photos by Darren Kim
"Those of you reading outside of Los Angeles might need a primer on the cemetery. It's situated in the middle of Hollywood, shares a southern border with the Paramount Studios lot, is this incredibly peaceful and quiet place a five minute drive from downtown Hollywood. Among the American royalty enshrined on the grounds are Charlie Chaplin, Mel Blanc, Cecil B. DeMille, John Huston, Art Pepper, Yma Sumac, Johnny Ramone and Eva Tanguay. Amidst the tombstones are gorgeous mausoleums, quiet ponds, elegant statues and a building with a vast white wall the exact size of a movie screen. For much of the year the ownership opens its gates for film screenings.Darren Kim (our photographer) arrived at 4:15am Sunday morning (9/27). It was "foggy as hell". As you can see in the pictures, people were spread out on blankets and in sleeping bags on a large grass field like a giant slumber party. Before 5:00, Darren wandered over to visit Johnny Ramone. Amazingly, there at the grave was a black cat just hanging out (you can see in the pics). At 5:15 the monks came on like like a giant alarm that woke everyone in time for the sunrise show, though you couldn't actually see the sun ("it just got whiter").
So starting at midnight the cemetery and Bon Iver's founder, singer and songwriter, Justin Vernon, programmed an all-night event that culminated in a two-hour performance by Bon Iver. The evening went as follows:
12 a.m.: Doors
12:30 a.m.: Bon Iver DJ Set I (see full set list below)
2 a.m.: The Feature Film: Bottle Rocket
3:30 a.m. Bon Iver DJ Set II (see full set list below)
4 a.m.: Documentary Film: Planet Earth (Jungles)
5:15 a.m.: Blessing of Audience and Stage by Buddhist Monks
5:45 a.m.: Bon Iver Performs
As the fog slowly cleared and daylight began to break, Bon Iver played an absolutely perfect set, hitting all of their songs. I have to believe even the dead people buried nearby appreciated the resonating beauty of his music, mostly from For Emma, Forever Ago, and some newer work. Justin made a disclaimer that unlike most bands, he would not be playing an encore. "We're a young band still. We don't have that many songs yet." And sure enough a few songs later, about an hour and fifteen minutes after the set began, he said, "This is the last song we know how to play. I'm a little embarrassed," before launching into a beautiful, eerie version of "Wolves," with everyone joining in on the chorus. [Indie Muse]Megafaun was in the house and also joined Bon Iver on stage.
More pictures, some videos, and the three Bon Iver setlists, below...
"I can only imagine that he made more fans of his music Sunday morning than had even bought tickets. Who's to say those buried in the crowd didn't appreciate the gesture? Maybe even Dee Dee and Johnny Ramone--who both call that place home--can get behind the songs in his catalog? Either way, the living ones left happy. It was a party they didn't want to end.
"How about we do this all again sometime?" Justin says, pausing. After some thought, he follows with: "No, how about we never do it again? How about that?" If he sealed his band's fate with those words, you know? That'll do." [Elvis Enthusiasts Unite]
Bon Iver DJ Set I
The Roches - "Quitting Time"
The Rosebuds - "Blue Bird"
New Buffalo - "Emotional Champ"
Rolling Stones - "No Use in Crying"
Don Williams - "Say It Again"
D'Angelo - "Feel Like Making Love"
Wax Stag - "Short Road"
Slim Harpo - "I'm a King Bee"
Mississippi Fred McDowell - "Shake 'Em Down"
Bonnie Raitt - "Nick of Time"
AA Bondy - "I Can See the Pines Are Dancing"
James Booker - "On the Sunny Side of the Street"
Tammy Wynette - "Apartment #9"
Aimee Mann - "How Am I Different"
The Bad Plus - "Flim"
Amateur Love - "Jailbreak"
Captain & Tennille - "Muskrat Love"
Bill Callahan - "Jim Cain"
Junietta Venegas - "Algo Esta Cambiando"
Mahalia Jackson - "Didn't It Rain?"
Dirty Projectors - "No Intention"
Nina Simone - "Seems Like I'm Never Tired Loving You"
Dr. John - "Me - You = Loneliness"
Yo La Tengo - "Black Flowers"
Bon Iver DJ Set II
Arthur Russell - "A Little Lost"
Sam Cooke - "Steal Away"
Ibrahim Ferrer - "Boliviana"
Staple Singers - "Uncloudy Day"
Innocence Mission - "I Haven't Seen This Day Before"
Vienna Boys Choir - "In Dulci Jubilo"
Lucinda Williams - "Minneapolis"
Paul Westerberg - "We May Well Be the Ones"
Sade - "By Your Side"
Judee Sill - "The Kiss"
Bon Iver set list
Worried Mind [with Megafaun]
The Wolves (Act I and II)