An Intimate Concert: ‘Giant Rooks’ at the Bluebird

Mika Earley

Frederik Rabe of Giant Rooks at the Bluebird Theater, May 18

I’ve been counting down to this day for five months. When I saw them in December it was on my first day of winter break, and now I’m just on the other side of my last semester of college. It’s been two and a half years since I was last at the Bluebird Theater. It’s a weird full circle moment.

Finn Thomas of Giant Rooks at the Bluebird Theater, May 18

Up until I actually went to queue outside, I was a bundle of nerves. I felt unprepared despite imagining every possible way the day could go. It was purely by chance that I managed to catch Giant Rooks on their first headlining tour, at a small venue nonetheless. I am usually not so fortunate. Their increasing popularity gave me the sense that they’ll never play in such an intimate setting again. The weight of ephemerality was heavy.

I was in line when I learned that Giant Rooks partnered with a different local artist for each show. Their opener for today was Sophie Gray, a pop singer set to graduate high school this year. In between preparations, she wandered outside to see who was waiting. She then casually mentioned that she was on the bill after pausing to take in the spectacle of the marquee sign.

Jonathan Wischniowski of Giant Rooks at the Bluebird Theater, May 18

Questions of who would open for Giant Rooks had occurred to me before, but I somehow never considered the possibility at hand. The collaboration with local talent was not new to me so much as what the opportunity would mean for each musician. It somehow had never fully registered until that moment. A single show could change their life, similarly to how a viral sound on TikTok gave Giant Rooks the acclaim worldwide that they are accustomed to in Germany.

The Bluebird Theater is deceptively cozy. Despite having underestimated its capacity by a few hundred people, I was still struck by the lack of separation between audience and performer. I could comfortably rest most of my upper body onstage, and the nearest equipment was easily within arms reach.

Sophie sang eight tracks from her discography, exceeding the number of songs Giant Rooks played on their last stop in Denver by two. Her excitement was infectious, and not only in the senses of hyping up the crowd. I felt strangely proud as her set progressed. Witnessing someone fulfill one of their greatest aspirations in real time is unforgettable.

Anticipation increased exponentially as crew members rearranged the stage afterwards. The ancillary set of drums integral to any Giant Rooks performance was so close that it might as well have been stacked upon someone in the first row. In combination with the knowledge that my favorite song was to be played first, this placed me in a state of disbelief. “The Birth of Worlds” crosses my mind regularly, probably on a daily basis. I can remember exactly where I was when it first graced my ears.

Luca Göttner of Giant Rooks at the Bluebird Theater, May 18

Nothing I can articulate will compare to watching it come to life right in front of me. I wish I could capture the experience and preserve it in a bottle. Every time they introduced more music from Rookery, I was reminded that it is their debut record. Less than two years have passed since its release and new music is already on the horizon.

Two unreleased tracks were incorporated into the setlist, entitled “Bedroom Exile” and “Morning Blue” respectively. They later will be released as a single, and after hearing it for myself I can completely understand why. I have not listened to it sufficiently enough to catch every detail. Before I could fully process any lyrics, the instrumentals and harmonies resonated wordlessly. They continue to linger pleasantly as a whisper of what to look forward to.

To answer the unspoken question, yes they performed “Tom’s Diner”, remixing it once again with an original of theirs called “Very Soon You’ll See”. This iteration surpassed the energy of its predecessor, amplified by crowd participation via the repetition of its infamously catchy melody. It is a wonder that the cover took almost two years to resurface.

Finn Schwieters, Frederik Rabe, and Finn Thomas of Giant Rooks at the Bluebird Theater, May 18

Giant Rooks are now around halfway through their North American tour, where all shows have sold out even after some were upgraded to larger venues. They have additional dates and festival stops throughout the summer as well, which will bring them back to Europe for June through August.

Sophie will open for THE BRKN alongside The Losers Club at Globe Hall on May 27th. She has additionally been selected as an official discovery artist for the Underground Music Showcase, which is set to take place from July 29th through the 31st.

 

Reported and Written by Mika Earely

Photos Edited and Taken by Mika Earely