Bon Iver w/ Other Lives at the Greek Theatre 9/22/2011 [Review]

I had the bar set high for the this show–so high that on my way to the venue, I began worrying that all the hype I created would be the downfall of it all. Sometimes, I’m really happy when I’m wrong.

The scene was set when Other Lives took the stage. The sun had just disappeared, leaving an orange and pink glow around the stage that would eventually fade into the dark backdrop of the sky. I was ready for the band’s meditative sounds to slowly transition my day into night, but Other Lives had other plans. The band set the night on fire with a steady flow of instrumental music that was much more intense live than it was in recordings. Its layered sound was magnified by the performance of the drummer and percussionist, who gave their drums and cymbals a thorough beating throughout the show. Front-man Jesse Tabish had his guitar slung around his back as he bounced back and forth between his keyboard and cymbal, nearly breaking his drumstick in the process. Of course, driven by textured harmonies, the songs always took on pensive overtones that still kept the ambiance of the Greek Theatre contemplative. The life that Tabish and his band pumped into their music was a pleasant surprise.

Bon Iver at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley. Photo by Joey Pangilinan.

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