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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

S (Jenn Ghetto)
w/ Fern Mayo,
The Frequency
Thurs,Oct. 8

Saint Motel
w/ The Greeting Committee
High Noon Saloon
Thurs, Oct. 8

Hyperslob and the Goat Meat Explosion,
w/ Transformer Lootbag, Novagolde
Mickey's Tavern
Fri, Oct. 9 (Free!)

w/ Yacht Club,
Dense City
@ Liquid
Fri, Oct. 9

Titus Andronicus
w/ Spider Bags, Baked
The Frequency
Sat, Oct 10 (sold out)

w/ Heavy Looks
Mickey's Tavern
Sat, Oct. 10 (Free!)

w/ Heat,
Fake Limbs
The Frequency
Sun, Oct. 11

w/ Geographer
Majestic Theatre
Sun, Oct. 11

Sonny Vincent
w/ Zine Vetro
Mickey's Tavern
Mon, Oct. 12 (Free!)

w/ No Joy,
Sunflower Bean
Majestic Theatre
Tue, Oct. 13

w/ Trophy Dad
and Tarpaulin
The Sett-Union South
Wed, Oct. 14 (Free!)

Conor Oberst
w/ Larkin, Poe
& High Up
Barrymore Theatre
Fri, Oct. 16

Electric Six
w/ Yip Deceiver
High Noon Saloon
Sat, Oct. 17

Teen Daze
w/ Heavenly Beat,
Double Ewes
The Frequency
Sat, Oct. 17
w/ Torres
Orpheum Theater
Sun, Oct. 18
Youth Lagoon
w/ Moon King
Turner Hall (Milw)
Tues, Oct. 20

Neon Indian
w/ TBA
Majestic Theatre
Wed, Oct. 21

Midnight Reruns
w/ Heavy Looks,
Mickey's Tavern
Thur, Oct. 22 (Free!)

Grace Potter
w/ Rayland Baxter
Barrymore Theatre
Sat, Oct. 24

w/ Amanda X
Cactus Club (Milw)
Sat, Oct. 24
Of Montreal
w/ Diane Coffee
Majestic Theatre
Sun, Oct. 25

w/ Zebras,
Jon Mueller
High Noon Saloon
Sun, Oct. 25
w/ TBA
Majestic Theatre
Mon, Oct. 26
Shannon & the Clams
w/ Shopping, Orange Iguanas, The Pukes
The Frequency
Tue, Oct. 27

Wild Child
w/ Elliot Moss
Majestic Theatre
Wed, Oct. 28
w/ Say Hi,
Barbara Hans
The Frequency
Thu, Oct. 29

Dave Rawlings Machine
Capitol Theater
Fri, Oct. 30
Barrymore Theatre
Fri, Oct. 30

Mac DeMarco
w/ Alex Calder
& The Courtneys
Riverside Theater (Milw)
Fri, Nov. 6

Yo La Tengo (Acoustic)
feat. Dave Schramm
Barrymore Theatre
Fri, Nov. 6

w/ Cougar
Capitol Theater
Sat, Nov. 7

Jason, Isbell
w/ Elizabeth Cook
Capitol Theater
Thur, Nov. 12

Drive-By Truckers
w/ Dexateens
Majestic Theatre
Sun, Nov. 15

The Frequency
Mon, Nov. 23

w/ Car Seat Headrest
Trohpy Dad
The Frequency
Sat, Nov. 28

w/ Atlas Sound
Majestic Theatre
Tue, Dec. 15

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