Eaux Claires News: New Bon Iver Album Coming Sept. 30 (w/ Tour Dates)

Eric Christenson, photos by Lee Butterworth, Luong Huynh

Justin Vernon during Bon Iver's Friday night set at Eaux Claires 2016. Photo: Lee Butterworth
Justin Vernon during Bon Iver's Friday night set at Eaux Claires 2016. Photo: Lee Butterworth

Over rain-soaked grounds, Bon Iver closed out the first night of the 2016 Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival by playing their forthcoming brand new album 22, A Million front to back.

Releasing to the world on Sept. 30, this is the Eau Claire band’s first collection of songs in five years, and based on Friday night’s performance, the band is stronger than ever with an evolving sound and reassuring energy that makes this album’s imminent arrival that much sweeter.

Friday night’s press release from Jagjaguwar announcing the new album said that 22, A Million is "part love letter, part final resting place of two decades of searching for self-understanding like a religion. And the inner-resolution of maybe never finding that understanding."

Photo: Luong Huynh
Bon Iver on stage at Eaux Claires 2016. Photo: Luong Huynh

As the moonlight dipped behind clouds, Justin Vernon and his many-headed beast of a live band cycled through each number on the album, while the Eaux Claires mobile app chirped out a slew of truly bonkers song titles (like “21 M♢♢N WATER" and “____45____”) to those with the willpower to look away from the stage. The songs ranged from beautifully grandiose stadium pop to breezy country to 80s ballad-inspired rock jams to flat out noisey audio experimentation. A brilliantly spastic and intricate light show and billowing visuals accented every vibe of the performance, while a rotating crew of musicians hopped in and out (including a team of saxophones lovingly called the Sad Sax of Shit) to provide flourishes of sound at just the right moments.

Meanwhile, nationwide, fans were treated to YouTube links to two of the the new cuts – "22 (OVER S∞∞N) [Bob Moose Extended Cab Version]" and ":10 d E A T h b R E a s T ⚄ ⚄ (Extended Version)” – so the world could get a little piece of what was transpiring on the festivals Lake Eaux Lune stage simultaneously. Here the songs below.

The booming, poetic introduction to the performance from author Michael Perry gave a short backstory of the album’s conception, put into words as only Perry can.

Michael Perry. Photo: Luong Huynh
Michael Perry. Photo: Luong Huynh

“Last winter when there were no blooms at all and the ground beneath your feet was cemetery-slab solid, I drove my old snowplow truck down here, through the frozen slush ruts. A couple of us tromped out to The Banks back there up on that little rise overlooking the ice-bound river. And we took some hand-split pine and we built a little fire. And boy oh boy, I thought, the metaphors just write themselves. On the way home that frozen day, I dropped in to visit my neighbor. Even before I knocked, I heard noises in there. He stuck his head out and I said, “How’s it going?” and he said “Well … you know … “ – and I did. I said “Well, see you later then.” There was a little struggle on it, I could see that. He had a look in his eye like he was caught in a fire of his own kindling, like he was trying to sort the smoke and the sparks. I remember thinking that what this boy needs to do is carry that fire, carry it down to the river, bank it up beside the water, feed it to the air. Just let it build and let it burn. Why wait any longer? 22, A Million.”

At the close of the album, the band exited and returned for an encore full of fresh twists on Bon Iver throwbacks – “Beach Baby” with the help of The Staves, a bubbling synthy take on “Minnesota, WI,” an extended version of “Creature Fear” that devolved into an impenetrable wall of guitar noise, and finally a collaborative and upbeat version of “Beth/Rest” alongside Bruce Hornsby.

Near the end of a set where Vernon mostly let his new music do the talking, he did have one very short sentiment to say: “I’m very humbled and thankful,” he said. “That’s the only thing.”

22, A Million is out Sept. 30 via Jagjaguwar. You can pre-order the album at http://smarturl.it/BI_22AM. In the meantime, if you’d like to dissect the finer details of these new songs, the album credits on are on the Bon Iver website (http://boniver.org/albumcredits).

22, A Million Tracklist

01. 22(OVER S∞∞N)
02. 10 d E A T h b R E a s T ⊠ ⊠
03. 715 – CRΣΣKS
04. 33 “GOD”
05. 29 #Strafford APTS
06. 666 ʇ
07. 21 M♢♢N WATER
08. 8(circle)
09. ____45____
10. 00000 Million

Tour Dates

Bon Iver has also announced the first tour dates behind 22, A Million, including a two-day, not-for-profit music event at Berlin’s Funkhaus studios in collaboration with Aaron and Bryce Dessner of The National; a concert at The Hollywood Bowl with Patti Smith and Hiss Golden Messenger; and headlining shows along the West Coast. Additional worldwide tour dates will be announced soon.

10/01 – Berlin, DE @ Funkhaus
10/02 – Berlin, DE @ Funkhaus
10/18 – Oakland, CA @ Fox Theater #
10/19 – Oakland, CA @ Fox Theater #
10/20 – Oakland, CA @ Fox Theater #
10/22 – Orange County, CA @ Beach Goth Festival
10/23 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Hollywood Bowl %
10/26 – San Diego, CA @ Copley Symphony Hall ^

# = w/ Francis & The Lights
% = w/ Patti Smith and Hiss Golden Messenger
^ = w/ Julianna Barwick

22 (OVER S∞∞N) [Bob Moose Extended Cab Version]

Bon Iver - 10 d E A T h b R E a s T ⚄ ⚄ (Extended Version)

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