photo via Flickr
On Thursday evening in Chicago, you could pay $10.50 to see a first run movie (Superhero Movie, anyone?) or, for 50 cents less, see Bon Iver perform at the Lakeshore Theater. While I cannot weigh in one way or another on the quality of Leatherheads, I can tell you that option 2 was clearly the winner.
Bon Iver is the end result of Justin Vernon spending three months alone in a Wisconsin cabin. When he emerged, he had created "For Emma, Forever Ago," an album that draws influences from the melancholy subdued pop of Elliott Smith or Nick Drake, combined with the falsetto vocals of Jeff Buckley or TV on the Radio. Thursday evening, Bon Iver played the album in sequential order (impressively armed with a different guitar for each song.) The vocal harmonies soared throughout a theater otherwise rendered completely silent. The silence magnified the spaces inbetween the vocal phrasings or strumming patterns. It created an atmosphere where you didn't want to move a muscle - you were simply locked in the moment. Powerful stuff indeed.
The entire album is streaming free online and is thus far my favorite album I've heard this year. And it's well worth the price of whatever other movie is playing this weekend