Last night, Jules and I were lucky enough to see Bon Iver at Town Hall in midtown. We arrived as the opener was on stage and ran into some friends (some expected, some unexpected.....but that's the beauty of this city) before heading to our seats. Town Hall is a beautiful venue in midtown, just to the east of Times Square. It's an old theater with orchestra seating and a balcony. It has wonderful acoustics and there's literally no space between the first row and the stage. We were in the 6th row right-center and about 10 feet away from the stage.
I've seen many great shows there over the years.....Chris Cornell, Rufus Wainwright, Norah Jones with Ryan Adams, etc., but this will go down as one of my favorites.....and definitely one of the best of 2008 for me. I was supposed to see Bon Iver a few months back but had to give my tickets up due to an emergency so I've been itching to get my chance. I can honestly say that they were absolutely fantastic.
The band came on stage just after 9pm and played until about 10:15 or so. Their set consisted mostly of songs from their album "For Emma, Forever" but they also played a few new tracks from an upcoming EP. Definitely a talented group of guys, all had really good voices but Justin (the lead singer) carried the show. I was pleasantly surprised at his stage presence, he had some hilarious lines and really kept the audience at ease.
As far as crowds go, that was the best one I've been a part of in ages.....you could hear a pin drop in there, it was silent the whole show. There was one hilarious part when Justin was discussing how he doesn't really love the whole "encore" idea and he hasn't been doing them lately when some guy about four rows behind us just exploded...."this is New York City and we've had a terrible few weeks, the economy sucks, Bon Iver we're just here to listen to some great music....." as security got him to quiet down. Justin laughed and responded, "thanks a lot man, that made my night......I didn't catch the end of what you were saying but I know it was heartfelt".......which got a huge laugh from the crowd. It was really, really random....but damn funny.
Anyways, the show was great, song highlights for me would be: "Creature Fear", "Blood Bank" (new song), and "The Wolves (Act I & II)". I haven't found any video from the show online but I found some similar clips to post below. "Wolves" was just incredible. Justin asked us to sing the chorus, "What might have been lost".......and slowly increase the volume, followed by the whole theater just screaming as loud as they can at the end (see 2:51- the end of he video). I don't know that the video does it justice but it was really, really awesome.
They're playing again tonight at Town Hall and will be at the Music Hall Of Williamsburg tomorrow night. If you have nothing going on, I think it's well worth the night out.
Here's some pics and the aforementioned video:
THE WOLVES (ACT I & II)