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Friday, 12 September 2008

Bon Iver gig

If you've listened to Bon Iver's terrificly rustic and lo-fi debut album, For Emma, Forever Ago, then the word ostentatious isn't something you'd associate with the man from Wisconsin, real name Justin Vernon. But then, upon entering the Empire last night and seeing not one but two drumkits set up on stage for the headliner, you begin to wonder whether you've come to the right gig or not. As it turns out, it was very much the right gig, and Justin and his four pals took the stage and treated the crowd to most of the album and a few treats besides. I refer to the band as his pals because, frankly, that's what they looked like. Not that they couldn't play - they could, and one of them, introduced as Mikey, even took lead vocal on a cover of a Graham Nash song (not sure which one, sorry). Other treats included a new song, introduced with two titles, one of which was Getting Lost In The Snow With Somebody New. Unusually that new track was one of the best songs of the night and bodes very well for any new record.

Another cover was thrown in to the set - Talk Talk's I Believe In You - because, in Vernon's words, they only have one album and wanted to give us more than 31 minutes of music.

It wasn't a complete success though - as My Wife said, he didn't always seem in control of his voice, the distinctive high pitched wail roaming a few times in to Sting-pastiche territory. But that's a minor hitch. And similar to Fleet Foxes a few weeks back, it was really warming to be a London resident and have a new artist give major props to this musically historic city, their excitement at playing here more than self-evident.

Hopefully these fuzzy, out of focus, shonky phone photos will sum up all the pleasure that was to be had at Bon Iver last night. Errrrrr....

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