Sunday, 21 September 2008

Bon Iver @ The Queen's Hall, Edinburgh, 17/9

live review for the skinny

Bon Iver @ The Queen's Hall, Edinburgh, September 17

If the wild acclamation of For Emma, Forever Ago has left you a little nonplussed, an explanation for the high praise perhaps lies in Bon Iver's live performances. Put simply, while the album is sweet - but to these ears slightly over-rated - it truly comes alive when performed on-stage, where Justin Vernon's falsetto is a thing of spellbinding beauty. The acoustics in The Queen's Hall help focus the mind on these intimate songs, which obviously come from a folk tradition but here reveal debts to the classic west coast rock of Crosby, Stills & Nash, and the early post-rock of Talk Talk. Two songs tonight in particular are extraordinary: Vernon encourages the crowd to chant along with The Wolves, resulting in a stunning yelped climax; and the final song before the encore, Re:Stacks, is performed so tenderly that no-one dares breathe too loud for spoiling it. It's not just reviewers that have been left breathless by Bon Iver.

No comments: