Grateful and Addictive: The Bird and The Bee take on the Marlin Room

The Bird and The Bee perform at the Marlin Room (Webster Hall) in celebration of their newest release.

The first words out of Inara George’s mouth when she hit the stage at the Marlin Room (Webster Hall) on Friday July 17 were “Thank you.”

I think that’s the sign of a good show.  And in reality, I almost didn’t get thanked.

You see, about 30 minutes before the Bird and The Bee show (or at least until their opener), I was still in my office.  I made the mistake of putting on Recreational Love, their newest album, while writing.  Well, writing turned into writing and dancing.  And 45 minutes later, I forgot what time it was.  I also forgot I needed to leave.   I never clicked next, and I also almost never clicked stop.

The ingredients of “Recreational Love” include the beats and elements of a lost Michael Jackson album (there’s even one iconic MJ yell on “Jenny”), a tablespoon of the vocal styling and electronic ideas of fellow Grey’s Anatomy soundtrack alum JEM, a healthy dose of 80’s inspired synth, and a splash of Daft Punk.  Layer in George’s vocals and fellow “Bee” Greg Kurstin’s keyboarding and production, and you’ve got a pretty addictive concoction.

Friday July 17 was a big day for The Bird and the Bee. Recreational Love came out, which was celebrated with a show at the Marlin Room.  Trainwreck, Amy Schumer’s feature film writing and acting debut, also came out, and features The Bid and the Bee track “Runaway.”  It was a big day for a band that has a big following here in New York.  Most people at the Marlin Room knew the words to the more popular Bird and the Bee songs.  With “Love Letter to Japan,” the crowd recognized the tune within the first hits of the keyboard, and boisterously joined in on the fun “OH OH OH’s.”  It was reminiscent of the moment in a bar when everyone joins in on the “Ba Ba Baaa’s” during “Sweet Caroline” (not that I’ve ever done that before).

Two simultaneous games occurred during the Bird and the Bee show.  I call the first game “Guess the Eras.”  Straight away, on both the album and at the show, multiple decades of musical influences are mixed up and presented next to each other.  First, the Marlin room featured a disco ball alongside 90’s pop on the speakers.  Then the opening song, hit tune “Polite Dance Song,” entered with timed movements, claps, and harmonies, invoking a 60’s era female motown group.  George and her female bandmates even wore matching dresses.  During the whole evening, original tunes with 90’s like beats and arrangements were sandwiched between covers of Hall and Oates.

The second game is called “Meet Inara.”  George worked the crowd even though she didn’t need to.  During songs from “Recreational Love,” she leaned and reached forward gracefully towards the audience, almost touching the faces of those at the front of the stage.  She was grateful with multiple “Thank you’s” emitted between her songs.  She shared personal stories, like how she hoped men in New York were checking her out or how one of her tunes shared her fantasy of seducing a younger man.  She she let everyone know that she was “having so much fun.”

And while the fun of the show had to end (it is Webster Hall after all), I knew that the fun of Recreational Love was still potent and ready for me to dive back into.

So, join me.  Go turn on Recreational Love, and lose track of time.

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