Jade Bird’s first US headlining run came to a close on Sunday at Lincoln Hall, with support coming from Field Report’s Christopher Porterfield. Porterfield took the stage this tour sans his usual bandmates, delivering rare stripped down, acoustic versions of songs that Field Report fans have become familiar with as their fully produced studio versions. “Jade brought me along for the banter and awkward laughter,” Porterfield joked between songs, but as he captivated the room with just his voice and his gentle guitar strumming, it was clear that he also had the impeccable songwriting skills and the musicianship to back up his witty showmanship. Throughout his hour long set that was filled with songs from Field Report’s latest album and even one he’d just written on the road, the audience showed their appreciation with their attentiveness and loud applause, and Porterfield made sure to thank them. “It’s really nice to be doing this with one another instead of at one another,” he said. While most of Porterfield’s talking points between songs remained lighthearted—like his story about hearing his song in Starbucks during one of his drives on this tour and the story of his participation in a John Prine tribute at Eaux Claires Festival— he made sure to use his platform for the better and encouraged everyone to vote and to be kind to each other before he left the stage. “Let’s encourage each other and be kind to each other.”
The positive vibes and friendly tone that Porterfield had set up during his performance lingered through the remainder of the night. Jade Bird first cut her teeth playing solo sets or playing support slots in The States, but on Sunday night, a packed house anxiously awaited her first go as the main act. Earlier in the day, Bird had played a solo in-store performance at American Eagle in the suburb of Oak Brook, and she began the show that evening on her own again for “What Am I Here For,” before inviting her band onstage. The delicate opening song had the immediately crowd hooked, but Bird really kept everyone engaged by easing them all in and gradually picking up the pace; throughout the night the audience remained on their toes as Bird switched between more mellow, sombre songs to bellowing, upbeat tunes. Right around the half way mark of the set, Bird’s bandmates left the stage again for her to perform a couple of songs on her own at the piano, including a cover of Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)” and the very sombre “If I Die.” Bird juxtaposed that mood by immediately following up the latter with her latest single “Uh Huh,” a cheeky anthemic song that really showcases the power behind Bird’s vocals. The rest of the set included a couple of new, unreleased songs and covers by The Bangles and Johnny Cash, highlighting the wide array of influences she pulls from. At this early stage in her career (Bird hasn’t even released her debut album yet), Bird demonstrates remarkable writing talent and incredible vocal control, allowing her to give her songs a full spectrum of dynamics; From her stunning soft vocals to her wailing growls, Jade Bird is a force to be reckoned with.
If you missed out on this last tour, stay tuned for new music from Jade Bird coming soon, and check out our photo gallery from the Chicago show.