While I respect the talents of Bon Iver and the fully layered sound the Best New Artist Grammy winner is able to create, this is one phenomenon I do not understand. But my skepticism was in the minority at their recent concert. The audience was often silent, not because they were disinterested, but because they were enthralled with what can best be described as adult-contemporary-emo-folk music.
In a recent sketch on Saturday Night Live, Justin Timberlake performed an impression of lead singer/ songwriter Justin Vernon accidentally singing himself to sleep. That’s pretty damn funny if you’ve seen the single-leveled performance of the Wisconsin native. His band, featuring four horn players and two drummers, is powerful but never forceful. Peaceful songs such as “Beth/Rest,” “Holocene” and even show-closer “The Wolves (Act I and II)” had the audience fully engaged, but when “Skinny Love” from 2008 album For Emma, Forever Ago finally took things to a more energetic state, I was left wondering why there wasn’t more of that. I would have asked the fans standing nearby, but I didn’t think I was allowed to talk. ★★☆☆☆