I won’t pretend to understand how all the members of local super-group, Birdy Bardot, are interrelated. It seems that every San Diego musician of note is in at least 3 bands and this group has collected many of them together. I do know that the creative duo in the group are Birdy Bardot, who also sings for of my favorite San Diego bands, The New Kinetics; and the indefatigable Al Howard, who must be in at least 27 bands including: The Heavy Guilt, Midnight Pine, Dani Bell & the Tarantist, Rebecca Jade & the Cold Fact, Cardinal Moon and Black Sands.
I have wanted to catch Birdy Bardot ever since I read a great feature on them late last year in CityBeat magazine (check it out here). It was only after reading that article that I went to my first New Kinetics shows and I was curious to how the same singer would front both the frenetic garage rock of NK and the retro/psychedelic influence promised in the CityBeat piece.
It turns out that Ms. Bardot handles both styles with ease and though there is not a lot of overlap in sound, she does seem to lose herself in the songs in both configurations. Where the New Kinetics are all about raw, relentless energy, Birdy Bardot is a much more restrained affair. Though the group does let go and rock out, like on the track “Hearts and Smoke”, it’s really just enough to provide a contrast to the soulful, torchy atmosphere created throughout the rest of the set.
The 7 pc band (which is a lot of players on a pretty small stage) creates a sound and mood on stage that mixes a lot of influences without ever camping out in any one style. There’s touches of the blues, hazy psychedelia, retro-60′s pop and even some alt-country. Mixed together, Birdy Bardot – both the band and the singer – put on a fantastic show and will clearly be a mainstay of the resurgent San Diego music scene, and hopefully can find a way to break out and receive more national, and even international, attention.
Check out Birdy Bardot and her label-mates at Redwoods Music/Birdy Bardot
Here’s my video of “Candlelight Vigils” from that night.