High Five - week of Feb 9, 2012

Forget, for a minute, that Bon Iver main man Justin Vernon penned that song “Calgary” (a city he has never visited, and from the looks of his tour schedule, probably won’t any time soon). Fact is, dude has been grinding my gears every time I read about him lately. Here’s why:


First of all, Bon Iver’s self-titled middle-of-the-road Starbucks opus has seen the group nominated for multiple Grammys. When offered a performance slot at the awards show, wannabe badass and Bonnaroo incarnate Justin Vernon expressed dissatisfaction that the stuffy execs wanted the band to perform with someone else. “Fuckin’ rock ’n’ roll should not be decided by people that have that job,” he told Billboard. “Rock ’n’ roll should be the fucking people with guitars around their backs. And their friends. And their managers.” You heard it here first: rock ’n’ roll is for the managers.


Speaking of rock ’n’ roll, Bon Iver recently took to the stage on Saturday Night Live to try and redeem the stinkbomb that was Lana Del Rey’s performance. Unfortunately they only had their own lukewarm catalogue to choose from, and their live performance upped the cheese factor significantly. Coming across like the worst Bruce Cockburn albums, the only redeeming quality of the two songs was Colin Stetson’s awesome Liturgy T-shirt, a deserved nod for a far superior band.


If nothing else, the SNL performance was worthwhile because of the response it inspired from beloved meme harvester Carles, who took to his endlessly entertaining Hipster Runoff. As usual, the analysis flip-flopped between juvenile insanity (describing the percussionist as a “mysterious HUGE black teenager”) and spot-on subcultural satire (“most blogs are ‘stuck’ posting this garbage because cool dads have to waste time during the day at their jobs that make them $50-90k/year”). Vernon was none too pleased, Tweeting at HRO, “who are you? You fucking totally suck.” I dunno about you, but I’m on #TeamCarles.


While Carles was his usual immature self on Hipster Runoff, there’s no denying that the comparisons to the Dave Matthews Band are apt. After all, nothing screams adult alternative like an appearance at Washington’s Sasquatch! Festival. Alongside Jack White, Beck, The Shins and countless other innocuous indie acts, Bon Iver will fill the Gorge with their lite rockin’ grooves during the festival’s May 25 to 28 runtime.


Once all is said and done, what will be next for the too-cool-for-the-Grammys group? Something that screams rock ’n’ roll badassery, right? Well, more likely a batch of collaborations with Alicia Keys and Bonnie Raitt. “I have a big idea to do an American songbook of the greatest women singers,” Vernon told USA Today. Better run it by your manager first, bud!

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