Bird Courage Play The Rock Shop, Chat About Playing on Subway Platforms (Without Shoes)

bird courage interview

Photo Credit: Ashley Barnes

Bird Courage, is just one of those bands you’ve been missing. Literally. You may have seen them performing in a blur while speeding by on your morning commute, or you may have missed your transfer because you stumbled upon the two-man band and couldn’t bring yourself to leave before hearing the next song. On any given day, it is likely that Erik Meier is barefoot on a subway platform, feverishly strumming his guitar and singing with the kind of cutting emotion that makes your chest tight. Along side him is Samuel Saffery, who floats the duo’s acoustic folk melodies on a smooth current of harmony, punctuated by firm percussive taps to the sides of their guitars.

Bird Courage Interview

When the doors opened at 8, Brooklyn’s “The Rock Shop,” was extremely quiet with just a few patrons sitting at the bar and Bird Courage casually organizing an understated merchandise table. The intimate mood of the Valentines Day show not only seemed appropriate for the setting, but for the band as well. Ultimately, Bird Courage is comprised of a couple of low-key guys who simply don’t require much to put on a great show.

I spoke with Erik (guitarist and vocalist) outside while the opening acts set up. When I asked about his occasional preference to perform without any shoes on he explained that, “You can just feel more and be more connected with everything. It’s wearing on me though, I’m thinking about getting a throw carpet.” He went on to say, “We usually like the quieter lines, but the subway is a good outlet because you don’t have media hype; it’s just whatever you decide. You either like it or you don’t and it feels much more genuine that way.”

When Bird Courage took the stage, couples and singles started to wander in, many who appeared as though they hadn’t exactly planned on it, but found themselves drawn-in by sounds they could vaguely make out from the street. Everything about the surroundings seemed sort of unplanned and happenstance, which projected an energy that the band seemed to not only find comfort in but thrive off of.

They began with “Stone,” the opening track off of their latest album, Māia Manu, the crowd kept a polite distance from the stage, as well as from each other, but as the music progressed, the simple union of vocals and acoustic instrumentation reached the rare kind of summit we all hope a song is capable of ascending to. It wasn’t before long that the reticent crowd began to slowly sway and carelessly brush elbows, and with an undeniable symmetry to the bands name, the room felt as though it suddenly opened up and lifted off.

The most exciting moment during the show was when the band played, “Blind in Both Eyes,” a track off their first album, A Promising Flee, as well as the song that caught the attention of their current producer, Francisco Botero, as he was on his way to catch a train. “Blind in Both Eyes” was conceived during personally and financially trying times in both Samuel and Erik’s life, and it’s a remarkable accomplishment to have created such an emotionally and musically developed song with hardly any refuge and so few resources.

As the chords quickly became recognizable, there was a quiet clamor among fans. Couples were embracing, some were visibly emotional and the entire room seemed to be smiling and singing along. The most important thing to note is that they simply sound beautiful live, which is a testament to the remarkable amount of talent that has been just beneath our feet, performing for our spare change, for our fleeting attention, for a brief opportunity to connect and hold us in a single moment. Their experience has served them well on stage, and though they make it look effortless, it is their perseverance as not only musicians, but as individuals, that has enabled them to revel in the simple satisfaction of doing what they love. Whether it be at an above ground venue or on the Metropolitan G train platform, look for them, and at some point, somewhere, see them live.

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Article by Lea Weatherby 

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