I stopped by Schubas yesterday just in time to see Bon Iver and left just as Illinois started playing (wasn't really sure what they were going for exactly . . .) which was fine with me as Bon Iver was the only part of the lineup I was interested in seeing. Luckily for me they made sure that their set alone was worth the cost of the whole night. Justin Vernon brought along a drummer and guitarist to fill out the sound a bit (the guitarist wearing a Stevens Point shirt, doing Wisconsin proud), and it made a great impact on the way the songs came off live. Running through virtually the entirety of Bon Iver's debut album, For Emma, Forever Ago, Justin's unique falsetto rang out loud and clear over the sold out Schubas crowd, and the three-part harmonies throughout made the most powerful parts of each song that much stronger. "Skinny Love" especially made my stomach turn in its awesome beauty, and Justin put together some nice audience participation during "Wolves" by having us sing the refrain with him. With the distortion and reverb dialed up a notch, it felt like being in the north woods cabin Justin recorded the album in.
Justin also proved to have a great stage presence- funny and self-deprecating, he did a great of job of engaging the audience, even though he and his band mates were all sitting down. This was my only complaint of the show, as I was in the back and couldn't really see anything as a result; luckily, Bon Iver will be returning to Chicago in April and I will make sure to be in the front row next time.
I didn't get any pictures, but Pitchfork has a few up from their show in the Twin Cities the night before. It looked pretty much the same (though the guitarist sported an Eau Claire shirt instead of Stevens Point. Still, showing the Wisconsin love.)