Friday, December 12, 2008

Bon Iver w/ The Tallest Man on Earth @ Town Hall (12/10/08): REVIEW (revised)

Photo taken by Chris La Putt, originally from

::This is a revised post to my original::

Man, oh man, how I had been looking forward to this show. I bought my tickets to see Bon Iver way back in August, in a hurried rush when I only realized tickets were on sale minutes before, and then (once purchased) I nearly forgot about them, until my iCalendar finally clicked over to December and BAM! right in the middle of the 10th was their name in bold letters, with a series of exclamation points that made it look like the key had gotten stuck (or that I was a 5 year old and had just seen a pony).

Who could blame me? Bon Iver IS my very own pony: wild and untamed yet sweet and innocent; a dream... The show was so wonderfully melodic and soothing, I couldn't help but close my eyes at one point and simply sigh back into my chair, feeling the stresses of the day melt away under their harmonies.

Justin Verner (the mind and voice behind Bon Iver) was so humble to be in front of us that night, and only reconfirmed my feelings about him and his music. Verner (in interviews and through lyrics) has always reminded me of someone who could be friends with my older brother (protective yet fun), or of someone I always see on the streets of Austin, whom smiles unprompted and say, "Hello" in the most genuine way. Verner kept joking all night about his awkwardness during long pauses, as well as how quickly his (and his band member's) lives had changed since For Emma, Forever Ago came out. Truth be told, I had forgotten Verner had only put out this LP in '07. It seems almost impossible for me to imagine how a person can put out their very first album (raw and unfiltered, recorded alone), and then a year later to have the most amazing and rave reviews in all the magazines and to be on the tips of everyone's tongues, as they sell-out concerts across the world. And to imagine, that it was a dark and depressed Verner, sitting alone in a cabin in Wisconsin and completely done with life, who wrote these beautiful and heartfelt songs, who created these insanely unique and simple songs that now touch so many people and allow Verner to smile nightly and feels like the luckiest guy in the world. It's really quite the story, and you can't help but feel uplifted by it, and inspired to try to never give up.

A Few Notes (And Questions) to End With:
1) When Verner mentioned that he wasn't into encores these days because basically, Bon Iver didn't know enough songs to play one, someone in the audience started to rant really loudly about the economy and how "it's been a shit year and we New Yorkers have had to deal with enough..." I really wasn't sure if the guy was being positive or negative towards this "Encore" statement, but the audience cracked up nervously, and Verner played it off like a gentlemen. "Right on, man, right on {pause} I couldn't hear what you said at the end there, but it sounded passionate. You just made my day." haha

2) The venue was lovely (Town Hall on 43rd btw Broadway and 6th ave), but really, do that many people exist in this city who can't wait until a song is over to get up from their seats? I thought the idea of a sit-down concert would be nice (considering I don't really want to go crazy to Bon Iver anyway), but I'll never go to one again if the audience keeps disturbing everyone around them like they did at this one.

3) The Tallest Man on Earth played some AMAZING music, but never have I seen ego more embodied on stage than this man, and it turned me off. I asked my friend who plays in The Calm Blue Sea what was up with that, and he said, "yeah, we'd be humble as shit to open for Bon Iver. I don't know what his deal was."

4) How old is Verner's lead guitarist? 15? He's like a baby! Also, I've heard stories about this kid, that he's either Verner's younger brother, or was once his guitar student. Any authentication to this?

Anyway, it was a lovely, lovely, uplifting show. Their cover at the end of Lovin's For Fools by Sarah Siskind almost made me cry, and during The Wolves (Act I/II), they had the whole audience sing along and it was magical. I heart these guys.

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