A few months ago, one of my coworkers was talking about a show he really wanted to go to. I wasn't familiar with the name, so I hadn't put much thought into it until I happened upon an extra ticket and posted a status asking if anyone I knew would be going. He messaged me immediately asking if I'd gotten tickets and that's when I realized Bon Iver was the show he'd been hoping to win tickets to.
I'd watched a YouTube video a friend sent me, but I was just as lost on whether or not I knew anything about the band as I was when my coworkers assured me I'd heard something by Dave Matthews Band before boarding a party bus to PNC Music Pavilion two years ago — for the record, they were wrong. I hadn't.
After watching the Bon Iver video, I knew I liked the sound, but other than that, I was walking into yet another concert completely blind, and coming off the end of Daylight Saving Time.
Normally, I wouldn't complain about having another hour at the bar on a Saturday night, but after watching the sunrise and being exhausted all day on Sunday, I started to wonder who the hell thought it would be a good idea to change the time at all? And despite the fact that I ended up staying in and sleeping through the Panthers game, I was still feeling tired on Monday and had no idea how I'd make it through a show at Fillmore Charlotte.
Not much has changed about the Music Factory other than a couple new hotspots and a name change — it's now named after AvidXchange — and yet, I found myself heading to the familiar venue with a heavy sigh as I anticipated the usual congestion.
To top it off, I'd messaged a few friends asking if they were going to go and even though most weren't, they were all adamant about how packed the venue was going to be. Sure enough, it was filled to the brim. As many times as I'd been there for a show, I'd never seen that many people crammed into that space.
"This better be worth it," I thought to myself as my hopes for any sitting space dwindled.
I was pleasantly surprised when, unlike the artists I was used to seeing, Bon Iver started on time. Not even ten seconds had passed once the first song began before I fell in love with a "brand new" band. There was something so beautiful and painful about the video I'd seen on YouTube, but never would I have guessed that I'd be able to close my eyes and just listen to a band I'd sworn I never heard before. (I won't even mention the fact that outside of the impressive light show, there wasn't much I could see with my terrible vision from the back of the venue anyways.)
Even though Bon Iver is categorized as an American indie folk band, the consensus seems to be that their sound has changed a bit and is more fluid now, creating a space for what I would argue is a fairly diverse listening audience.
For me, there was something about the sounds of the instruments that appealed to my taste for jazz. Not to mention, it's hard to win me over when it comes to live performances, but there I was enjoying every second of it. It may have appeared I wasn't interested, but that's just the short attention span in me.
The words may have escaped me, but there was nothing about the sound that they were making or the vibrations of the sound system that I didn't like.
The amateurs in the room, myself included, thought for sure the set was over when the lead singer said, "Goodnight," but we were wrong. A fan, dressed in the gaudy orange button-up I'd been pointing out and picking on as something that "wasn't in my color wheel," turned around and said, "You know he always does an encore!"
He was right. Bon Iver performed two more songs before making his "actual" exit. This time, however, I actually knew the song. That's right, "Skinny Love" was my jam and I would've never known about it if it hadn't been for my beautiful, hero-hair-wearing vampires in the series "The Vampire Diaries." I immediately thought about my favorite scene and hummed along while the band played.
It's funny how fate plays out in our day-to-day. If I'd left a few seconds earlier, I would've missed it. But just like I was in the right place at the right time to get on an elevator with Randy Houser, the timing of the only song I knew couldn't have been more perfect.