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Bon Iver, live at the Tivoli in Brisbane – 17 Jan, 2009

Last night, I had probably the most visceral experience of my life, watching Bon Iver perform live at the Tivoli in Brisbane. To call it sublime would be an understatement.

It was over two years ago (side note: how fast is time going these days? I mean, honestly…) that the dulcet tones of Justin Vernon first made their ways to my ears. I managed to catch the tail end of the Hazeltons days/post DeYarmond Edison days, but really – if I’m honest – I was probably only fully hooked when I first heard Skinny Love. It’s a cardinal sin to admit something like that, when you’re a music blogger (especially considering the strength of the Hazeltons era), but that’s the moment when I realised that this was… different. That there was something transcendent in this music. So when the news made its way to me that Bon Iver would be performing at the Tivoli, I knew I would be going.

And man, am I glad I did.

boniver2Bon Iver performing live at the Tivoli in Brisbane

The gig was a sit down affair, which was a first for me at the Tivoli; but it complemented the night perfectly. First up, I have to talk about the crowd that was there that night. I’ve now been to more than my fair share of gigs at the Tivoli; but last night had, without a doubt, the best crowd of any gig that I have been to there. You always take a slight chance, in my opinion, with gigs at the Tiv: it’s such an intimate, beautiful setting, but sometimes you can get some really belligerent concert goers there (for some reason, they always seem to crawl out of the woodwork for the Ryan Adams gigs)… but last night, the Tiv was packed to the rafters with appreciative music fans. And it was an atmosphere that Justin and co. were definitely feeding off. For probably the first time, I truly believed an artist when they said, “You guys have just been the best audience”.

Because they were.

I’m getting slightly ahead of myself though. First up was the opening act, and for the life of me I could not hear the girl’s name. (update: @lexiphanic mentions in the comments below that the opening act was McKisko). This didn’t surprise me, as it was the same girl who opened up for Sophie Koh and Howie Day at the Troubadour last year, and I had the same trouble then. Regardless, “Performer X” has certainly improved since that last performance, but I was still left… cold, with her performance. There’s an attitude of avante-garde “raw emotion” to her stuff, but it comes across as a facade; too calculated, an “art school pastiche” for me to really believe it. I can hear there’s talent there, but I think this girl still needs a year or two to find herself, and I really hope she does.

After “Performer X”, it was time for Bon Iver to come on… and with an unassuming, “Hey everybody”, Justin and co. launched straight into Flume; and what a killer opening it was. I managed to catch a few videos of last night, and made sure I got the opening number; so here, below, is Bon Iver opening the night at the Tivoli, with “Flume”.

After that opening, the crowd simply fell, and fell hard, for Bon Iver.

There was just something in the air, that give and take between performer and crowd that meant the energy was simply electric, and unlike anything I have ever felt before. Nowhere was that connection better displayed than in the third song Bon Iver played, “The Wolves (Act I & II)”. (By the way, we all know my love for that tune as I featured it back here. Check out the video).

Justin introduced the song by asking the crowd to sing along with the band… and how we all did! The sheer emotion running through the crowd as we all sang, “What might have been lost…”, and the screaming towards the end was a sheer visceral moment that I think I will always remember. If ever emotion took hold of me, it was in that tune, and I was screaming along unashamedly as the song closed. I managed to get the whole thing on video, but unfortunately because of the noise levels towards the end with everyone screaming (in that last two minutes), it slightly turns into a sheer wall of sound; so you can’t quite hear what really happened that night. But trust me when I say it was beautiful.

Anyway: below, Bon Iver performing “The Wolves (Act I & II)”, live at the Tivoli.

Truly, truly magical, and a moment I will take with me for years to come.

boniver3Justin Vernon performing re: Stacks, solo at the Tivoli in Brisbane

After that, I have to admit, the night passed in a bit of an ecstatic blur for me… while I’m normally quite good at making a note of the setlist, that night I kind of blissed out and slacked in that duty a bit. However, for those who are interested, here is the set list as I recall it; that said, I’m sure there might be some errors or omissions in this, so feel free to drop a line in the comments if I’ve got something wrong below, and I’ll be sure to update the post.

