It Happened Last Night: Bon Iver and the Anti-Encore at Town Hall

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12/11/2008 12:30 PM |

The commenters at Brooklyn Vegan have already started a thread about the duder who let loose a mini-economy tirade near the tail end of Bon Iver’s first of three sold-out performances at Town Hall last night. The show itself was primed to be all kinds of wonderful: great crowd, a jovial pre-holiday atmosphere, incredible sound, comfortable seats. Bon Iver have only been a band since last January, although their stage performance doesn’t betray this fact — due in no small part to the intricate intensity of Justin Vernon’s story-song compositions. Holed up, alone, in a remote cabin in Wisconsin, he wrote the material for For Emma, Forever Ago like a modern-day troubadour version of Thoreau. On disc, it’s a haunting bedroom recording, but live, it’s full and strong and definitely a labor of love.

Perhaps it was ‘Blood Bank,’ in my opinion the highlight of the evening — the title track off the band’s new and fantastic Blood Bank EP — that made Economy Man feel like ranting. Maybe it was just the fact that no drinks are allowed inside the beautiful venue, requiring some quick chugging skills in the lobby and whatnot. Either way, when Vernon cautiously mentioned he was going through a phase of hating encores, That One interrupted him by saying something along the lines of "Listen, New York’s had a really tough time lately, our economy sucks, we need an encore." He really wasn’t all that crazy, or wrong. And it didn’t ruin anything, quite the opposite, in fact. Instead of a pretense of an encore, with the band walking on and off, we got two extra, beautiful songs (see the setlist and more photos at BV) and got to save our applause for a standing ovation at the end. Thanks, guy!

In other, less important observations, did anyone wind up hitting on Bon Iver’s supposedly hot and available sound guy, who Vernon was pimping out midway through the set? Love was in the air; we saw so many not-secret make-outs during the show it was like a seventh grade basement party for the populars, or something.

[Pic via Brooklyn Vegan]