You know that voice of Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon’s? The one that sounds like specks of moon come colliding into bells of rain under an ever-widening evening sky? It churned out a lot of fans this year, including one Zach Condon of Beirut (pictured below, at Friday night’s show), most of whom seemed pretty devoted, showing up early, sushing out the chatters and singing their hearts out when asked. Three consecutive dates in the city sold out fast, and some bought tickets for up to $200 per pair on Craigslist. Then there were those, like one friend of a friend who made a trip from Boston, who traveled from elsewhere. That, and I haven’t seen many “Best of 2008″ album lists that didn’t include Bon Iver’s For Emma, Forever Ago, even though it was released in 2007 and re-issued in 2008. Reflecting on this golden year, most of which was spent on the road, Justin said that he was “ready to come back down to earth” and that he felt somewhat bittersweet about having been done with what needed to be done for the year. Then there were all these songs they played, some new ones from the forthcoming EP, and one cover. Favorite goosebumps moment that involved audience participation is captured in video.
(Zach Condon of Beirut at the show Friday night. They’re playing BAM on February 6. Thanks for posing, I know I made you feel awkward, sorry!)
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Tallest Man on Earth
“I don’t know what we were thinking, bringing that dude on tour with us,” said Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon about Swedish folk singer Kristian Matsson; who goes by the moniker Tallest Man on Earth and finds himself dazzled by, and dazzler of, the enchantments of Americana Folk. Justin added, “Dude’s record is something else.” Kristian exists in full troubadour state of mind, strolling intrestedly up to the edge of the stage between songs, tilting his head up and down to get a good look of those who’d gathered; with always a smirk on his face that was a mark of the pleasure within; and then bursting into his fomenting voice fit for winds that roll along certain hills, for sure.
In the easily likable “King of Spain”, he sang the lyrics “I wear my boots made of…” and stopped abruptly to ask, “Can I say it?”; then burst forth, “And I wear my boots made of spanish leather!“. Later on there was some talk of Bon Iver’s greatness when a few fans found it necessary to declare, “We came to watch you“. “Fuck you?”, Kristian misheard at some point. “No, we love you,” someone clarified, and Kristian responded, “That’s a lot a better.” He closed with a cover of “These Days”, of which video’s posted below.
Music Hall of Williamsburg,
December 12, 2008