Bon Iver at the Tivoli in Brisbane, 17/1/2009 setlist

1. Flume
2. Lump Sum
3. The Wolves (Act I & II)
4. Beach Baby
5. Blood Bank
6. re: Stacks
7. For Emma
8. Lovin’s for Fools (Sarah Siskind cover)
9. Babys (and yes, they do spell it that way. Check out the Blood Bank release)
10. Skinny Love


11. Creature Fear

Highlights of the set for me? Well, apart from the obvious answer of “Everything!”, I’d have to go with the previously mentioned “Wolves”, “Blood Bank” (which I featured back here, by the way, and which had an insanely frenetic guitar line at the end), and the solo rendition of “re: Stacks”. Unfortunately I didn’t manage to get the entire performance of “re: Stacks” on camera, but I did manage to get just over 5 minutes of it, so I’ve included it below. The vulnerabilty of that man, lit up on stage is breathtaking.

And, of course, where would we be without mentioning “Skinny Love”? Sheer fragile beauty, combined with powerful, ravaging emotion (watch that floor tom being beaten towards the end of the track… that’s the very definition of cathartic music, in my opinion). In other words, the performance was perfection…

All in all, I can say this, without any fear of hyperbole… Bon Iver at the Tivoli was one of the best gigs I have ever been to. Without a doubt, without hesitation. I look back on this post, and I know that no matter how many times I rewrite this, I’ll never be able to truly convey the magic that transpired there that night. It was simply too big, too huge to post about. Those that were there will no what I mean when I say that. So really, all that’s left to say is thanks; so thanks to Justin and Co, for sharing that perfect night with us. We hope you come back soon, because until then… we’ll be waiting.

boniver4Bon Iver performing live at the Tivoli in Brisbane. Come back soon guys…

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Wednesday Music Round Up – Jason Reeves, Justin Currie, Matt Bauer and Ray Lamontagne

Wow. It has been one hectic week, and at this stage it doesn’t look like there’s any sign of easing up. Which is disappointing, as it means blogging has had to take a back seat, and I’ve received some cracking pitches recently from some great bands flying Under The Radar. Hopefully (!), I’ll be able to follow these up next week. For now though, I thought I’d slip in a quick “Wednesday Music Round Up”, featuring tunes from Jason Reeves, Justin Currie, Matt Bauer and Ray Lamontagne.

Jason Reeves – Just Friends

Jason Reeves
Jason Reeves (Image credit: Stacy Blue)

After a stellar 2007 – wherein Jason Reeves spent nine months as the number one unsigned MySpace Folk artist, in addition to being named one of the Top Indie Singer-Songwriters of 2007 by iTunes – it looks like 2008 is finally the year for this 24 year old singer/songwriter from Iowa City, as he’s recently signed a deal with major label Warner Bros.
His album, “The Magnificent Adventures of Heartache (and other frightening tales)” is being released August 12, and it’s a fun ride. The songs are generally simple affairs, but ones that are all the richer for that… that simplicity allows the sincerity in Jason Reeve’s brand of soul to shine through. The tune below is the single, “Just Friends“, and it’s one of my favourites off the album. Definitely worth a listen.

Listen: Jason Reeves – Just Friends

Justin Currie – No, Surrender

Justin Currie - No, Surrender
Justin Currie (Image credit: Pat Pope)

Sigh. Aah, Del Amitri. Easily, and without a shadow of a doubt, one of my favourite bands for close on twenty years. So it was with much trepidation that I finally received my copy of the Justin Currie – founder and the voice of Del Amitri – solo debut, “What Is Love For?“.
I should never have been worried.

Justin Currie has always been one of my favourite songwriters. The guy simply knows how to craft a masterful song, with great melodies and poignant, forthright lyrics. His efforts on “What Is Love For?” are no different. While this solo effort – put out by the always brilliant Rykodisc label – is certainly a conscious step away from the Del Amitri signature sound, I can’t help but feel that this tune, “No, Surrender” is something of a follow-up to one of my favourite Del Amitri song, “Nothing Ever Happens”. There’s a resignation and cynicism there that has always been unmistakably Currie.

Should you stand and fight?
Should you die for what you think is right,
so your useless contribution will be remembered?
If you’re asking me, I say
No, surrender.
surrender, surrender
– Justin Currie, “No, Surrender”

“No, Surrender” is a 7-minute-plus indictment of modern-world ills, and it’s simply beautiful.
I may still be holding out on DA putting out a new album, but Justin Currie’s solo efforts look like they’ll be more than enough to keep me going. Here’s hoping to far more of this from one of the music world’s most under-appreciated artists.

