Skip to content Skip to footer

Live Review: Jade Bird w/ Mary Moore @ The Miracle Theatre — 4/20/24

In 2018, I saw Waxahatchee at the Miracle Theatre. Later this year, she’ll be playing at the exponentially larger Wolf Trap. I expect Jade Bird, who recently played The Miracle Theatre on her Opening the Songbook tour, to follow the same path. She’s a special talent.

Like Waxahatchee, Bird has opened for Jason Isbell. She did so at Merriweather Post Pavilion, in 2019 when he played there with Father John Misty. Sadly, I was unable to get there in time to see her set, and I’ve been hoping to catch her live ever since. She didn’t disappoint on Saturday. She had great songs, tons of charisma, and an infectious energy.

Though she’s British — she was born in the small town of Hexham, Northumberland — Bird’s music is heavily influenced by Americana and folk music. She described herself as a kid as “weird,” into Johnny Cash when her family and peers were into rave music. In addition to Isbell, Brandi Carlile and Sheryl Crow have embraced Jade’s music and taken her under their wing. I don’t hear a lot of twang in her playing, but a lot of what would’ve just been called rock n’ roll in the past is now included in the big tent of Americana. That community has embraced her; she was nominated for the Emerging Artist award at the 2019 Americana Music Awards.

As Jade told the audience at The Miracle Theatre on April 20, she was born when her mother was only 19, and her parents divorced shortly thereafter. Both sets of grandparents, she added, were also divorced, so “there’s not much hope for me.” She described herself as “fiery,” saying, “If you’ve seen me before, you know I don’t go gently or quietly.” At one point, she threw back her heard and laughed like the villain in a Bond movie, and I wasn’t sure if I was more terrified or in love with her.

Bird opened the set with “Ruins.” Introducing “Uh-Huh,” she talked about touring with her ex-fiance, a situation that led to a lot of arguing. She told the audience that she wrote “Good At It” on the road, when she realized “I might not be the one for him.” Jade described “C’Est La Vie” as “me at my most forgiving, so get ready.”

Watch the official music video for “Uh Huh” by Jade Bird on YouTube:

Jade’s last full-length LP, A Different Kind of Light, came out in 2021. She promised the audience there’s another on the way fairly soon, and “Stick Around” is the lead track. In the meantime, she has an EP coming, Burn The Hard Drive. She explained that the title track is a break-up song she wrote before she actually broke up, “a bit of foreshadowing.” She wrote “Cathedral” when she was 18 about “jilting someone at the alter.”

The set continued with the first cover of the evening, Son House’s “Grinning’ in Your Face,” followed by the title cut of her debut EP, Something American. Later in the evening evening, she dedicated a cover Stevie Nick’s “Edge of Seventeen,” to the ladies; she also played Big Star’s “Thirteen.” After the Nicks cover, opening act Mary Moore joined Bird on stage for a duet on “COMPLEX.”

The duet was followed by “Jet Black,” then “Side Effects,” a song about “running away.” Before playing “Now Is The Time,” she said, “If you date a musician, you’re gonna get a few songs written about you.” (The same is true of us prose writers. I’ve got a piece inspired by my ex, “Biting People’s Heads Off, out on sub now, and I suspect Jade can relate to that.)

Several times during the show, Jade commented on how much she was enjoying herself. “I’m having the best time,” she said, and she noted that this was one of the bigger rooms she’s played on this tour.

After “Thirteen,” the set continued with “Head Start” and “Lottery.” She explained that she wrote “Wish You Well” after she stopped talking to her dad a few years ago. (I’ve considered doing this, but, since my conversations with my father only take up about 30 seconds once a week, it just seems easier not to.) She rounded out the set with “I Get No Joy,” and did “What Am I Here For” and “Love Has All Been Done Before” for her encore.

Watch the official music video for “Love Has All Been Done Before” by Jade Bird on YouTube:

Before Jade took the stage, Nashville-based singer-songwriter Mary Moore played an opening set. She kicked things off with “Legend of Love,” which she wrote about a breakup. “He’s kind of a jerk,” she said.” “Catch Me,” she said, is about accepting that she’s not “the perfect version of myself I’ve been chasing my whole life.” (See also: the Serenity Prayer.) “Lost In It,” she said, is a love letter to London. “I had the most magical time in that city.” (She mentioned her grandmother had come to the show, and I find myself thinking about how London was my grandmother’s favorite city.) “Redwoods,” she said, is “about wanting to be a tree.” (If you’re reading this, Mary, you should check out Ursula Le Guin’s very short story, “The Direction of the Road,” which is told over a span of hundreds of years from the perspective of a tree.) “Ghost In My Bedroom” is coming out out as a single soon, and “Mountaintop” is on an EP that arrives in November.

This was show was an absolute delight. Five years is a long time to wait to see an artist, but Jade Bird was absolutely worth it. We were all lucky to see her in such an intimate setting, and, someday, when she’s moved on to much larger stages, we’ll be telling people about how we got to see her before she got huge.

Here are some photos of Jade Bird performing at The Miracle Theatre on April 20, 2024. All pictures copyright and courtesy of James Todd Miller.

DSC_3874 - Copy
DSC_3893 - Copy
DSC_3922 - Copy
DSC_4027 - Copy
DSC_4099 - Copy