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Home Local The Bon Iver effect: Is Wisconsin the new Brooklyn?

The Bon Iver effect: Is Wisconsin the new Brooklyn?


Who is the real Justin Vernon?

Have you heard the one about Bonnie Bear? The garbled interpretation that became the butt of many post-Grammy jokes about Justin Vernon and Bon Iver’s lack of name recognition from the masses.

Winning two Grammys certainly has strange repercussions. Justin Timberlake’s Saturday Night Live impersonation of a rumpled Justin Vernon falling asleep while singing one of his own songs to Beyonce and Jay-Z’s new baby is hipster satire at its best.

With all the tongue-in cheek Bon Iver humor saturating the media, one has to wonder how the band is taking it personally. On the other hand, the indie-folk troubadours are blazing a trail for Midwestern indie credentials that put the focus squarely on Wisconsin. 

Even Spin Magazine has christened Wisconsin the next indie hot spot, “Chillwave's next hot spot is in flyover country: Madison, Wisconsin,” says Spin in describing their love for Peaking Lights’ “936” album.

Wisconsin indie artists (partial list):

Bon Iver                                    Kings Go Forth
Zola Jesus                                Jaill 
Peaking Lights                          Sat. Nite Duets
S. Carey                                    Volcano Choir
Julian Lynch                              Dead Luke
All Tiny Creatures                     Slow Loris
Yellow Ostrich                          Cory Chisel
Daredevil Christoper Wright     Man Mantis

The leader of course is Justin Vernon of Bon Iver.

The defiant Justin Vernon, who attended the Grammys for his parents and refused to perform a scripted collaboration as dictated by show producers, struck a nerve with the eclectic nonconformist indie crowd. Somehow we couldn’t picture a bearded Justin Vernon gyrating with Rhianna or Katie Perry in a glee-like spectacle anyway. And after seeing Maroon 5 and Foster the People’s luke-warm tribute to the Beach Boys can you blame Justin for sitting this one out?

Justin Vernon is a genuine regular guy who represents the Wisconsin indie ethic well. Suspicious of the music industry, but willing to listen to opposing views, he doesn’t appear to be jaded by the meteoric rise of Bon Iver. Did he jump at the chance to sign with a major label after all his success? No, Justin stuck with indie label Jagjaguar. Does he buy into the idea of an indie artist as a celebrity? Not really, but the recent surge of media exposure has got to have him wondering.

In the connected age of the Internet, you really don’t need to be on either coast to spread the word about your music digitally. An organic buzz can be started just as easily from Wisconsin as New York or Los Angeles, and the rent is a lot cheaper! Besides, any place that has Spotted Cow beer on tap across the state has to be on the short list for residency. Watch for the Bon Iver effect to raise the profile of many deserving Wisconsin indie bands. Wisconsin is the new Brooklyn!  

 

Rock of the Arts

Club Crawl

Tarpaulin
w/ Fury Things
Dash Hounds
Mickey's Tavern
Fri, Feb. 12 (Free!)

Dianne Coffee
w/ Barbara Hans
Union South - The Sett
Sat, Feb. 13 (Free!)

Metric
w/ Joywave
Orpheum Theater
Sat, Feb. 13

PROF
w/ Mike Mictlan,
Mac Irv, Crashprez
Majestic Theatre
Sat, Feb. 13

Rayland Baxter
w/ Margaret Glaspy
The Frequency
Sat, Feb. 13
 
Chris Bathgate
w/ The Go Rounds,
Anna Vogelzang
The Frequency
Sun, Feb. 14
 
The Hussy
w/ Trampoline Team,
Proud Parents
High Noon Saloon
Wed, Feb. 17

El Ten Eleven
w/ Shallow
Majestic Theatre
Thu, Feb. 18

Futurebirds
w/ Blank Range
High Noon Saloon
Thu, Feb. 18

Brett Newski
w/ Tiny Riots
The Frequency
Fri, Feb. 19

LIZZO
w/ DJ Sopia Eris
feat. Cavanaugh
Majestic Theatre
Fri, Feb. 19

Cloud Cult
w/ BBGUN
Barrymore Theatre
Sat, Feb 20 
 
Jukebox the Ghost
w/ The Family Crest
Majestic Theatre
Tues, Feb. 23

Twin Peaks
w/ Uh Bones,
The Rashita Joneses
The Frequency
Wed, Feb 24

Bongzilla
w/ Black Cobra,
Lo-Pan,
Against the Grain
High Noon Saloon
Fri, Feb 26 

Family and Friends
w/ The Wells Division
The Frequency
Fri, Feb 26

Dale Watson &
His Lone Stars
High Noon Saloon
Wed, March 2

Damsel Trash
CD Release Party!
w/ Screamin' Cyn Cyn & The Pons, Skizzwhores
The Frequency
Sat, March 5

Basia Bulat
w/ The Weather Station
High Noon Saloon
Wed, March 9

Tortoise
w/ Mind Over Mirrors
Majestic Theatre
Thu, March 10

Protomartyr
w/ Fire Retarded,
Luggage
The Frequency
Sun, March 13

Mount Moriah
w/ Elephant Micah
High Noon Saloon
Sun, March 20

CHON
w/ Polyphia,
Strawberry Girls
The Frequency
Wed, March 23

SIMO
w/ The Glorious Sons
High Noon Saloon
Thu, March 24

Cullen Omori
(ex Smith Westerns)
w/ Living Hour
High Noon Saloon
Fri, March 25

Acid Mothers Temple
w/ Mounds, Moss Folk
The Frequency
Mon, March 28

The Lone Bellow
WI Union Theater
(Shannon Hall)
Wed, March 30

Yuck
w/ Big Thief
High Noon Saloon
Tue, April 5

LUCERO
w/ John Moreland
Majestic Theatre
Wed, April 6   

SunFlower Bean
w/ TBA
The Frequency
Wed, April 6

San Fermin
w/ Esme Patterson
High Noon Saloon
Wed, April 6

Alex G & Porches
w/ Your Friend
Union South - The Sett
Thu, April 7 (Free!)

Deer Tick
(Acoustic Tour)
w/ Ryley Walker
Majestic Theatre
Fri, April 8
 
Made of Oak
(Nick Sanborn
of Sylvan Esso)
High Noon Saloon
Sat, April 9

Wolf Alice
w/ Slaves (UK)
Majestic Theatre
Sun, April 10
 
Polica
w/ Mothxr
High Noon Saloon
Thu, April 14
 
Bob Mould Band
w/ Fury Things
Majestic Theatre
Wed, April 20

Dengue Fever
High Noon Saloon
Wed, April 20
 
Woods
w/ Ultimate Painting
High Noon Saloon
Mon, April 25

Frankie Cosmos
w/ Eskimeaux,
Yowler
High Noon Saloon
Tue, April 26

Charles Bradley
& his Extraordinaires
Majestic Theatre
Sat, April 30

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