There was nothing skinny about the love fans had for a perfected Justin Vernon at The Joint inside the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on April 13.
With headphones on and eyes shut, the Bon Iver frontman seemed to escape from the crowd—and with the help of the band’s melodic electronic indie sounds, everyone in the audience also experienced a little escape. Even though the sizable crowd was positioned around 100 feet from Vernon (and his accompanying four saxophones and two drum kits), a haunting intimacy still lingered.
Colorful, shifting geometric shapes projected onto the walls and behind the stage helped hypnotize the listeners, whose heads, like that of a baseball cap-covered Vernon’s, slowly swayed in unison.
The set list leaned heavily on lesser-known tracks released after the band’s 2011 self-titled album. Classics, such as “Holocene,” were skipped, but the disappointment about such oversights didn’t change the already somber mood—everyone was already sad, because Bon Iver.
It wasn’t until an expected encore began that the heavy atmosphere lightened. The words “come on, skinny love” exited Vernon’s mouth, and for the first time in the evening, smiles filled the room for the brightest notes Bon Iver has to offer.
A live Vernon will make you experience all the feels—except, maybe, glee. But that’s totally okay. There’s nothing like head-to-toe goosebumps to make you realize you’re alive.