Posted in music | pictures on August 11, 2011

photos by Amanda M. Hatfield, words by Andrew Sacher

Bon Iver

Justin Vernon walked onto the dimly lit stage at the sold out Celebrate Brooklyn show in Prospect Park last night (8/10) with his 9-piece Bon Iver, picked up his guitar, and quietly began playing the guitar riff of album opener "Perth." The band slowly began building the song into its borderline-heavy metal ending, letting us know immediately that Bon Iver are not a 9-piece band for no reason. Justin's obviously a guy who has been part of a lot of collaborations (though he needs a break from all of that), but this new lineup is far more than another collab for the record books. I mean these guys sound huge. What started out as a folk-leaning, acoustic guitar based project with sparse accompaniment from other instruments, is almost entirely the opposite now. The band that was once backed mainly by a bass drum now has two drummers behind fully structured kits and an auxiliary percussionist. Fluttering horn lines that are often indiscernible on their own, come together to create deftly beautiful atmospheres throughout the songs. Justin also now has the freedom to make as much noise as he wants on his guitar, and he definitely uses it.

On the album's second track, "Minnesota, WI," Justin was joined by the crowd on the "never gonna break" refrains, before taking the song into the funk-edged middle section driven by Colin Stetson's bass sax and pounding drums from Matt McCaughan and Sean Carey. Skipping "Holocene," the band continued to play straight through the album for a couple more songs, touching on the country-tinged "Towers" and the eye-watering beauty of "Michicant." Justin and band then took a break from the new material to dive into some older stuff. They fleshed out the older songs to fit in with the new setup, adding textures and dynamics not heard on the original recording, and managed to not lose any of its delicacy. Lead by band member Reginald Pace on trombone, the band delivered a soulful soft-rock interpretation of For Emma, Forever Ago's "Creature Fear." By the song's building second chorus, when it would normally fade into the companion track "Team," they took the song in an entirely different direction with explosive post-rock crescendos and layers of noise guitar from Justin and Mike Noyce. The band amped the older material up even more later on when they went into "Blood Bank" off the 2009 EP of the same name. The members were soaked in red light as they propelled into a heavy distortion-ridden rendition of the track. They kicked things up even harder at the end when they took the song into a double time rock bit with more noise guitar from Justin.

After "Blood Bank," they calmed things down with the much-anticipated "Holocene" that was skipped earlier on. The audience piped in on, "And at once I knew I was not magnificent," and "I could see for miles, miles, miles." Then the entire band except Justin left the stage, and with no more than an electric guitar he played the For Emma, Forever Ago closing track, "re: stacks." As a musician whose romanticized backstory is centered around lonesomeness, taking relief from the now-large band to perform with the vulnerability that his first album was written with made as large of an impact as the orchestrations of the rest of the set did. After the song, Justin was again joined by his band for "Flume" and "Calgary" before an audible count-in lead into the new album's closing track "Beth/Rest." Say what you will about this song and its '80s lite.fm-leaning tendencies, the performance was absolutely beautiful. The band played with far too much confidence to call it "ironic" and too much genuine emotion to call it "cheesy." About halfway through, Justin stretched the song a bit with some reverb-laden vocal scat before going into the guitar/sax solos that take up the ending. He then thanked the crowd, took a bow with the band and left the stage.

The stage crew wasted no time preparing the set for 9-piece Bon Iver's rendering of "Skinny Love." Once that preparation was complete, the guys walked back out on stage to tremendous applause, Justin sat down with his resonator guitar, Matt McCaughan and Sean Carey sat behind their drum kits, and the other six members took to microphones for backup vocals, stomps and claps. The song comes off as something the band knows they can just have a ton of fun with, and that's totally fine, because with an hour and a half of really heady melancholic music, nothing is wrong with three minutes of fun. The band members then all returned to their instruments and covered Bjork's "Who Is It," like they'd been doing on tour. Reginald Pace handled the blips and clicks with some pretty impressive beat-boxing and the horn and string players interpreted Bjork's electronic textures, as Justin strongly delivered Bjork's vocal parts. The band ended the encore with the crowd sing-along "The Wolves (Act I and II)" and again bowed and left the stage. Though the "Skinny Love" setup assured us of the first encore, much to my surprise, the band returned for a second encore to play one last song -- "For Emma." The song, which is already the fullest of all the For Emma, Forever Ago tracks, fit so perfectly with the new material, that it would have convincingly been a b-side to the new album if the song had never been heard before.

