It took a Wisconsinite to make me feel back at home this weekend, but for as much time I spent in the Dairyland, there’s no place like Chicago. After seeing Bon Iver as a one-man band at Madison Pop Fest in November, the expanded line-up loosened it up a bit and brought the already intensely emotional songs to a near epic level. With two other gentlemen accompanying him on stage, Justin Vernon was able to remove his focus from the looping and kick-drumming that made up his solo shows and place all his concentration on what he does best – strumming and singing.
I brought along a camera to relay sound and image to all you LMB readers, but sadly the sound portion failed me. I do recommend checking out the sessions Justin did for The Current, Mpls’s hip section of their public radio. He flies solo in these songs, so if you want to check out the expanded line-up you’ll have to wait until April when he Bon Iver comes back to Chicago or get all Penny Lane and follow him around for the next couple months.
Camera failures aside, the night picked up when I got to chat with Justin and one of his new band members, a twenty-year old ex-guitar student of Justin’s from back in Eau Claire, WI. Leave it to a good midwestern boy to keep it local. Smiles leaked from their faces onstage and you could tell everyone was feeling warm despite the bitter cold outside. And given that the record comes out in less than a month on Jagjaguwar, things can only get better for the Bon Iver boys.