(photo: Eric Timothy Carlson & Graham Tolbert)
Now that Metallica has christened the new Chase Center, show after show is pouring through the new arena. A surprising mood/character/personality to add to its list of obvious colossal headliners (Elton John, Eric Clapton, Janet Jackson, Chance The Rapper, Phil Collins, Marc Anthony) is the prismatic melancholy of Bon Iver.
And yet, maybe it’s not such a surprise at all. Justin Vernon and co. have steadily mutated their sound into something bigger than themselves, exploring the emotions beneath words and the intangible connection that brings people together through music.
In many ways, they have hit peak Bon Iver with new album i,i — largely uncharted territory that threads together elements of their discography into a cohesive, if confounding, whole. Fingerpicked acoustic guitars meet electronic drum breaks, field recordings, noise, saxophones, strings, and ferociously tuned vocal performances that can sound both bombastic and deeply personal all the same time.
“I like it when people get inspired; when they get inspired they usually have some sort of empathetic, euphoric feeling. That’s the idea with Bon Iver in general. Just a little town of people trying to be good,” says Justin Vernon in a New York Times “Diary of a Song” piece on the song “iMi.”