"It's like a dome of music." And all I could think was, "Why yes, yes it is." Justin Vernon, the lead singer of Bon Iver, opened his show last night, Sept. 14, with that very astute observation on the venue, the Bank of America Pavilion in South Boston. I have never been to the cool, semi-open air concert hall before, but it was a great place for a show. The acoustics were decent, if not perfectly attuned to Bon Iver's particular brand of music. I loved the show, which included songs from the group's first EP and subsequent two albums. The setlist more or less went like this...
2. Minnesota, WI
5. Bloody Bank
6. Beach Baby
7. Hinnom, TX
8. Skinny Love (AMAZING)
9. Creature Fear
10. re: Stacks
13. Wolves (Act I & II)
14. For Emma
That's more or less the way the show went, but don't hold me to that. It was a pretty mellow set, but try telling that to the thirty-something year old white business man in a suit, who sat next to me and was busting out moves more appropriate for an Avicii concert. If you know ANYTHING about Bon Iver you'll know that a subtle sway and doped-out head nod are more appropriate than fist bumping and grinding. But other than the crazy suit-guy, it was an AWESOME concert.
Bon Iver sings very mellow, chill music. His first full-length album, "For Emma, Forever Ago", was self-recorded in a log cabin somewhere in the northern Mid-West woods. The phonetic translation of "Bon Iver" in French means "Good Winter", and the groups music often reflects such naturalistic themes.
I thought Bon Iver was a relatively popular musician, but only two out of eight of the girls in my room have ever heard of the band! If you aren't familiar with his music, I would really suggest looking it up. It's great nap or studying music. I'd also recommend going to see the group live, and preferably in a smaller venue if at all possible. As opposed to some of the auto-tuned crap that they play on the radio, Bon Iver's music translates fabulously to a live show: no lip-syncing, no technologically fabricated sound. The Bank of America Pavilion was nice, but Bon Iver's music is really made to be blasted in a small space so you can take it all in. Despite this, I still really loved seeing them live, and Irving's commentary throughout the show was hilarious.
"It's a very virginal song. It's about virgins....before and after their virgins," Vernon commented. Or, "It's a little bit about your early twenties, and a little bit about the Texas Hold'em scare of 2004-2005." What? Yeah, couldn't tell you what the Texas Hold'em scare of '04-'05 was, but I sure as hell will listen to a song about it! Another gem of a comment, "The t-shirts are kind of corny. I don't know why all bands need like seven t-shirts. Sorry about all of the f*cking t-shirts." Of course, I had to go and buy a t-shirt after that.