Listen. Love. Support.

Listen: Justin Currie – No Surrender

Matt Bauer – Don’t Let Me Out

Matt Bauer - Don’t Let Me Out
Matt Bauer (Image credit: Nicolas Auproux)

Hat tip to Captain Obvious for turning me onto Matt Bauer‘s tunes; some of the most enticing new music I’ve heard this year.
There’s a somewhat anachronistic feel to Bauer’s release, “The Island Moved in the Storm, which makes all the more sense considering that the album is loosely based, and placed, in both the historical context of the unsolved murder case of “Tent Girl – which occured near Matt Bauer’s home in Kentucky – and a semi-autobiographical look at Bauer’s childhood in the area.
Appropriately, there are a lot of dark shadows in this release… an ominous, weary beauty, that infiltrates its way into your soul. I won’t go into too much more depth here, as Captain Obvious really sums it all up in his review, so I’d suggest you give that a read…

… But, ultimately, the point I’m making is: this is good stuff.

Listen: Matt Bauer – Don’t Let Me Out

Ray Lamontagne – Let It Be Me

Ray Lamontagne - Let It Be Me
Ray Lamontagne

I’ve been impatiently awaiting Ray Lamontagne‘s upcoming release, “Gossip In The Grain” (due out September 30) for months now, and the sneak preview in the form of this track, “Let It Be Me”, has only served to aggravate that impatience.
From the moment that the exhalation starts the track, to the second that that voice starts crooning… man, it’s killer.

It’s a smoke-filled, seductive, soulful voice that really is, these days, all Ray’s.
It’s a tune that brings a wistful tear to your eye, and prompts murmurs of, “Amen, brother. Amen.
It’s perfection.

Listen: Ray Lamontagne – Let It Be Me

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Live Music Friday – Radiohead, live at BBC Radio Theatre

Welcome back to another Live Music Friday here on Burgo’s Blog. For today’s show, I’ve decided to post one of the most requested sets from my readers: Radiohead, performing live at the BBC Radio Theatre, on April 1, 2008.

Live Music Friday - Radiohead, live at BBC Radio Theatre

Long-time readers of this blog might remember that when Radiohead’s “In Rainbows” finally arrived, I was… well, slightly ambivalent about the album. There was something there that didn’t connect with me, as in their past albums. But, despite that, I had the feeling that the album was one which would grow in time.

And, for me at least… I was right.

This set, of Radiohead performing live at the BBC Radio Theatre took place on April 1, 2008, and was largely in support of that “In Rainbows” album. That said, there’s also a smattering of songs from other albums, including “Airbag“, “The Tourist” and “Lucky” (from the album “OK Computer“), and “Everything in its right place” from “Kid A“.

It’s a great live set, and certainly one for all Radiohead fans… not only the completists. The highlight for me comes in the three songs “House of Cards”, followed by “Weird Fishes” – the two strongest songs on the “In Rainbows” album, in my opinion – followed up by a wonderful rendition of “Lucky”.
Without a doubt… Radiohead are still one of the most important bands of our time.

Listen. Love. Support.

Radiohead, live at the BBC Radio Theatre, April 1, 2008

1.) Intro
2.) Bodysnatchers
3.) All I Need
4.) Nude
5.) Airbag
6.) Reckoner
7.) The Tourist
8.) House of Cards
9.) Weird Fishes
10.) Lucky
11.) Everything In Its Right Place
12.) Outro

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Mailbox Clean Up Tuesday Trio. The Avett Brothers, Peter Bradley Adams & Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly.

It’s been a while since I put a Tuesday Trio up on this blog, and seeing as I was going through some of the messages to have landed in my inbox lately that have alerted me to new music, I thought: Why not? So, for today’s tunes, we’ll be looking at tracks from The Avett Brothers, Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly & Peter Bradley Adams.

The Avett Brothers – Murder In The City

The Avett Brothers - Murder in the city
The Avett Brothers

It was with much joy that I noticed an email landing in my inbox today, reminding me that the new Avett Brothers album, “The Gleam II” – the second release in the Gleam Series – is released into the wild today. The Avett Brothers are… well, hard to classify. Sometimes a little country, sometimes a little city, and other times purveyors of heart-breaking rustic ballads, the band are versatile to say the least. The major drawcard, for me at least? These guys pen honest songs. Songs that don’t hide the truth. And that’s a precious thing, when you find it.