The show began with a great opening set by The Rosebuds. They were joined by Justin Vernon on guitar and backup vocals for the song "Leaves Do Fall" off 2005's Birds Make Good Neighbors. Justin's bandmate Mike Noyce also came out towards the end of the song to help out with more backing vocals. Bon Iver bassist Mike Lewis also joined the band later on for a song. Their set wasn't too long, but every song was solid and the guest appearances were the perfect way to warm the crowd up for Bon Iver's headlining set.

More pictures and the setlist from the show below...

The Rosebuds

The Rosebuds

The Rosebuds

The Rosebuds

The Rosebuds

The Rosebuds

The Rosebuds

The Rosebuds

The Rosebuds

The Rosebuds

The Rosebuds

The Rosebuds

The Rosebuds

The Rosebuds

The Rosebuds

The Rosebuds

The Rosebuds

The Rosebuds

The Rosebuds

Bon Iver

Bon Iver

Bon Iver

Bon Iver

Bon Iver

Bon Iver

Bon Iver

Bon Iver

Bon Iver

Bon Iver

Bon Iver

Bon Iver

Bon Iver

Bon Iver

Bon Iver

Bon Iver

Bon Iver

Bon Iver

Bon Iver

Bon Iver

Bon Iver

Bon Iver

Bon Iver

Bon Iver

Bon Iver

Bon Iver

Bon Iver

Bon Iver

Bon Iver

Bon Iver

Bon Iver

Bon Iver Setlist:
Perth
Minnesota, WI
Towers
MIchicant
Creature Fear
Beach Baby
Hinnom, TX
Wash.
Blood Bank
Holocene
re: stacks
Flume
Calgary
Beth/Rest

Encore 1:
Skinny Love
Who Is It (Bjork Cover)
The Wolves (Act I and II)

Encore 2:
For Emma
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Comments (76)

This guy is so overrated. I bet his new LP will end up on everyone's top albums of 2011....

snoozefest

Posted by Anonymous | August 11, 2011 1:26 PM

Bitter Beer Face!!!

Posted by Anonymous | August 11, 2011 1:28 PM

Loved the first album, not into the new one. Oh well, good to see Vernon strike gold with his new release.

Posted by Anonymous | August 11, 2011 1:39 PM

Bon(iv)er

Posted by Anonymous | August 11, 2011 1:39 PM

I don't think that writeup is long enough. Maybe needs to be slightly longer with commentary from Frohawk, Murphy, Albini, and Tyler.

Posted by Anonymous | August 11, 2011 1:46 PM

It was such an incredible show.

Posted by Anonymous | August 11, 2011 1:47 PM

Frohawk's cousin is one of the backing band members.

Posted by Anonymous | August 11, 2011 1:55 PM

They sell the album at Starbucks. Enough said.

The depressed, folk Bov Iver we know is gone forever.

Posted by Anonymous | August 11, 2011 1:56 PM

Ejaculate Brooklyn

Posted by Anonymous | August 11, 2011 2:09 PM

1:46,

I think BV might actually secretly be Frohawk. It's like the nerdy indie rock version of Batman/Bruce Wayne.

Posted by Anonymous | August 11, 2011 2:14 PM

1:56 goes to Starbucks.. nuff said.
Great review and pictures.

Posted by moth | August 11, 2011 2:14 PM

"I don't think that writeup is long enough. Maybe needs to be slightly longer with commentary from Frohawk, Murphy, Albini, and Tyler."

and Rollins.

Posted by Anonymous | August 11, 2011 2:20 PM

1:28: PBR'll do that to ya.

Posted by Anonymous | August 11, 2011 2:22 PM

that might have been the best show I've seen at the bandshell.

Posted by Anonymous | August 11, 2011 2:25 PM

all this hyperbole is silly, it was a nice show but nothing orgasmic. his shit is way overrated and the new stuff isn't half as interesting or genuine as the first album's material. the best moments are with him and his guitar, period.

Posted by Anonymous | August 11, 2011 2:29 PM

Kelly Crisp is so hot she'd melt the ice cream on Gucci Mane's face.

Posted by Church | August 11, 2011 2:30 PM

really great time last night and the band was so good but i couldn't help but notice the lighting on stage reminded me of the In Rainbows stage setting "i have it all in here in red, blue, green"

Posted by Anonymous | August 11, 2011 2:33 PM

@ 2:29
Wrong. The most impressive stuff was when the band totally came together in sound. it was a great show. nothing hyperbolic in saying that. just sounds like your jaded. I find it very difficult to leave that show and not think it was great.

Posted by Anonymous | August 11, 2011 2:35 PM

a unique voice, great artist... great show...

Posted by Anonymous | August 11, 2011 2:36 PM

BON IVER = leBrON IVERson

for all you hoop headz out there lol

Posted by Anonymous | August 11, 2011 2:37 PM

2:29 was probably beyond the fences. I talked to some people out there after the show and they all said it was just ok. you had to be inside for this one.

