Bon Iver Invites Los Angeles To “Come Through” On A Musical Journey That Stirs The Senses Justin Vernon's Collaboration With Tu Dance Is A Mesmerizing Spectacle Of Sight, Sound and Movmenet
LOS ANGELES, CA- Every year when KCRW announces the six concerts that make up their Hollywood bowl series, fans are always excited to see what exciting collaborations they will put into the line-up. Every year, the series is a mix of tried and true KCRW favorite artists, paired with lesser known acts that the powers that be at KCRW inherently know will soon become fan favorites. So when crowd pleaser Bon Iver popped up as one of the headliners, it seemed like a no brainer, until one read further and realized the performance was not going to be one full of his best hits, but one of entirely new music as part of a collaboration with Minneapolis based dance troupe Tu Dance. Though choosing to perform an entire concert of new music was a risk, it was not an uncalculated one made by the “Skinny Love” singer.
Since their debut album launched in 2006, Justin Vernon and Bon Iver has sought out unique collaborations across genres with everyone from Kanye West, to James Blake, to Lizzo. Never one to shy away from exploring a new part of their sign, their collaboration with Tu Dance seems like the next step in a logical progression. The only difference here being that they would be stepping out of the limelight and into the shadows to give the members of Tu Dance the majority of the stage. While some Bon Iver fans may be upset by the band’s choice of taking a backseat for their first concert at the bowl in over 2 years, Tu Dance quickly demonstrated that they deserved the spotlight this night, and Bon Iver showed that you don’t need to be able to see them, to appreciate their performance.
‘Come Through,’ a 75 minute dance piece, was originally commissioned by St Paul Chamber orchestra, is not your parents dance performance. A stunning mix of words and images flash across the backdrop, as the dances move effortlessly across the stage in front of them, drawing the audience in with each move. Fourteen songs in total, the composition is a roller coaster of quiet moments of simple guitars juxtaposed against bigger powerful anthems. All but one song is an original, with the only exception being a spectacularly intimate cover of Leon Russell’s ‘A song for you.’
Despite Justin Vernon and company being in shadow for most of the performance, the dancers somehow find a way to convey the emotion that would usually be felt through the band. Choreographed by Uri Sands, the group moved seamlessly through a range of disciplines, pulling from everything from Modern to African Dance.
While a few Bon Iver fans may have left disappointed to have not heard any of the hits from 2006’s ‘Emma Forever ago,’ or even a few songs from the recent ’22, a million,’ by the end of the night, most of the 17000 plus fans in attendance seemed totally enrapt in the stunning performance, proving that Bon Iver does not need to be center stage to bring down the house.