Posts Tagged ‘justin vernon’

Bon Iver @ Electric Fetus – 02/13/08

March 1, 2008

I went to see Bon Iver perform at the Electric Fetus last night as part of the FetusFor Emma Forever Ago presale event.

The tale of the event is below. Annnnd begin!

The show was supposed to start at 8pm. I arrived at 7:20 to secure a place near the stage, as the CD racks have the annoying propensity to file people in long rows away from the stage. I had pre-wired myself for bootlegging before leaving home. There were already a good number of people there. Bon Iver were warming up, although no one was really watching. I went and stood near the stage, next to the Jens Lekman CDs. They ended their song and a voice on the intercom announced that at 7:45 they would be kicking everyone out of the store and only those with a presale ticket would be let back in. At this point I made an executive decision to wait outside in the mini-corral they had set up.

I went outside at 7:25 and got in line, I was about fifth in line, standing behind a woman who was looking decidedly cold without a hat. People continued to file into the store, look at the line curiously. Some came in line and stayed, others came in line and went back inside. Around 7:30 the line was sizable. A man came out and talked to the woman in front of me, about how “so and so was inside and wasn’t coming out, you should just come in, etc.” They had a small boy with them who continually ran in and out of the store. Through the conversation I gathered they knew someone in the band. We started talking and it turns out it’s Justin Vernon’s sister and her husband, the boy being their son.

Throughout the conversation I learned the following. “The Fam” was in town for the event, although they themselves lived near Minneapolis. The band and family had eaten at their house earlier for dinner. The family had all purchased preorder tickets, only later to be chided by Justin saying they could have gotten in anyway. Apparently Justin’s mother was inside and was the one who refused to come out and stand in line because it was “her son, dammit.” The young son came out and told his mom Justin “said it was ok for him to stay in” — we later saw him going downstairs with the band, and the father laughed and said “Oh god, I hope they’re not smoking anything down there!” The drummer waved at the sister and husband through the glass. The sister was being stubborn, standing outside, and the husband decided to hang out with her with the family’s 10 tickets. It was the “we know the star of the event but we’re going to act like normal people and not take any priviledges” midwestern sort of attitude I know well. I give her Representin’ Downhome Attitudes Kudos.

It started snowing. We discussed the band’s pre-release success, and the husband asked how I heard about him, wondering how “all these people” heard about Bon Iver. I told them I heard about him through a friend who found his stuff on the internet. He nodded in response. Through questioning they revealed that “Justin has always been in some kind of band, and they were always good, but really, he’s never been the frontman. I mean, he was and he wasn’t. He wrote all the songs and the other guys would just add a bassline and they’d say We wrote it. Totally different style from this of course. But good stuff, really good. Both of us are singers so there’s a little jealousy there, like, why is his stuff always so good? Kind of amazing.” I laughed and nodded.

Eventually at 8pm they let us in. We got a free Bon Iver poster once inside and everyone then filed to the stage. Even though I was “fifth” in the store there were about 15 people already at the stage, friends and family, etc. Reveille was there, (review here) and some video cameras, possibly with Radio K or the Fetus. Stacy Schwartz from was there as well, taking photos. (Photos here, Yes, I am pictured.) Despite this throng I was still pretty near the stage. The Fetus rep (that Bearded Guy) gave away some Onion T-shirts and introduced the band.

They came on and played. Song order:
– Flume
– Lump Sum
– Skinny Love
– Blindsided
– Re: Stacks
– Creature Fear
– For Emma

During “Stacks” the guitarist and drummer left the stage. I was glad he decided to play it because it was one of my favorites from the earlier show at the Turf Club. The woman in front of me actually started weeping, gently wiping her tears away. A little much but a nice sentiment. Justin’s mom was standing in front of me, singing along to the songs, bursting with proud motherly joy. It was quite nice. The songs varied a bit from the Turf Club, but only a bit. Justin had a bit less reverb on his voice so his wintery moans were not quite as echoey. He mentioned an upcoming show in April at the Triple Rock, and at one point referred to a recent show from another band as “the shit,” before apologizing to his mom and telling nephew Brady he would put a quarter in the “swear jar.”

Afterward they signed posters and sold t-shirts. I got my poster signed and congratulated the drummer Sean Carey and other guitarist Mike Noyce on the Turf Club performance. Mike said thanks, and that it “was his first performance with the band, very exciting” for him as well. Justin was thanking everyone and talking to everyone that came forward for autographs. I asked him if he had any advice for an aspiring songwriter who hates everything he writes. He laughed, sort of shocked, and said “No, well… yeah, I mean… umm.” I believe I caught him slightly off guard. He then sort of got an excited look in his eye and explained that if you don’t like what you write, you’re not looking deep enough within yourself for your material. I thanked him and headed out.

The recording turned out good, except for the occasional squeak from the accursed hardwood floors of the Fetus.

Overall, a good night!