Posted by Anonymous | August 11, 2011 2:38 PM

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Posted by Anonymous | August 11, 2011 2:38 PM

If we're going to squabble, can we at least address these overlong uninspired write-ups? You really have to describe every single song they played in chronological order, dude?

While I generally favor fresher prose over old stand-bys, I'm pulling an old-timer off the bench to eval your reviewing skills: You Fucking Suck.

Posted by Anonymous | August 11, 2011 2:46 PM

hate to be a hater but this guy is one of the worst out there right now. so yeah i'll just be a hater.

Posted by Anonymous | August 11, 2011 2:47 PM

1:59, no one cares about your shitty iPhone-recorded video.

Posted by Anonymous | August 11, 2011 2:49 PM

Bon Iver been there done that lol

Posted by Anonymous | August 11, 2011 2:50 PM

Hmmmm, do I buy the $40 hoody or the owl in sunglasses t-shirt????

Posted by Anonymous | August 11, 2011 2:52 PM

Own in Sunglasses tee, obv, 'cuz it isn't Bon Iver swag

Posted by Anonymous | August 11, 2011 2:55 PM

I was just beyond the fence last night and I still thought the show was great...but I was at United Palace so kinda knew what was going on inside. There was less audience participation outside the fence though but the sound still boomed.

Posted by Anonymous | August 11, 2011 2:58 PM

Man, I really wish he covered THIS "Who Is It"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d3SljcFotX8

Posted by Anonymous | August 11, 2011 3:15 PM

"There was less audience participation outside the fence though.."

What is this, a musical performance or The Wiggles???! Come on!!

Posted by Anonymous | August 11, 2011 3:28 PM

2:52- go with the 25 dollar pink Wisconsin tee shirt instead. it'd compliment your eyes well.

Posted by Anonymous | August 11, 2011 3:37 PM

skinny love turned into a campfire song. I love it when uptight, jaded brooklynites, break into chants in unison.

Posted by Anonymous | August 11, 2011 3:40 PM

Is Tyler trending?

Posted by Anonymous | August 11, 2011 4:16 PM

Great show ... jaded haters are really scared little pansies. Why scared? Dude/ette anyone that bashes a band or defends "their" band is dealing with serious identity issues.

S'ok kiddo (pat on head) .. you're still cool. Nah, just kidding. You sound like a total idiot

Excellent musicianship. I was so impressed.

For me, if they moved just one hair closer to the 80's thing it would have been really corny. But they didn't, and the effect was dope.

Posted by Anonymous | August 11, 2011 4:25 PM

Hope they stay together and make music for a long time.

Posted by Anonymous | August 11, 2011 4:28 PM

^^ How's that CUNY degree treating you?

Posted by Anonymous | August 11, 2011 4:29 PM

^^^^
SUNY ... pretty good. 6 figures, work in the music biz .. don't take life to seriously. Play in bands ... could be worse.

Thank you! (for asking)

Posted by Anonymous | August 11, 2011 4:31 PM

4:31 is trending

Posted by Anonymous | August 11, 2011 4:40 PM

4:28 meant to write....

Hope they stay together and make music for a long time lol

Posted by Anonymous | August 11, 2011 4:42 PM

yeah, right... Bon Iver headlines a Festival in Paris, while you stay home with your mom...

Posted by Anonymous | August 11, 2011 4:42 PM

trending is trending

Posted by Anonymous | August 11, 2011 4:48 PM

4:29 how does it feel to get bitch slapped? backfired.. you deserve it idiot.

Posted by Anonymous | August 11, 2011 4:49 PM

oh, so this was the funeral I heard when walking thru the park last night

Posted by Anonymous | August 11, 2011 5:00 PM

tyler the creator hates bon iver

Posted by Anonymous | August 11, 2011 5:09 PM

For those who went to United Palace and this show, how did they compare (sound wise, energy from band and crowd, etc.)? Thanks.

Posted by Anonymous | August 11, 2011 5:13 PM

It's so nice that Pitchfork is creating cultural opportunities for neo-yuppies. Everyone deserves to feel cool, even 4:31.

Posted by Anonymous | August 11, 2011 5:25 PM

Bitch slapped... I can say a lot of things anonymously also.

Posted by Anonymous | August 11, 2011 5:25 PM

best show of the summer 2011! period end of the story.

Posted by Anonymous | August 11, 2011 5:38 PM

5:25 you can and you did hatefully spew anonymously. then you got served. I have a feeling I could say anything here to your face, dickhead.

