Bon Iver: It’s All About the Vibe
Bon Iver: It’s All About the Vibe
Sold out shows, during the week, are what we are seeing lately. As 2017 is coming to a close, the top acts that The Fillmore in Charlotte are booking are not slowing down at all. This week, as if to signal the changing of the seasons in the Carolinas, Bon Iver made a stop in Charlotte just in time to wish us a good winter in person.
As I drove up, extra early I might add, I could tell this was going to be a big production. Multiple busses and tractor trailers crowded the load in area outside The Fillmore. The fans were all seated by the gate and had their spots locked down so they could make a quick entrance to run down to the front barrier. As I passed my gear through security, I got out of the way to let the next generation do their thing. The line was wrapped around the building, up around the corner past Small Bar and all the way up the street. I moved into the building and made sure to take a walk around and check in with my good friends, who always look out for me, on the security team. Apparently, I was the only photographer covering the show, so they were all waiting on me. I got the royal treatment as I always do any time I go to The Fillmore.
As I had thought, the stage was packed with risers, two drum kits, keyboards, and lamp lights that were staggered around the stage. I made my way down into the photo pit, and I was there alone. If you have never been in the pit alone, it is a different kind of feeling. Usually you are battling for position, to try to get that just right angle. Tonight I had it all to myself and had access to shoot from pretty much anywhere. That’s what all media people hope for, and I had it. It is a unique place to see a show from, because you get to see the faces of the crowd, and many times you are so close, you can feel the sweat of the artists as they interact with the crowd.
First up, Aero Flynn. I looked down at their setlist and it said, Saturday, Nov. 6 – Charlotte. I was thinking that it would have been really awesome if this was Saturday night, but it was Monday and we were going to have a good time anyway. Steel guitar, bass, and some keyboards were manned by the guys from Aero Flynn.
They took the crowd on a mellow journey through an eight song set. The crowd fell into hypnotic groove as they leaned back and took the ride. There were also some smells that were floating around the air that may have helped a lot of folks settle in for the show. Aero Flynn came in and set it up nicely with their sound.
The house was packed from the front to the back and there wasn’t a lot of room on the side either. Sellout for Bon Iver on a Monday night! Having some ties to North Carolina with his previous band, DeYarmond Edison, this wasn’t Justin Vernon’s first go around with a crowd from the great state of NC. As people saw Justin moving around backstage, or at least they thought it was him, cries of “Justin!” deafened my ears. When the guys came out on stage, the place erupted. Justin moved out center stage to a setup that Captain Kirk from the bridge of the Starship Enterprise would be proud of. Laptop and keyboard loaded and ready, he got the crowd pumped with some vocals and some electronic sounds. Then the stage filled up quickly. Guitar and drummer on the left.
A brass section of trombones filled into the middle of the stage, while the right side gave us a second drummer and a saxophone playing bass player. A stage only lit by bare bulb lamp lights set the mood for the show. Continuing on a mellow trip that took us further down the road that Aero Flynn started us on. Mixing in some harder rock instrumental sounds brought down the house every time they started their jam session.
I walked around the crowd and saw hips pulsating and hands up in the air flowing with Bon Iver. Justin was pretty tricky as he thanked the crowd for coming out. I could tell some people thought the night was over but au contraire, he had two more songs to end the evening. He ended with a couple favorites, “For Emma” and “Skinny Love.”
All night I saw the crowd smiling, screaming, dancing, grooving, and I even saw one lady shedding more than a few tears that night. Obviously, the music of Bon Iver meant something a little different to everyone there. One thing for certain is that Justin’s music brings out an emotional reaction for anyone who hears it. I asked one of the guys there to tell me what he thought about the music. He summed it up in a succinct manner: “
It’s all about the vibe man.” I can’t describe it any better. If you want to get into a vibe that takes you to that good place, try to get yourself a ticket fast to see Bon Iver as they are selling out their shows across the US and on their international leg in 2018.
Catch this tour: