Words by Mark Stock, Photos by Ro Tam.
Justin Vernon could not stop thanking the crowd, who equal parts whooped and sniffled in between Bon Iver's dense and soulful set. With but a single album (For Emma, Forever Ago
) under their belt, one could count on
all the piercing hits, but the occasional cover (including the likes of Talk Talk) and lengthened tracks made for a refreshing and resounding stage presence.
The Wisconsinites managed to completely deconstruct and reconstruct the elegant and grabbing "Flume," exploding in mid song with a spastic fireworks display of angry guitar and rattling percussion. Just as simultaneously controlled and chaotic was "Wolves (Act I and II)," a multipart ballad that turned crowd into choir. Vernon's sailing vocals
made every strand of hair in the audience stand up. Returning to the stage for "Skinny Love," Vernon admitted that it was the last song he knew.
Perhaps. But Bon Iver knows their material through and through, so to see them play the expected is still to see them purely possessed.
Photos courtesy of Ro Tam