Friday, April 20, 2018

Bon Iver @Bonnaroo

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Posted by teibs On June - 14 - 2009

boniver@AndLauraSays Justin Vernon has loved and lost, and thank goodness for that. If it hadn’t been for a bitter breakup and his decision to relocate to a
cabin in his native Wisconsin for three months, the driving force behind Bon Iver would never have recorded For Emma, Forever Ago, one of my favorite albums of 2008 and one that makes me tear up every time I listen to it.

With its hauntingly beautiful layered melodies and lyrics of lost love and heartbreak, I cherish this album a great deal. But when I first tried to see Bon Iver live at Pitchfork Music Festival last summer, I was immensely disappointed.

Atmosphere was playing on the main stage and due to the small size of Union Park, the sound traveled and overpowered Vernon’s soft acoustic style. Beyond the first few rows, you couldn’t hear jack.

When Zack told me to fly solo-roo while he caught up on posts, I was curious and excited to see how this particular show would turn out. When I got there, there was already a hearty sized crowd buzzing around the tent and I found a nice little space near the front speakers to get my indie folk on.

After a short delay, a bed-headed Justin and his band mates came onstage and humbly thanked the audience for coming out. As they began their set, I quickly realized that they weren’t just some solely acoustic band with an acoustic guitar and torment in their hearts anymore but a band that could rock just as hard and loud as the next (especially with the newer songs off of the Blood Bank EP released back in January) and could command an audience, even one of such magnitude as the crowd at ‘Roo, with ease. Even the slower songs, such as my personal favorite “Re: Stacks,” were just as lovely, intense, and surprisingly uncompromised in quality by the space.

My favorite part of the whole thing was the audience. We sang and swayed to words that everyone who has ever had their heart trampled on can relate to. It’s universal. Before “The Wolves (Act 1 & 2)”, Justin told the audience to sing along with the repeating line “What might have been lost” and with each repetition gradually increase in volume.

It started soft and by the end everyone was screaming at the top of their lungs as one, basking in words of frustration and regret that we all experience at some point. That sense of community and connection between artist and audience is what Bonnaroo, and really music in general, is all about. 9.0/10

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