Concert Review: Bon Iver

Bon Iver

Everything about Bon Iver's recent Nashville show - from the showcasing of the new song "Blood Bank" to the crowd participation on "The Wolves (Act I and II)" to the encore acoustic version of Sarah Siskind's "Lovin's For Fools" with Sarah Siskind helping out - felt fresh and special, unique and momentary.

In constrast to his often dark and broody music, Justin Vernon seemed the image of youthful exhuberance and proved jovial and amusing yet candid and sincere. I felt like my friends and I had caught the band in the midst of what must be a magical time in their lives. Fresh off opening dates for Wilco and in the middle of a headlining club tour that will soon venture overseas, these guys are having the time of their young lives, and what's really amazing is the fact that their joy has overflowed into the evening's energy and in that brief moment their joy was ours.

Who would have thought that such a remarkable and unique, but fragile and momentary album could be coupled with a similarly original performance?

From the overflow:

Backstage Sessions in Nasville (March '08) - Flume mp3
Backstage Sessions in Nasville (March '08) - Creature Fear mp3
(Thanks to the Backstage Sessions at IT'S HARD TO FIND A FRIEND)

The Siskind Cover - "Lovin's For Fools":

New Wilco Alert!

I AM FUEL, YOU ARE FRIENDS - Heather Browne's fantastic and prolific music blog, has just posted 2 live tracks of NEW Wilco tunes!

The tracks - One Wing and Sunny Feeling - exhibit the now characteristic and magnificent blend of maturely alt-pop sensibilities in Tweedy's songwriting and the sparkling highlights of Nels Cline's tone-tasticly jazzy guitar fills and Mikael Jorgensen's tastefully meandering piano. In other words, artistic arrival! They're having so much fun now, and the music is really thriving and developing to the benifit of all their fans. Hopefully, a follow-up to 2007's Sky Blue Sky isn't too far away.

Visit WilcoWorld.net
Wilco's Myspace

Stream a recent show or three from the Roadcase.

(Thanks Heather!)

St. Louis University's MoCRA celebrates 15th Anniversary!

The Museum of Contemporary Religious Art
St. Louis

To celebrate its 15th anniversary, the MoCRA has scheduled two upcoming exhibitions:

Fall 2008
Pursuit of the Spirit
Sept. 21 - Dec. 14, 2008
"Pursuit of the Spirit will set works by over 40 artists in dialogue with each other, exploring broad themes as the Sublime, Mother and Child, Sacred Spaces, and Image and Text."


Spring 2009
Good Friday
"Good Friday will present the suffering and death of Jesus as the springboard used by 24 artists to present their own personal reflections on the meaning of suffering, death, compassion, and unconditional love."

the MoCRA
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Concert Review: Conor Oberst

Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band
Mercy Lounge, Nashville, TN

I must preface this review by saying that I was not a particularly ardent Bright Eyes, or Conor Oberst fan. After this show, however, I most certainly am.

I'd caught bits and pieces here and there and really enjoyed his collaborations with M Ward and Jim James (I AM FUEL, YOU ARE FRIENDS' Monsters of Folk) and 2007's Cassadaga, but I really couldn't call myself a fan... well, not until this weekend's show in Nashville.

Admitting my woeful lack of experience with all things Conor Oberst, I found the fresh batch of songs from his new self-titled album so much more carefully crafted and accessible than anything I had heard from him before. While oft or over-stated, his status as this generation's "Bob Dylan" seems more and more plausible in light of this new material. Though a less than appropriate tag, his credentials as a poet in the order of St. Bob are quite cemented now.

Visit ConorOberst.com.
...and Oberst's myspace.
Stream the album here.
Buy the album at Merge.

Another promising discovery proved to be the songwriting and accompaniment skills of Nik Freitas - the lead guitar player for the Mystic Valley Band, Oberst's support. Apparently, Freitas is a good friend of Oberst's and also some of the talent featured on Team Love Records (also featuring Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins, the Felice Brothers, etc.). I enjoyed his live contributions and plan to get his solo work... Sun Down (mp3s available for download).

Visit NikFreitas.com
...and Freitas' myspace