Monday, July 13, 2009

Bon Iver/Jenny Lewis

Review of the Twilight Concert Series opener-June 9th

So first I forgot my camera. Then, I forgot my notebook. Well, technically, I forgot them both at the same time, but I remembered that I forgot them in that order.

People packed into the Gallivan Center like they thought Hannah Montana was playing. I'm pretty sure at least half the people there were only there because it was a free show. Either that, or they remembered that Jenny Lewis was the chick in The Wizard. The ironic mustaches were flowing into the joint at a record setting pace. Jenny kicked things off by splitting her set into harder edged songs from her most recent album, Acid Tongue, with the more laid back tunes on her debut, Rabbit Fur Coat. It was a solid set, but the combination of both me and Jenny being too short led to me not being able to see much.

Bon Iver came next, and the fact that they play sitting down compounded the visual problem. They did actually stand up for a lot of the tunes, but I still couldn't see much. Oh well, I didn't go to see his beard anyway. They kicked things off with Flume, the opener off For Emma, Forever Ago, which led into Lump Sum via a long, ambient interlude. My friend John leaned over to me and expressed a hope that people would think it was weird and leave. Unfortunately, this hope went unfulfilled, as the venue remained fairly packed for the duration of the set. It seemed as if most people in attendance were there because hey, it's a free show! I can respect that, but at the same time, it's annoying that these people have to share this experience with me. I've been looking forward to seeing Bon Iver live for a while now, so I was a little peeved that people who couldn't give two craps about who's on stage were surrounding me, being all sweaty. Oh well, that's what you get for going to a free show in a crowded downtown area. The set was pretty much all encompassing (after all, they've only released a total of 15 songs), but the band reveled in some pretty wicked jams at times (yes, you can hold my usage of the word "wicked" against me). It seems as if Justin Vernon, the frontman and guiding voice of the band, has recently discovered that tweaking his guitar pedals can make some pretty crazy noises. Nothing wrong with this per se, but I'd just prefer that my alt-folk acts stay away from extended electric guitar squalls whenever possible.

Altogether a fun, if partially disappointing night. I had pretty high expectations for the show, and the fact that it was so crowded (mainly with people who were there to be seen) was no good. But the music was good, and that's what it's really all about. Unfortunately I won't be able to go to the next show (The Black Keys), but I'll be there in two weeks for M. Ward, so expect another review for that one. Hopefully I'll remember my camera.

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