kids, including McHatton's daughter on their "cover" of McHatton's own massive kindie hit, "I Think I'm a Bunny"), a listener could have been forgiven for thinking the concert was a curious set of hook-friendly songs about nature and gentle love designed for adults.

The duo joked that it might be their last concert, though because their debut is fairly brief they had to play several new songs just to make the concert long enough (The new songs "Frame" and "So Close to You" both fall in both that "not entirely kids music"  and "awesome" categories.)  While I doubt that Underbirds will be the side project that eventually dwarfs their main gigs, it'd be nice to see the two of them continue to develop their partnership and play a few more shows.  It'd be a shame to let such a good friendship go to waste.

Underbirds - "Bright Leaf" (Live at Symphony Space) [YouTube]

[Disclosure: I was provided with complimentary admission to the show.]