Monday, February 18, 2008

Bon Iver et al.

Bon Iver/Megafaun/Heather McEntire - Local 506 - Feb 18, 2008

Heather McEntire of Bellafea opened up the night. 3 chicks and an acoustic guitar. You know where I'm headed on this one.

Megafaun: These guys toe the line between pretension and pure fun. They come prepared with all the alt-country accoutrements - banjo, slide guitar... plus some extra cow bells for those playing along at home. The most interesting portion of the night was their version of Roy Acuff's "Wreck on the Highway" as a hopped up gospel song, complete with 3 part harmony (sort of). Soon after they digressed into weird psychedelia and I stopped paying attention.

Bon Iver: (That's bohn ee-vair for the uninitiated. We're here to help.) Justin Vernon gave a convincing delivery of his highly lauded album, For Emma, Forever Ago at The Local 506 tonight. He began the night with the first track off the album, "Flume" and continued to play the album in its entirety, in order. He followed the crowd favorite "Skinny Love" - and there is no doubting it is a fantastic song - with a rousing version of "The Wolves," complete with crowd participation on the chorus. The night was capped off with "Stacks" and you could hear the buzz of the speakers over the hush of the crowd. He maneuvered his way through the quiet lows on the album, while surprising me with just how heavy he could go on the more rockin' parts ("Creature Fear," for example.) I had already heard the album prior to the show, so I think some of the novelty had worn off; however, I think he surpassed my expectations in playing these songs live. He has a unique set up - two mics, one with the reverb cranked up to 11 - which he uses alternately to produce a little more drama to his performance. I'd say it worked admirably. He was backed up by guitar and drums, which filled out the sound nicely. He made a lot of references to friends in the crowd and connections to Durham, so we'll give him an extra nod for some familiarity with the Triangle. Bottom line: buy the album - release date is Feb 19 - catch a show if you can.

Edit: Live clips from the show.

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