After a cluster at the gate that resulted in my photographer being denied entry, I was ushered to my seat just in time to catch the crystalline opening notes of nine-piece behemoth Bon Iver. Blanketed by an explosion of fluorescent strobes, the band showcased a range of Mars Voltian peaks and naked acoustic valleys for the sold-out Spreckels Theatre.
Though the set list leaned heavily toward the self-titled second album, For Emma, Forever Ago got its shine through the richly textured "Creature Fear" and the encore sing-along of "Skinny Love."
Bon Iver's sonic oeuvre is simultaneously sad and uplifting, filling the mezzanine with its melodic vigor and slowly spilling out into the lobby. Even "Beth/Rest," a track often decried as a cheesy ’80s trope, sounded rapturous over the downtown venue's well-contained sound system.
In a short time, Justin Vernon has emerged as one of the most powerful voices of this generation. His haunting wail climbed the walls of the ornate theatre through songs such as "Flume" and "Holocene," despite its beauty being sporadically punctured by martini-laden vixens looking to fill their "WOO-HOO!" quotas for the evening.
- Concert: Bon Iver
- Date: September 17
- Venue: Spreckels Theatre
- Seats: Center Orchestra