Review: It’s Jade Bird’s World – We’re Just Living In It

Jade Bird seems to stand triumphant in the face of heartbreak. Silhouetted by the no-frills stage and velvet curtains of the Miracle Theatre, Bird begins her show with the melancholic, Americana-pop “Ruins,” musing about a tumultuous relationship. The theme hits home for Bird, as she jokes to the audience about her recently called-off engagement. Coming off the heels of this failed engagement and embarking on a cross-country tour, Jade Bird, like many musicians transforms her heartbreak into something beautiful. 

Yet, reducing Bird to yet another scorned songstress—a theme that’s thrust upon any female singer who writes about a failed relationship—would be unfair. With the coolness of a 70s Stevie Nicks, the friendliness of your next-door neighbor, the wit of a stand-up comedian, and the voice of a Grace Slick/PJ Harvey love child, Bird is a musical force to be reckoned with. She invites the audience into her wonderful world of 70s-inspired fashion, Americana and pop music, and British wit.

After “Ruins,” Bird quickly changes pace, beginning the upbeat and fiery “Uh Huh.” This quick pivot from the vulnerable to the upbeat is a pattern throughout her set, yet one that doesn’t seem to grow old. After all, Bird is difficult to put in a box—after all, who would’ve expected a London-based artist to have a voice that belongs in an Americana music festival? Perhaps accordingly, she attracts a diverse audience to the Miracle Theater: a steadfast mix of baby boomers and vibrant 20-somethings.

Despite the theater setting, Bird’s set doesn’t rely on any theatrics. She performs by herself for the entire set—woman and acoustic guitar—minus a duet with opener Mary Moore. But, this sort of setting bodes well for Bird. Her powerful voice and poetically crafted lyrics stand well enough on their own, and it seems that this kind of intimate venue is one in which she thrives. She takes her time to talk to the audience, introducing songs as well as joking about wishing she had a crystal ball. It’s hard to imagine a world in which this music thing doesn’t “work out” for Bird, but if it doesn’t, she might need to consider auditioning for SNL.

“I’m fiery, but WOW!” she quips at one point when talking about the excessive arguing that eventually led to her breaking up with her fiance. 

Bird wears her emotions on her sleeves, with her performance of the sorrowful “Burn the Hard Drive” taking a somehow slower, more melancholic tinge. “Side Effects,” a song about losing oneself in enamored love, seems angrier, each lyric stressed.

A clear highlight of the show was Bird’s cover of Son House’s “Grinnin in your face.” She leads the audience with a toe-tapping, hand-clapping rendition of the classic Blues song with her powerful vocals echoing throughout the theater, even as she steps away from the mic.

Bird also teased several songs from her upcoming album. Crowing like a wronged Stevie Nicks about Lindsay Buckingham, “Jet Black” is an epic heartbreak anthem featuring lyrical zingers like “I’m just kinda happy you’re an unhappy man.” She also sang the unreleased ballad “Stick Around,” with knife-in-your-gut lyrics like “If you ever really loved me/why was it so hard to stick around.”

She finished the show with an encore, spurred by the standing ovation – particularly impressive for an audience that had been comfortably sitting down in the Miracle Theatre’s lush velvet set. 

Bird finished her encore set with the radiant, “Love Has All Been Done Before.” Perhaps love is something that has been done before, but what Bird is doing for music certainly hasn’t.


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