Not everyone in the Midwest is a corn farmer or a conniving waste of space who refuses to resign from his abused position of undeserved power. Bon Iver is proof that good things do come out of being in the Midwest. After finally seeing him perform live, I felt compelled to return to IL, hole myself up in a cabin, and see if I can do something meaningful with my time. Now, all I need to do is somehow gain an extraordinary amount of talent.
With a supporting band, Justin Vernon aka Bon Iver played for a packed crowd at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. This was his third and final night in New York, and he seemed pleased to be wrapping it up at the Music Hall. Before the show, I had wondered how Bon Iver's acoustic singer-songwriter sound would translate onto the stage with the band. Well, they sounded amazing, and you should definitely go see Bon Iver if you have the opportunity. The additional instruments and vocals worked well at MHOW by creating a necessary balance in sound that I'm used to hearing on record. But, in all seriousness, Bon Iver sounded better than any act that I'd ever seen at MHOW.
Bon Iver basically performed everything off his upcoming EP (minus "Woods") and For Emma, Forever Ago, except for "Blindsided." Has he been leaving this one out at recent shows? "Blindsided" is one of my favorite tracks, so I was slightly disappointed by that. However, Justin's performance of "Re: Stacks" more than made up for that absence. "Re: Stacks" was so stunning that I couldn't help but get a little teary. With knots in my stomach, I could actually feel what he was singing. It's bittersweet and it hurts a little, but that's life. Wow, I sound very emo right now.
There was no cover of Sarah Siskind's "Lovin's for Fools" at this show, but Bon Iver did surprise us with a different cover. When Justin started singing the first line of the Outfield's "Your Love," I couldn't help but laugh. Of course, the crowd loved it and very happily sang along, myself included. Speaking of covers, the opening act also played a crowd-pleaser. The Tallest Man on Earth ended his set with "These Days." The version that I'm most familiar with is that of Nico, featured on The Royal Tenenbaums soundtrack. Love the guitar intro. Watch the video of the performance here, courtesy of Hooves on the turf.
One word of advice. If you do go to a Bon Iver show, try to position yourself away from girls who look like they came prepared for a karaoke night. They sorta kill the mood when their voices start to drown out everything else. It should be a given that one shall not sing along loudly with the band unless explicitly directed to do so (i.e. for "The Wolves"). In fact, Bon Iver designed an entire audience-participation exercise so that you can get that singing aloud thing out of your system in a controlled manner. Thanks, Justin.
For Emma, Forever Ago was one of my favorite albums in 2008.
Bon Iver: Wolves I & II from hoovesontheturf on Vimeo.
Re: Stacks - Bon Iver
For Emma - Bon Iver
Blindsided - Bon Iver