Jan 21, 2009

Bon Iver @ City Recital Hall

Rewarding. A good place to start. Satisfying. That will do. Pleasurable. Yes. Definitely. All these and more were Bon Iver Wednesday night at the City Recital Hall. In the midst of 5 sold out shows, Bon Iver brought their beautiful music to Sydney as part of the Sydney Festival. You could say, a little old part of Wisconsin came to big old Sydney town.

Firstly, it took me a while to get used to watching a concert in a recital hall. I am so used to standing up in a crowded area that the comfort I received here felt a little foreign. To be sure, the comfort is, well comforting and the acoustics are great, but it still felt strange. But the music would do its job and by the time "The Wolves (Act 1 And 2) swallowed us whole I was won over. Justin Vernon, the esteemed writer and singer, asked the crowd to join in by singing the refrain of "What Might Have Been Lost". Without fail, we joined in and this epic song lifted the roof as the crowd kept pace with the enormous percussion on stage. Oh, did I say that Bon Iver now number four and create quite a beautiful din on stage. Of course "For Emma, Forever Ago" was a solitary creation, full of awe and beauty. But live, the songs have grown an extra leg. During "Skinny Love" we got three people playing drums. But it all worked, with the high pitched voice of Vernon combining well with the crashing drums and jangling guitars. This was displayed adroitly on the smash and grab of "Creature Fear", which descended into a pretty loud jam. The band also played three tunes off the just released EP, including my new favourite "Babys" which features a vey hypnotic piano line. The only song of the night that featured Vernon solo was the completely gorgeous "Re: Stacks". A highlight of the night. Closing with my old favourite was gratifying also. "For Emma" was pretty special, although Mike Noyce had to try to replicate the horn section on his guitar. It nearly worked. The band left to rapturous applause, before returning to play the rousing "Blood Bank". All through the night the band seemed very grateful and humbled by the support they were receiving. Many times Vernon expressed his sincere thanks. If only he knew, we were the ones that had all the reasons to be thankful.

Set List
Lump Sum
Beach Baby
The Wolves (Act 1 And 2)
Skinny Love
Creature Fear
Re: Stacks
I Believe In You (Talk Talk Cover)
For Emma

Blood Bank


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