So I got to see Bon Iver at the National Stadium in Dublin the other night. The national stadium is a funny place. Its mainly used as a boxing ring and seems a throwback to the 1980s and the days before our Celtic tiger and economic boom. Now that we're heading back into a recession its seemed appropriate to be heading along here for a gig. The place itself is bare and a little bit grim but strangely likeable. The icing on the cake for me is that you can buy a cup of tea at the back of the venue.
I missed fleet Foxes, it was sold out, at one of the premier venues in Dublin, so I was delighted to see Bon Iver. Justin Vernon did ask if we were disappointed at there not being any boxing before, during or after. Naturally we all said yes.
I was surprised at Vernon's appearance. I expected someone malnourished, hairy and a little bit nerdy. He was hairy but was also well built and seemed fairly sure of himself. There was some rapport with the crowd but not a huge amount. Not like Richard Hawley who is more like a stand up comedian from Blackpool who sings a few songs on the side.
Musically it was pretty much what you expected. He played the wonderful songs from For Emma which didn't deviate much from that recording. These were interspersed by four new songs from an EP called Blood Bank which will be out in January and was actually on sale on lovely 12" vinyl at the gig. I bought it but haven't actually listened to it yet. In the concert teh songs seemed inferior to the tracks taken from his album but that coudl be just lack of familiarity. I'll review it soon. There was some harder rocking from the EP.
The unexpected highlight of the evening was a cover of 'Spirit' from teh magnificent Talk Talk. Talk Talk themselves refused to tour their last two albums as they claimed it would be impossible to recreate that music and ambience in a live atmosphere. Listening to their music and reading the credits, you'd be persuaded to agree. So Bon Iver's version, sung by the drummer, was inferior but was a delight simply to hear this sing in a live setting.
After the 'last song' Justin asked if we minded if they didn't actually head off the stage for a fake encore and so just stayed on and played their last two songs.
A very good gig but not approaching greatness. Bon Iver is still one of the albums of the year though.
Well I've been fairly busy in the last few days. buying records I mean.
Lykke Li finally arrived in the post. This cutest little Swedish pop star put on a gig here during the week. Second time I saw her. I preferred the first time. Itsounds like she'd been playing the gig for too long now. Time to get working on that second album. The first and only one is not as infectious as her live act but is enjoyable neverthless. Expect great things from her in the future. The vinyl edition seems to be only available in Sweden.
I picked up the Panda Bear album because it had a sticker on it proclaiming it as the best pitchfork album from 2007. I'm not quite sure what to think. Its rather hard to pigeonhole, well imprssible to pigeonhole. There are elements from all over the musical world which I love. No song has grabbed me by the scruff of the neck yet though. Panda Bear(if that is indeed his real name) is a member from Animal Collective. Who coincidentally get a five star review in Uncut for their latest album, which may or may not be out before 2009. Something to look forward to then
I also got the new Shearwater album which is beautifully presented and packaged by the ever wonderful Matador label. Strangely enough when I popped it on the turntable it was lot quieter than that band of desert nomads, Tinariwen who have eventually managed to get their album out on vinyl, a mere two years after the cd version. Worth the wait? I'm not sure yet. Hopefully I'll get around to reviewing it in a few days. They're on Independiente, the label set up by the ex St. Etienne member. Was it Bob Stanley? Anyway, the Shearwater album is incredible. One of the best releases this year for sure. Elements extremely evocative of latterday Talk Talk whom I know you adore.
Little honey from Lucinda Williams. Generally the more I hear of Lucinda themore I like. Her thick accent(Is that Texan?) and world weary style of singing might be difficult for some people but she appeals to me. This newest album is meant to be her most upbeat. Isn't love wonderful? The first thinkg I noticed is the sh** packaging and the flimsiest vinyl I've seen since the 80s. No I haven't tried to bend it all the way so the edges touch each other like a sandwich.
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