Third time this year that Justin Vernon has played in Ireland, but the first time ever I got to see him. I would’ve saved some money if I had have went to either of the other two gigs, but I doubt they were this good.
Justin stated at the start that this was the first time in three years that he was doing a mostly standing gig, and we were all the better for it. I must admit I had certain preconceptions about what a Bon Iver show would entail. I expected it to be whingey and slow, this is a man who has made his name from a heartbreak-infused record after all.
The man himself was chatty throughout, and the show was much livelier, and heavier, than expected. And I loved every second. Good news hardcore fans, he played all four songs from the upcoming Blood Bank EP (which was available from the stall out front on vinyl!), of which ‘Babys’ and ‘Blood Bank’ were highlights. He sings rather than wails on the new songs, and dare I say it, ‘Blood Bank’ may be the best he’s ever done.
The idiot behind me claimed when the show was over that “he played the album to death”, but with only one release, what did he expect. He played all the songs you’d expect from it, engaged the crowd in a singalong on ‘Wolves’, and did a neat solo performance on ‘Re: Stacks’.
There were many highlights for me, ‘Skinny Love’ and ‘Flume’ were amazing. He skipped the encore walk off, and “came back” for a treat of ‘Babys’ and a ripping ‘Creature Fear’ that built-and-built until it could build no more.
(Oh and I couldn’t find my camera, so if anyone has any photos let me know!)