The Bird and The Bee at Joe’s Pub
Date: Monday, February 26
Better than: A Christian Clown Training Video
Last night at Joe’s Pub, The Bird and The Bee’s queen had a breast issue. Vocalist Inara George had just finished up TB&TB’s photo-phobic tune, “I Hate Camera” — a bap-ba bap-ba bap-baing number that has her pleading “Don’t take my picture” — when she looked down into her ruffly dress’s treasure-trailing neckline and admitted, “Sometimes, I fear that my nipple will pop out.”
We’d considered that too. The weird thing: if George’s nipple had been exposed, it would’ve been as titillating as a raisin in the sun. That’s not to say the daughter of Little Feat’s Lowell George isn’t attractive — she is — in fact, she’s much more adorable in three-dimensions than she appears in two, hence the song about hating lens compression. But onstage, there’s something so very school-girlishly playful, so ridiculously twee, about George that she’s almost too innocent to be seductive. She’s sorta like one of those Chatty Cathy dolls that begs “Please take me with you” when you pull her string—except with her, sometimes the word “fucking” pops out.
Another weird thing: the early-evening audience. Learning about The Bird and The Bee from the blog nest gives you the false idea that you’ll be a similar species as your fellow spectators, even if they are of the Camera Obscura subset. Not so at a reservations-please place like Joe’s Pub. This one grey-haired guy in khakis kept leaning back, grunting “YE-AH!” as if we were watching a Jets game and every two songs were a first down. Nevermind that the rest of the people wedged in the front looked like Dunder-Mifflin execs.
George and her TB&TB collaborator Greg Kurstin opened up with “Spark.” Then a back-up band of singing-bumblebee twins, a neck-tied drummer, and a guitar-player/tambourine-shaker/omnichord-cradler followed. (“We like to call [them] ‘Hot Shit,'” George later chirped, er, buzzed.) George strapped on a bass and the all six of them breezed into the xylophone-windchime Moon Safari of “La La La.”
Meanwhile, the insects clapped. Kurstin hid behind a Nord Electro. George demanded some anonymous guy to be her “Fucking Boyfriend,” then complained when he refused in “I’m a Broken Heart.” And since TB&TB only have 10 songs recorded, they still had to resort to covers: Dionne Warwick’s “Do You Know the Way to San Jose?” (cough) and the Bee Gees’s “How Deep Is Your Love?” (cough cough). That last move? Cost them two-tenths of a point.
Set list: “Spark”/”La La La”/”The Birds and The Bees”/”I Hate Camera”/”Fucking Boyfriend”/”I’m a Broken Heart”/”Preparedness”/”Again & Again”/”My Fair Lady”/”Because”/”Do You Know the Way to San Jose?”/”Autumn Leaves”/”How Deep Is Your Love?”
Previous experience: The Bird and The Bee; Little Feat and Sailin’ Shoes
Personal bias: The Bee Gees suck.
Random detail: The “Fucking Boyfriend” in “Fucking Boyfriend” never became Inara George’s fucking boyfriend.
The Bird and The Bee, “Preparedness” [AM Music Blog]
The Bird and The Bee, “Fucking Boyfriend” [Faronheit]
The Bird and The Bee, “Fucking Boyfriend (Peaches Remix)” [Joe’s Pub]
The Bird and The Bee play Maxwell’s Thursday, March 1 and the Mercury Lounge on Friday, March 2.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on February 27, 2007