One of the more remarkable things about music is that even after you think you've heard something done to death, someone inevitably comes along and raises your hairs and sends shivers down your spine and moves your soul and makes you feel like you're hearing that thing for the very first time. For example, there are a million and one dudes with acoustic guitars strumming away in the world, but Bon Iver nominally rural Wisconsinite Justin Vernon, though he tours with a small backing band virtually reinvents the archetype, much like Elliott Smith or our own Damien Jurado. For Emma, Forever Ago, Bon Iver's stunning debut album, was recorded in a snow-covered cabin far removed from civilization, and its haunting ruminations on love and loss are so vividly and exquisitely rendered that it immerses you in that sense of total isolation, a headspace where you're forced to confront difficult memories and the stark reality of your life a feeling that can be totally crushing, immensely freeing, or both. If Bon Iver even approaches creating that same feeling in the live setting, this will be one of the most gratifying, transcendent shows youll attend all year.
Sat., Aug. 30, 8 p.m., 2008