Posted by Anonymous | August 11, 2011 5:53 PM

I can't wait for Bon Iver's collaboration with Frohawk

Posted by Anonymous | August 11, 2011 6:39 PM

Anyone else notice all the fucked up people dropping like flies left and right? A dude behind us fell flat on his fucking face on the pavement!

Posted by Anonymous | August 11, 2011 8:29 PM

Old Guy Post
Fat Guy Post
Dim Witted Guy Post
Angry Guy Post
Angry Dim Witted Guy Post
Frohawk Guy Post
Hummus Guy Post

Posted by Anonymous | August 11, 2011 8:29 PM

guy goes into cabin in the woods to record somber acoustic album. two years later hes on stage with kanye west performing in front of thousands. its like the worst rags-to-riches story ever.

"the slave begins by demanding justice and ends with wanting to wear a crown."

Posted by k | August 11, 2011 9:02 PM

Yea Bon Iver totally sucks. Why make good music when you can just slash barre chords and scream into a mic? You know, post-punk. It's what all the hip kids are into. Like that 30 year old fat guy with 12 tats who thinks he's tough.

Posted by Anonymous | August 11, 2011 9:14 PM

I heard For Emma was really for Frohawk, but he couldn't say that to sell albums.

Posted by Anonymous | August 11, 2011 9:35 PM

"Anyone else notice all the fucked up people dropping like flies left and right? A dude behind us fell flat on his fucking face on the pavement!"

Yes, wtf? Some girl totally fished out right in front of us and went (wo)man down on our fucking blanket. We thought she was dead, it was weird. She came to after a couple mins of EMS peeps flashing lights in her eyes, but damn. Saw the EMS stroller being rushed around a few other times, so figured folks were really going for it last night. Strange, to be sure.

Btw, if you're reading this Justin, never play Beth/Rest again. Cheers!

Posted by Anonymous | August 11, 2011 9:50 PM

"the slave begins by demanding hummus and ends with wanting to eat donuts with James Murphy."

fix'd that for ya 9:02

Posted by Anonymous | August 11, 2011 10:37 PM

good show, not great but pretty good. show of the year? not-ah quite-ah. but still pretty special. lots of great shows this summer.

Posted by Anonymous | August 11, 2011 10:46 PM

^ Lulz

Posted by Anonymous | August 12, 2011 2:57 AM

This was a damn fine show...though still ranks behind Daft Punk 2008 and most Phish shows....I will say one thing though...Mr. Iver makes the panty's drop! My girl has gotten that freaky in years! Thanks Bon!

Posted by Anonymous | August 12, 2011 5:23 AM

^ 26 year old virgin.

Posted by Anonymous | August 12, 2011 10:02 AM

You're girl isn't freaky cuz you're taking that boring ass bitch to phish shows...

Posted by Anonymous | August 12, 2011 10:18 AM

Best show of the summer for me. I like Bon Iver's recordings but was blown away that they could pull off such complex and subtle melodic lines, harmonies, tonalities, etc live. Not everyone's cup of tea, of course, but Justin Vernon is for real.

Posted by Rick Schatzberg | August 12, 2011 3:11 PM

his name is mr. vernon, not mr. iver

Posted by Anonymous | August 12, 2011 3:29 PM

Justin's new record is genius and no one is doing what he is doing right now and his live show is amazing. Translates really well live. He plays with PRO musicians - most of whom he grew up with or met through friends. He took in some kids from west virginia who play with Fight the Big Bull, who NAILED every song. I went to both the United Palace and the park. Both were special in different ways. United Palace was a breathtaking space, amazing sound and mellow audience. The park, there was more audience energy for the band to play of because most people were standing. The band works so hard on stage. Most of them play more than one instrument or are playing hardcore the whole time. Peter Gabriel has possessed Justin and his crew and it is a good thing. One of my favorite records and shows all year. Congrats, Justin. You work hard and you deserve all the praise. xo

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2011 3:36 AM

"and mellow audience"

That crowd sucked and you're too afraid to admit it. Prospect Park, however, was a special environment.

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2011 12:28 PM

BON IVER IS THE BEST BAND IN THE WORLD EVERY SONG WAS AMAZING AND IT WAS THE BEST SHOW EVER

Posted by Mike Chiafari | August 13, 2011 1:11 PM

^ Why are you shouting?!? We can hear you just fine.

And, by the way, I remember my first beer too.

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2011 1:57 PM

1:11, I want the drugs you're on.

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2011 2:24 PM

it's called Ecstasy
illegal in all states

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2011 2:29 PM

2:29, Illegal but awesome.

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2011 3:16 PM

Amazing beyond words

Posted by D | August 16, 2011 9:31 AM

PBR'll do that to ya.

Posted by dz4d | August 25, 2011 10:46 AM

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