Live Act in Focus: Bon Iver

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With gorgeous sounds, hypnotising lights and a entirely respectable, quiet audience, a Bon Iver concert is certainly something I’d recommend to anyone who appreciates experiencing talented musicianship.

For those who are not familiar with Bon Iver, their sound has altered and developed over the years from their first album For Emma, Forever Ago and their most recent release i,i. Both albums showcase frontman Justin Vernon’s amazing vocals, however the experimental aspects of their music has certainly changed. This development and range in sound and music from their much-established career is just one of the many reasons why a Bon Iver concert is so enthralling; the audience get to experience some older, gorgeous classics like ‘Skinny Love’, and also some more recent singles like ’22 (OVER SOON)’ and ’10 dEAThbREasT’ which never fail to wow the audience with their unique experiemental timbres combined with beautiful vocals and lyrics.

Fronted by Justin Vernon, whose presence on stage is somehow incredibly humble yet cool simultaneously, the dynamics of the band is amazing to witness as it seems these incredible timbres and tunes are produced so flawlessly and effortlessly.

Attending a Bon Iver concert is also special due to the arguably sparse appearances they make here in the UK. A few years ago when they toured in England for the first time in years after breaking their musical hiatus, tickets sold out fast and therefore being in the audience felt like a special kind of privilege, and no one dared to break the silence within the auditorium. When I had the privilege to witness Bon Iver perform in Blackpool (after a long 6 hour drive), although the entire venue was seated (which is a rarety nowadays, and something I really appreciated as it meant everyone’s view was unobstructed and the sole focus was on the musical experience) people still managed to show their joy in standing up and swaying for a few songs.

A Bon Iver concert is not complete without a simple yet effective lightshow, which perfectly complements the beautifully emotive songs performed. For songs such as ‘Babys’ and ‘Holocene’, a single light permeates from the stage, creating a dramatic aura around the band, effectively plunging the audience into darkness, which further encourages them to focus their attention entirely on the musical performance in front of them.

More recently, Bon Iver have experimented with their use of lighting within shows, and I’m aware that on their recent tours across the USA this has been tested out on their audiences. This is just yet another reason why it is vital to attend a Bon Iver concert if you ever have the chance – it’ll be a night you won’t forget, guaranteed.

Stay in the loop for Bon Iver’s upcoming shows here

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Live Editor 2019/20. English student who loves writing about gigs.

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