MY TRAVELS: Quick Bon Iver Trip
If I were to sum up my University days, they would be comprised of assignments minutes away from the deadlines, procrastination in the library, chicken baguette breaks and plenty, plenty of music. With this being said, I would like to dedicate my post-grad year to Bon Iver.
The band was founded by lead singer Justin Vernon in 2007, probably while I was being enchanted by Sean Kingston’s lyrics to Beautiful Girls and not marvelling at Bon Iver’s tracks. For all I knew, the band was the name of a new club opening in winter.
On one lecture-infested day, I received a phone call from a dear friend of mine – I use the term dear because she always seems to sense my hour of need. To be clear, every hour at University happens to be my hour of need. My excitement was triggered as soon as I heard my friend’s tone of voice. I knew this phone call would bring good news.
“Bon Iver. November. Mid-week Uni break?”
I was sold within the first three syllables.
The concert was held at O2 Academy in Birmingham. A two-hour-and-forty-five minute flight and three-hour train ride away from The Rock. As I tallied all the hours we would spend travelling for a mere three hour show, I smiled to myself recalling all the events I refused to go to in Malta because they were simply “too far”. Obviously, Birmingham is closer than Bugibba in my books.
As we stepped foot into the hostel (where we would be spending our only night) we were smacked in the face by colours and couches. There was absolutely nothing common about that common room (For anyone who’s interested here’s the link: http://birminghamcentralbackpackers.com/).
With just enough time to snack on some vending machine goods and change our clothes, we were off to queue outside the arena. To our relief we were fourth in line. Bring on the two hours of people watching and subtle eavesdropping on other conversations in the queue. It is at this point in time when you realise you are among complete strangers. I chose my words purposely.
On our right we had a group of goths who seemed to have engaged in quite a squabble with their eye liner on the bus ride there. They sat in a circle and shared their food supplies. This was when I wished I was a goth more than ever but unfortunately I left my eye liner at the hostel and had to endure my hunger. On our left we had two teens with no food and no eye liner. Right away I knew we’d hit off, and we did.
Once our tickets were scannned we sprinted three floors up to our balcony seats and instinctively claimed the front row. Sweet relief. All the travelling, walking and waiting boiled down to the single padded chair we occupied. I was perched on the edge of that seat for the entire show; just in case my leaning back would hinder my vision of the stage.
Unfortunately these shows feel like they last a couple of minutes. You always feel like there’s another encore, or the band is just taking a water break and the house lights are going to go off any second. Sadly, they don’t. After watching Bon I recall everyone leaving O2 Academy so quietly it felt like we were a crowd of 20 people. It was as though we were all at a loss for words. The show was that good. I wish I could say the same for video recordings.
Note to self: no matter how many people are singing along, your voice is the one your camera picks up on.