The first taste I’ve had of the new album, “Murder In The City“, is included below, and it’s another stunning tune from the Avett Brothers. Here’s hoping the rest of the album is this great.

Listen: The Avett Brothers – Murder In The City

Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly – Find The Time

Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly - Find The Time
Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly.

Thanks actually go to Gary (via lil’ Sophie) to alerting me to this guy. I’m not sure how Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly has flown under my radar for so long (heh. See what I did there? Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly… has “flown” under my radar? No? Well, please yourself then.) as it appears that he’s had some major mainstream acceptance. I mean, he’s even had tunes on One Tree Hill, that epitome of mainstream bubblegum tunes.

That said, he’s not half bad. Sure, Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly. – aka Sam Duckworth – might sound at times a tad too much like Secondhand Serenade to me, and I’m undecided as of yet whether this is music that might date… but this tune, “Find The Time“, is a rollicking song, with a great refrain that sticks in your head for days at a time.

And, come on… isn’t that a cool band name?

Listen: Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly – Find The Time

Peter Bradley Adams – Always

Peter Bradley Adams - Always
Peter Bradley Adams

 Thank goodness for labels like Sarathan Records, who actually understand the music blogosphere and reach out to them; it’s a sign that there’s hope for the music industry yet.
Kara from Sarathan Records dropped me a line last week to let me know that Peter Bradley Adams (of the oh so missed band, eastmountainsouth), is due to release his new album, “Leavetaking”, on August 5th; and I’m glad she did. Eastmountainsouth were a truly beautiful band, and I’ve always felt that they were criminally underrated.

The below tune, “Always“, from Peter’s forthcoming album, hints at an album that might have slightly stepped further away from the folk roots of Eastmountainsouth, and more towards a pop direction. I’m not sure how long-time fans will feel about that, but take heart in the fact that some things remain the same; Peter Bradley Adam’s remains a masterful songwriter, and his voice is as achingly beautiful as ever.

Listen: Peter Bradley Adams – Always

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Live Music Friday – The National White Sessions

Welcome back to another Live Music Friday here at Burgo’s Blog. For this week’s post, I decided to revisit a past Live Music Friday post, from April, where I featured The National live on the Radio Inter Black Sessions. In that post, I mentioned that they had followed up from that show with another show in 2007 for the same radio station… and here it is… The National White Sessions.

Live Music Friday - The National White Sessions

As mentioned when I wrote about their Black Sessions show in that previous post, the Black Sessions are “broadcast on the French radio station France Inter, and recorded in front of a live audience“. The White Sessions put out by the station are pretty much the same thing, but without the live audience included.
There are positives and negatives with this; a negative is that, without the murmur of an appreciative audience in the background, the show somewhat loses some of its intimacy. That said, however, the sound quality of this live performance far more than makes up for this.

This show took place on May 7, 2007, and was in support of The National‘s then upcoming release, “Boxer“, and the majority of songs (9 of the 11) are from that album.
It really is that when you listen to this band live, that you truly can appreciate their artistry. And Matt Berninger’s hypnotic voice comes across as if he was putting on a private show in your kitchen. Essential “must hear” stuff for any National fans. Highlights for me? Either “Slow Show”, “Racing Like A Pro”, or the simply beautiful “About Today”… but make your own minds up.

Listen. Love. Support.

The National White Sessions (live 7 May, 2007)

1.) Start A War
2.) Brainy
3.) Slow Show
4.) Squalor Victoria
5.) Apartment Story
6.) Racing Like A Pro
7.) Ada
8.) You’ve Done It Again Virginia
9.) Mistaken For Strangers
10.) Fake Empire
11.) About Today

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Bon Iver on La Blogotheque – Flume

Aaaah… La Blogotheque, you’ve done it again. If you’ve read my blog for any period of time, you might have noticed my love for the Takeaway Shows that La Blogotheque puts out.

This is no exception.

Bon Iver, now more than Justin Vernon… a full band. And Vincent Moon has filmed them… beautifully. I don’t think there’s any need for more words here.

Just enjoy.

#93.2 – BON IVER – Flume
Uploaded by lablogotheque

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Live Music Friday – Xavier Rudd, live at Bonnaroo Music Festival

Welcome back to another Live Music Friday here at Burgo’s Blog. Today, we’ll be featuring someone a little closer to my (adoptive) home… Australian musician, Xavier Rudd.

Live Music Friday - Xavier Rudd

One of my favourite shows of 2007 was an Xavier Rudd gig on the Gold Coast… in fact, I even put up a post about it, although that post was more about his opening act, Jeremy Fisher. Nevertheless, that night with Xavier was one of the most powerful shows I’ve been to in recent memory. There is an energy and passion in Xavier Rudd’s music that you would be hard pressed to find in most other artists.

Although Xavier Rudd sometimes gets mixed in with the rest of the surfer-folkie crowd (ala Jack Johnson, Donovan Frankenreiter & Tim Curran), I’d probably place his music more in that slightly harder mix of Ben Harper & Co., with a more activist view present in his music. Not only does Rudd display a strong connection with the aboriginal people of the world through his music, he’s also a leading light for environmentally-conscious musicians.

Finally, anyone who has seen Xavier Rudd perform before will know what an inventive musician he is live; often performing as a one-man-band, Rudd masters percussion, the slide guitar, and… of course… his well known ability on the didgeridoo. In fact, in my mind, he’s one of the top dij players in Australia, point blank. Here’s a video to show his versatility…

Anyway, enough background, and on to the show at hand. The set I’ve posted below is Xavier Rudd performing live at the Bonnaroo Music Festival in 2007, right around the time that he released his stunning album, White Moth.
It’s a great set, and one that finds him performing personal favourites, “Messages“, “Message Stick“, “Famine“, “Come Let Go” and “Gift Of The Trees“. It’s everything that is right with great live recordings, and makes you feel as if you’re in the tent with Xavier himself… thanks go to the original recorder.

Listen. Love. Support.

Xavier Rudd, live at Bonnaroo Music Festival on June 16, 2007

1.) Fortune Teller
2.) Food In The Belly
3.) Messages
4.) Message Stick
5.) Stargaze
6.) Famine
7.) Come Let Go
8.) Better People
9.) Up In Flames (Jam)
10.) Conceal Me
11.) Iron Man (Jam)
12.) Let Me Be
13.) The Gift of the Trees
14.) Footprint
15.) To Let (Jam)
16.) To Let

Xavier Rudd’s new album, “Dark Shades of Blue”, comes out August 19th. You can be sure I’ll be first in line.

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The New York Fund – Guns of Camden Town, Going to New York, & Oh My Sweet

The New York Fund
The New York Fund (image credit:


So, there’s this band called The New York Fund, and you need to listen to them. Seriously. I’m not kidding. If you want to hear music that excites you, then this should be it.

Previously incaranated as the band Cherryfalls – circa 2003-2005 – after a slight line-up change, the London town band have come back, harder and – in my opinion, better – as the blues/ tinged The New York Fund. Sounding somewhat like a mix of Whiskeytown, The Cardinals, The Damnwells and, at times, The Kooks, The New York Fund have played with bands such as the Hold Steady and Ash… so that gives you some kind of idea to their versatility.

Singer Joey McAdam (or “Joey New York“, as he’s listed on their Myspace page) has an amazing voice, with that perfect mix of alcohol-fuelled swagger and a stunning range. And guitarist Adrian Woodward brings the perfect blues tinge to their blend of rock… the riffs are instantly recognisable, and complemented by an amazingly tight ryhthm section. Put simply… it’s some of the best stuff I’ve heard in 2008 thus far. And that places The New York in some pretty heady company.

Shockingly, the band has not been picked up by a label yet… hopefully someone out there is listening.

I’ve included three songs below: two from their 2007 EP, “Guns”, and the third is from the (currently unreleased) 2008 “Konk Sessions”. The first song, “The Guns of Camden Town“, is the perfect exemplification of their “Jack Daniels tinged rock“… all dirty, vintage guitars that lead you through a rollicking tune, it’s a song that – at times – sometimes sounds somewhat Raconteurs-ish.
The second song from that EP, “Oh My Sweet“, continues that theme, and finds Joey McAdam blowing an awesome harp.
And finally, the third song (and perhaps my favourite of the lot), “Going to New York“, is from their as-yet-unreleased Konk Sessions recording. A more wistful song from them, it has one of my favourite choruses of the year, complete with these absolutely delightful hand-claps that seem to come out of nowhere. It’s a keeper.

Listen. Love. Support.

Listen: The New York Fund – The Guns of Camden Town
Listen: The New York Fund – Oh My Sweet
Listen: The New York Fund – Going To New York